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SCIENCE

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RESEARCH AS A UNIVERSITY

FUNCTION1 SCIENTIFIC research implies independent and original thinking. It takes for granted that the person has made himself master of recognized facts in the domain where he proposes to extend the boundaries of knowledge, or will proceed to acquire the information. It also takes for granted that every conception is to be tested by material manipulation.

The modern university is derived by integration and adaptation from the learned teaching institutions of early times. As a consequence many medieval features still control the modern institution, often restricting its usefulness. The medieval universities were founded for monks and clerics, who instructed boys and young men in the accepted learning of the times. What they did in the way of adding to the store of knowledge or arranging it for better presentation was done in the quiet of the cloister without thought of reward. In the modern university the investigator may work because he finds pleasure in doing so, and without expectation of encouragement or pecuniary assistance, if he so chooses, but it is the medieval way and not consonant either with the requirements or

1 The local chapter, of the Society of the Sigma Xi in Purdue University, desirous of encourag. ing original investigation in science, pure and applied,” in accordance with the requirements of its constitution, discussed methods of procedure at a meeting in May, 1918. It concluded that the first thing to do was to make "a survey of the research work in Purdue.' Accordingly a committee was appointed, which sent a questionnaire to every member of the instructional force of the university without regard to membership in the society. The report of the committee was presented at a meeting of the chapter January 21, 1919, and the following remarks were made by the president of the chapter as a part of the discussion which followed.

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ideals of the present. To extend the bound- must be content to be praised while begging aries of knowledge as well as of political for a crust. As to the distinction between pure domains can no longer be done adequately by and applied science and their relative imcasual individual effort, as one plays golf, or portance in the welfare of a people I wish to goes duck hunting, or responds to the love of present two illustrations. adventure. There are, however, administra- I well remember the teaching of my college tive officers, in fact I am not sure but that professor in undergraduate days, showing how the impression is quite general among other organic compounds had such complex molepersons, who believe that the pleasure of cules, that it would be impossible ever to make achievement, especially if combined with the them without the aid of the living organism. approbation of associates, should be considered But eventually indigo was formed synthetample reward for research, even the most pro- ically, a most wonderful achievement of pure longed, laborious and costly. The life of the science, the culmination of more than half a ascetic, comparative poverty, and overwork are century of effort, and the independent work preached as the lot to be accepted by the man of hundreds of research chemists. Starting who delves for hidden lore. It is a musty with this result the Badische Company spent notion which we as “companions in zealous seventeen years and five million dollars in research” need not countenance.

industrial research before a pound of indigo But the modern world only pays for things could be put on the market. that are worth while, not for lore because The indigo of commerce to-day is a possiit is curious or interesting, even when strictly bility realized through the unpaid labor of scientific. We hear much at present regard- many men devoted to pure science extending ing the value of science. It has been called over a long period, followed by the paid labor upon to aid every department of action in the of fewer workers in industrial science during recent war. The very immensity, destructive- a much shorter period. It is not necessary to ness and decision of the conflict rested upon multiply examples to demonstrate what every marshaling the achievements of science. It one knows, that the products of pure science was Germany that led the way, and the rest of are the material with which applied science the world has opened its eyes to the de- works, and that both are needed for advancing sirability of cultivating the acquaintance of the wealth and convenience of the world. It this much neglected handmaid of national would seem to be the part of wisdom to give

Do not forget, however, that Ger- equal and abundant encouragement to the many's progress in fostering and utilizing workers in both classes of science. science has not been projected over very many Again I remember the published accounts years, indeed it has been entirely within the of the repeated efforts of Professor Langley, lifetime of the speaker, dating from Liebig's of the Smithsonian Institution, to produce a applications of chemistry to

chemistry to agriculture. heavier-than-air flying machine. It was diffiLeadership is not to be left in German hands cult to secure funds and even more difficult unchallenged, if any one may judge by such to awaken intelligent interest. Finally a maindications as the establishment in the United chine was constructed that flew several hunStates of a National Research Counsel, in dred feet, and then ignominiously fell into the England of the Committee of the Privy Coun- mud of the Potomac. The daily press found cil for Scientific and Industrial Research, and no end of amusement in this episode, and Proof similar organizations in France, Italy and fessor Langley was not able to secure further Japan.

backing. He was greatly dispirited and morBut it would seem that the movement to tified, and not long afterward died. Once exploit science mor fully is directed chiefly more, when the Wright brothers of Ohio had to what may be called industrial or applied so far developed their machine that its capascience, and what is designated pure science city for successful flight could no longer be

success.

was over.

questioned, the government was unwilling to those who have given no objective sign of refinance the perfecting of it, and the work had

search ability.” to be completed on the other side of the As to the attitude of superiors it appears, Atlantic. At the entry of this country into except for a few cases, to be favorable, and in the World War flying machines were greatly some instances most cordial. Part of the feelneeded, and six hundred millions of dollars ing that the man above does not support the were largely wasted in experiment before en- effort to do original work can probably be tering upon a course that led to success; a ascribed to individual temperament. I find success, however, that placed the first efficient one answering that the attitude of his superior machines in the field just after the fighting is 'indifferent, yet the head of this depart

ment returns the following statement: It would seem that the wisdom of prepared

I feel that not only this university but all inness in scientific lines as in others has had a

stitutions of higher learning should encourage tomost vivid demonstration in many instances search work on the part of its teachers. Nothing during the course of the Great War. How should be left undone that could aid in bringing well it has been learned is yet to be shown in about a healthful activity along this line. the increased amount of encouragement and

In a department that is not well suited to support given to both pure and applied science

research one returns the statement that he in the days to come. We will see if some of

does none because objection is made by the the hundreds of millions of dollars, or possibly department, while another says he is engaged billions fortunately conserved by the curtail

in research directed and paid for by the dement of the war will be turned into productive

partment. science, or be used for another display of

Nevertheless, there seems to be a just and ineptitude.

nearly general complaint, except from a few Most of the members of this society have

who are in the engineering or agricultural closer relations with the university, however, experiment stations, that they are so heavily than with the government. The purpose of loaded with routine work that little time or the questionnaire recently sent to the mem- energy is left for research. This brings up bers of the instructional force of Purdue Uni- the question if it be not a legitimate part of versity was to ascertain the attitude of the a university man's duty to devote some of his various individuals toward research, what time and strength to extending the boundaries amount of such work was under way, and of knowledge, and should not this be recogwhat encouragement was being received by nized and provided for by the university which them from any source.

he serves.

What are the functions of a uniThe replies show clearly that research is versity? The higher institutions of learning probably favored by all, many are attempt- are now as they have always been, the source ing it, and a few succeed. Some persons are

and the disseminators of learning. They have not naturally endowed with the qualities that been charged with the two-fold duty of inare required by the able investigator, as some

creasing the stock of knowledge and of teachdo not make good teachers, good administra- ing. tors, good inventors, etc. A few apparently do

One of the questionnaires brought out this not know what sort of effort is required for statement: “My ideal of a position is one research. One answers that he does no re- where most of the time is given to research search because he has not been assigned to it, aided by several interested students, and part others say they have no chance to work out of the time taken up with preparing and their problems. It is undoubtedly true, as I delivering lectures in courses where one has find stated in one of the answers, that “ the benefit of contact with interested stuwho are waiting for chances are usually dents." By adjusting the ratio between teach

men

ing and investigation to the subject and to the a better organization among scientific workers, aptitude of the instructor this would indeed more cooperation, and a clearer sense of rebe a generally ideal arrangement, and one by sponsibility, closing with the words, “the no means beyond the reach of most univer- prizes of industrial and commercial leadersities, with due allowance for the “interested ship will fall to the nation which organizes students.” Every university owes it to itself its scientific forces most effectively." We need and to its constituency to maintain a high in this institution a more hearty recognition standard for efficiency, and to attain this a of the importance of research in its reaction due provision for the encouragement of orig- upon the individual, of which I have not inal thinking and original endeavor is an im- taken time to speak, in filling a place in the portant factor. The university also owes it life of the university, and in serving the needs to the nation, for a nation that can secure and of the nation. If the subject can be estimated maintain supremacy in the intellectual field at its true value, rather than as an incidental by its contributions to knowledge, its hand- and negligible matter, then time for some books and treatises, can profoundly influence work in research for many, if not for all, the course of thought throughout the world, teachers who may desire it will be forthcoming, and commands one of the strong elements of even under the most adverse circumstances. national greatness. Mr. W. R. Whitney, of One person in answering the question whether the General Electric Company, said about two investigations are conducted during or outyears ago :

side of school hours says “both, when I can

find time which I can not employ better. The part of research I am most interested in promoting is what we may call the unpaid kind, not

'Le temps le mieux employé est celui qu'on because it is cheapest, but because it is most valu

perd.'” With a generally accepted high ideal able. It is most neglected, most poorly under

of the value of research that could well be stood, most in need of appreciative support in the test for every piece of scientific investigaAmerica. While I am greatly interested in what tion. It would duly dignify and evaluate the might be done for science by technical research work. laboratories in the industries, I am sure that the Whether time is to be given to pure or to university must be the important factor in guid

applied research can best be left to individual ing the pioneer work if we are to be a sufficiently

choice. One reply reads: "Interested in comadvancing nation.

mercial problems. Do not have much of the If there be any grain of truth in what was scientific spirit of investigation for the pure returned upon one of the questionnaires that joy of knowing and of adding to the store of the university to which we belong, “ as an in- knowledge of the world.” But “the pure joy stitution [doubtless intending to except the of knowing," the pleasure of accomplishment two experiment stations], affords little en- irrespective of monetary or professional gain, couragement and practically no opportunity should be the basic incentive for every piece for research," then this society should exert of research, pure or applied. “We are living itself to help in bettering conditions. I am in the Garden of the Gods, but we are still sure the society stands ready to cooperate with eating grass,” as one writer high in industrial the authorities of the university in carrying circles visualizes the situation. out whatever program may be found advisable. I shall venture to close my remarks with the The committee in its report has made excellent words of Professor Ogden, of Cornell Unirecommendations looking in this direction. versity, speaking recently at the installation

In a statement made last May by the Honor- of new members into this society on the subable Elihu Root before the Advisory Com- ject of the purpose of research. I shall, howmittee on Industrial Research of the National ever, take the liberty to reverse the accent Research Council he emphasizes the need of placed upon the two forms, pure and applied, encouragement to research and especially urges as better conveying the general trend of opin

ion. “May I then express the hope," says by nitrous oxide. At the age of twenty-six Professor Ogden, " that among you," please (1883), he obtained by concours, a professorconsider that members of the Purdue Chapter ship in the Paris Medical Faculty. In the are now intended, " there may be some who meantime, he had published (1883) a little will find the subjects for their future experi-, book on the German universities, which was mental work, not only in modern practical ap- destined to become well known among French plications, in attempted solutions of the many educators. Blanchard's scientific career was insistent problems of labor, industry and of deeply influenced by his German training, education, but in abstract research, without from which he probably acquired his taste for thought of reward, carried on in the sole in- erudition and thoroughness in research. Up terest of science, that the existence of the to the present war, he was a prominent link university may be more fully justified and the between French and German science. purpose of the Society of Sigma Xi the better In 1883, in collaboration with Paul Bert, realized.”

J. C. ARTHUR he published a text-book on zoology. In the PURDUE UNIVERSITY,

same year he began his monumental treatise LAFAYETTE, IND.

on medical zoology (1885-90), which immediately established itself as the authoritative

work on this subject. While the thematic RAPHAEL BLANCHARD (1858–1919)

material is mainly parasitology, this work is On February 8, 1919, Professor Raphael unquestionably the most comprehensive ever Blanchard, of the Paris Medical Faculty, written on the different animals injurious to the most eminent medical zoologist and med- man. Its geographical and historical details ical historian of modern France, died suddenly give it a unique place among medical books; of heart failure, at the comparatively early the bibliographies attest the wide learning age of sixty-one.

and erudition of the author. With the public Professor Blanchard was born in the little

cation of this work, Blanchard's reputation Tourainian village of Ste. Christophe, on was established. In 1889, with Milne Edwards, February 28, 1857. He was a great-grand- he organized the first international congress nephew of the famous ballonist Jean Pierre

of zoology. In 1894, he was admitted to the Blanchard, inventor of the parachute, and son portals of the Academy of Medicine, an unof René Blanchard, a dramatic poet, who usual honor for a man of thirty-seven. In dying young, left behind him at least one 1897, he succeeded. Professor Baillon in the chef-d'ouvre of the French stage, the little chair of medical zoology in the Paris Faculty, play of " Pierre uiffort.” Literary and poetic and, in 1907, at his request, this chair became talent was a proper inheritance for the poet's specialized as the chair of parasitology. Blanson, who became one of the most distin

chard made innumerable contributions to guished of medical scholars in recent times. parasitology, principally at the Société ZoolA taste for natural science

ogique de France, of which he was one of the Blanchard to Paris in 1875, where he became founders (1876), and for twenty years secreattached, a year later, to the histological lab- tary; and later in the Archives de Parasitooratory of Ch. Robin and Georges Pouchet logie, the most important literary organ of at the Ecole des Hautes Études. The next this science, which he founded in 1898 and of two years were spent in Germany, where he which he remained editor until his death. studied embryology at Vienna and Leipzig This periodical is everywhere informed by the and comparative anatomy at Bonn. Upon his erudite genius of its editor. To it Blanchard return, he served for a long period as pré- contributed most of his original researches, parateur for the physiologist Paul Bert, at the his many biographies of great parasitologists, Sorbonne, and took his medical degree in 1 Blanchard was present at the meeting of the 1880, with a graduating thesis on anesthesia Congress in Boston, Mass., August 21, 1907.

drew young

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