Page images

for one year only to cover the two years of activity. Following the policy of a year ago, the lectures to be given during this season are to be related to problems of the war.

The first lecture has already been given by Dr. E. K. Dunham. Two lectures which were arranged to be held, one by Dr. Stewart Paton on the "Psychology of the Aviator"; the other by Dr. Alonzo Taylor on the "World's Food Situation," have been postponed on account of the departure of these men for Europe. Lectures, however, have been provisionally arranged as follows:

January 11, Colonel Eugene R. Whitemore, "Infectious Diseases in the Army."

January 25, Dr. R. M. Yerkes, "Psychological Examination of the Soldier."

February 8, Dr. Yandell Henderson, "Physiology of the Aviator."

March 1, Dr. Frederic S. Lee, "Industrial Fatigue."

March 15, Colonel F. P. Underhill, "War Gases.''


THE American Society of Naturalists, in affiliation with the Botanical Society of America and the American Society of Zoologists, will hold its thirty-sixth annual meeting at Baltimore, under the auspices of Johns Hopkins University, on Saturday, December 28, 1918.

The Botanical Society of America will place the genetical papers of its program on Friday morning, December 27, and the American Society of Zoologists will group its genetical papers in a program for Friday afternoon. By this arrangement there will be sessions of interest to the members of the American Society of Naturalists on the day preceding the meetings of the society.

The American Society of Naturalists will offer, beginning Saturday morning, December 28, a program to which members of the society are invited to contribute papers.

The customary symposium of the Naturalists will this year be omitted. Well developed plans of the program committee were disarranged by conditions of the times at a date too late for readjustments.

[ocr errors]

The Naturalists' dinner, in which members of the affiliated societies are invited to participate, will be held on the evening of Saturday. At the close of the dinner Vernon L. Kellogg will talk on 66 The German philosophy of war." Titles of papers offered by members of the society, with estimated length of delivery and statement of lantern or chart requirements, must be in the hands of the secretary by December 1. It is desired that papers be short and it should be remembered that the interests of the Naturalists are primarily on problems of organic evolution. The papers on the program will in general be arranged in order of the receipt of title except that papers on similar subjects may be grouped.

Attention is called to the change in the constitution by which a nomination for membership must now remain in the hands of the executive committee for at least one year before action can be taken upon it. Therefore, nominations to receive attention in 1919 must reach the secretary by December 31, 1918. Blank forms for nominations may be obtained from the Secretary.

Headquarters of the Naturalists will be at the Hotel Rennert, Liberty and Saratoga Streets. Members are advised to make early reservations. A list of boarding houses will be found at Registration Headquarters of the American Association for the Advancement of Science BRADLEY M. DAVIS, Secretary



THE coming meetings of Section F of the American Association for the Advancement of Science will be held at Baltimore in connection with those of the American Society of Zoologists on December 26, 27 and 28.

The address of Professor Herbert Osborn, of Ohio State University, the retiring vicepresident, will probably be given Thursday afternoon, on the subject of zoological trends and values in relation to education.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

now in Guatemala, where he is conducting special researches in his field.

MR. FRANK C. BAKER, curator of the Museum of Natural History, and Professor Frank Smith, of the department of zoology, University of Illinois, have been engaged during the past summer in making a mussel survey of the upper waters of the Big Vermilion River, with special reference to the effect of the sewage from Champaign and Urbana on the mussel fauna of the Salt Fork of the Vermilion River. Results have been obtained bearing on both the distribution of the river mussels in this stream and the effect of the sewage on this distribution.

MR. H. A. NOYES, research associate in horticultural chemistry and bacteriology at the Purdue Agricultural Experiment Station, has resigned to accept an industrial fellowship with the Mellon Institute, University of Pittsburgh.

DR. RHODA ERDMANN has returned to New Haven, her present address being 67 Trumbull Street.

PROFESSOR SELSKAR M. GUNN, one of the associate directors of the American Commission for the Prevention of Tuberculosis in France (the Rockefeller Foundation), gave a lecture, illustrated by lantern slides, at the annual meeting of the National Association for the Prevention of Consumption and other Forms of Tuberculosis, at London on October 29.

DR. JAMES JACKSON PUTNAM, emeritus professor of diseases of the nervous system in the Harvard Medical School, died at his home in Boston on the fourth instant, in the seventythird year of his age.

DR. P. H. MELL, of Atlanta, Ga., died on October 12 at the home of his brother-in-law, Mr. V. M. Fleming, of arteriosclerosis. He was born in Athens, Ga., in 1850, the son of Dr. P. H. Mell, chancellor of the University of Georgia. He was for many years professor of natural science in the Alabama College and afterwards president of Clemson College, S. C. Since he retired from active college work he

has been treasurer of the Home Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.


DR. CHARLES LOCKE SCUDDER has been appointed acting dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Medicine.

PROFESSOR FREDERICK SLOCUM, who has been on leave of absence for a year in the service of the United States Shipping Board, training men for service upon the Merchant Marine, has resigned his position as director of the Van Vleck Observatory and professor of astronomy at Wesleyan University in order to become professor of navigation and director of the School of Navigation in Brown University. Professor Burton H. Camp, of the mathematics department, has been appointed acting director of the Van Vleck Observatory.

THE department of physiology of the University of Rochester has secured the services of Dr. M. H. Givens as assistant professor of biochemistry, and of Dr. Harry B. McClugage as instructor. The department is cooperating with the Division of Food and Nutrition of the Medical Department, U. S. Army, and with the Department of Agriculture, in the investigation of the antiscorbutic properties of dehydrated vegetables and fruits.

MURRAY P. HOROWITZ, instructor in the department of biology and public health of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has also been appointed instructor in advanced bacteriology in the botany department of Wellesley College.

PROFESSOR C. A. BARNHART, formerly of Carthage College, has been appointed professor of mathematics in the University of New Mexico.

BURNS OSCAR SEVERSON, formerly at the Pennsylvania State College, has accepted the position of associate professor in animal breeding at the Kansas State Agricultural College. This position was left vacant through the resignation of Captain E. N. Wentworth, who is now in France.


THERE has been running in the issues of the New Phytologist, beginning in December, 1917, a discussion on "The Reconstruction of Elementary Botanical Teaching," which all American botanists alive to the future of their subject should read. British botanists are talking over ways and means of bettering their teaching with a degree of criticism and candor hopeful for significant reforms.

It is a discussion that should result in an attempt to modify elementary teaching in such a manner that certain material, some of it quite new to prevailing practise but believed to be of fundamental importance, shall find a place or adequate treatment in elementary courses. Since introductory courses can not be long courses certain subjects, some of them time honored, are brought into court to justify their value or to give way wholly or in part to the demands of the new.

The universities of the United States have this year been asked by the government to present in prescribed terms of twelve weeks a group of subjects for a very large body of men -the Student Army Training Corps. One of these is biology and in most cases the course is likely to be organized as of two subjects, botany and zoology, which, for practical reasons, will probably be treated in large measure apart from one another. Botany is, therefore, to be taught by a large number of instructors in courses that will approximate the equivalent of six or twelve weeks from nine to eighteen hours a week. The mental adjustments of the instructors to the pedagogical problems presented will be great, their reactions will be various. Compelled by the time limits to give a short course they must lay aside many a pet affection for this or that topic and practise a rigid selection of material to a degree never before demanded of them. There is certain to result from this large experiment a very considerable readjustment of values in the minds of those who organize the work. Botany after the war will not be taught in many institutions as it was before.

In the first place instructors will feel strongly the pressure to present practical as

pects of the subject since their students are definitely fitting themselves for special fields of interest. There will not be time to develop in detail any of the great fields of botany, morphology, physiology or ecology. All that can be hoped is to give some understanding of plants as living things, with structure developed to accomplish certain results, with life habits adapted for certain ends, organisms that fit into a scheme of evolution subject to certain simple principles. Always in the mind of the teacher will be the desire to show how plant life works harm or renders service to man.

Since practical considerations are so largely to establish the ends toward which such a course will lead and to guide the lines along which the course is to be framed, and because the course must be short and the students will not in general have had much training in science, the problems of the selection of material and methods of treatment become tests of judgment more severe perhaps than any which ever before have been presented to teachers of biology.

Morphology obviously can not ask for much more than the opportunity to serve the requirements of physiology since a knowledge of structure is basic to an understanding of function and life processes. The study of comparative morphology with the end in view of developing phylogenetic relationships is clearly impossible in so short and condensed a course.

Physiology must content itself with simple considerations because the students will have had little training in physics and chemistry. General principles of plant physiology alone can be presented. Since the thought of the whole world is at present so largely centered on food problems the subjects of food elaboration and food storage should take a prominent place in the course.

Ecology has its part to perform but will be severely limited by the fact that extended acquaintance with groups of plants can not be given. It must rely chiefly on what general information the students may possess of forest, prairie, shrub and swamp vegetation, together with some elementary facts of physiog raphy and geology.

Economic botany will make its demands wherever in the course appropriate connections can be made. Its importance is evident but it can hardly hope for much opportunity of consecutive treatment.

Of direct interest will be some of the lower plants in their relation to the subjects of sanitation, hygiene, fermentation, decay and to disease.

Finally such a course will miss an end, if the student fails to comprehend some of the simpler principles of organic evolution and the fundamental biological deductions which have so profoundly affected philosophy.

This is the general nature of the course to be tried out in our numerous institutions of higher education, and it seems not unreasonable to hope that the experiment may bring about a certain amount of agreement in the profession as to what may constitute the best introductory course in botany. Some possible results of the experiment and the discussions that formally or informally will come out may be briefly outlined.

Is it not probable that comparative morphology, based on type studies and having for its end the outlining of evolutionary relationships between the great groups of plants, must give way in introductory treatments and work out its ends through courses that will follow? Physiology and ecology in simple form may take a more prominent place, especially as they bear on such practical subjects as agriculture, forestry, etc. Fundamental principles of genetics for the same reasons will call for attention besides having their obvious connection with broad biological principles. Evolution may be treated not so much as a record of past accomplishments in phylogenetic history but with respect to the manner through which it is ever working. Economic botany seems certain to make important demand on the content of an introductory course.

Comparative morphology needs no advocate of its value and interest. Its followers may feel confident in the security of its position in botany. Those who teach it know that satisfactory results are not obtained when the subject is crowded for time. There are no short cuts to

an understanding of morphological relationships. The basis of study must be detailed and thorough laboratory work. It is a fair question whether comparative morphology will not find greater satisfaction and obtain better results unfettered from the time limitations of the crowded introductory course with its necessarily mixed topics.

Morphology, physiology, ecology, genetics and the long list of special botanical subjectsnone of them can hope to build upon an introductory course with any considerable degree of security. Each must construct its program according to its own special requirements frequently dependent upon other subjects or sciences. Physiology rests upon physics and chemistry; genetics makes use of mathematics; all special lines of botany require to some degree a knowledge of morphology.

Under these conditions will not the introductory course come more and more strongly to stand out as one that attempts nothing more than the grounding of fundamental principles and a selection of information with rather definite reference to its general and practical interests, or its broad philosophical bearing? BRADLEY MOORE DAVIS WASHINGTON, November, 1918



THE eradiction of stinking smut from wheat grown on the Pacific coast appears to be contingent upon the prevention of reinfection of treated seed by spores of smut in the soil or upon its surface. Even though the wheat farmer may have a smut free field, his soil is subject to infection by smut showers from his neighbors who thresh and blow into the air myriads of smut spores which are carried for miles by the winds.

Formaldehyde treatment for stinking smut in seed wheat, which has been found so effective and cheap in the states east of the Rocky Mountains where soil infection apparently does not occur, is ineffective against smut infected soils everywhere. This is due to the immediate evaporation of formaldehyde gas when the solution dries from the seed.

« PreviousContinue »