Imágenes de página
[blocks in formation]

it likely in the future to receive, the ordinary honourable fair-play supposed to be characteristic of British standards. The dead past might well be left to bury its dead, if there were any sign of a different spirit prevailing in the future. But, with the present spirit still dominant, how can it be expected that modern men will bequeath their wealth to the universities here, as they habitually do in America? Nor is it much use Parliament voting large grants for the purpose of fostering scientific research, or Ministers taking from the taxes increased sums to promote scientific education, until the administration of them is taken out of the hands of those who have proved their unfitness for such a trust in the past.

My acknowledgments are due to the Chemical Society, the British Science Guild, and the editors and publishers of Science Progress, the Aberdeen University Review, and other publications for permission to reprint articles appearing in their pages.

ABERDEEN, September 1919.





"Science is the great instrument of social change, all the greater because its object is not change but knowledge, and its silent appropriation of this dominant function, amid the din of political and religious strife, is the most vital of all the revolutions which have marked the development of modern civilisation."—A. J. BALFOUR, Decadence, 1908.

THE curiously limited outlook of the devotees of scientific inquiries, the strange contrast between the recluseness of the individual and the cumulative consequences to society of their work, has been the note struck by many modern commentators. The spirit of the mythical don, who thanked the Almighty at the close of a life-long tussle with a mathematical problem that its solution could never be of the least possible use to anyone, is still revered as the pure distilled essence of scientific endeavour. That this cloisteral attitude is essential to the highest and most practical discovery is patent from a casual examination of the history of science. But whether it is sane to leave entirely to the unscientific wisdom of the age the proper direction and utilisation for the many of the treasure so acquired, is a question to which the answer is equally patent from a casual examination of the history of the application of science. The immense acquisition to the wealth and resources of mankind which has been the result

1 This is a revised and abbreviated version of an article which appeared in The Candid Quarterly some years ago, and subsequently in The Student Movement, December 1918 to February 1919.

« AnteriorContinuar »