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Quite as often, the pioneers set off in a direction that is uninteresting to the rest of us. They go and come, and we hear with passing attention if at all what they have been doing.

Sometimes they do a good deal of talking about the inadequacy of what is accepted currently; they are regarded as heretics or at best as destructive critics. We complacently await the calamity that we believe them to court, and are incredulous if not really disappointed when they do not disappear for good but return and ask for an impartial examination of what they claim to have brought back.

Each of these types has been represented over and again in our science, which has profited by the good of each; and in the long run it can not suffer through the bad, because time inexorably eliminates this. But there have been quite enough instances of mistakes and delays and discouragements on the one hand, and of spurts of stimulated effort on the other, following the activities of men blessed with the gift of originality and at the same time favored or hampered by its human concomitant of radicalism or conservatism, of sanguine credulity or of phlegmatic incredulity.

Starting from isolated springs of impulse, progress has settled into a continuous flow of constantly increasing volume and rather fixed direction, over and over again, until a new touch of genius or a new revolt against the established order has opened new channels that have broadened and deepened with the years without causing the main course to run dry.

Sometimes change has come through the talent of coordination, as when Linnæus brought chaos into order in the arrangement of flowering plants, or Saccardo in laboriously assembling the fungi. Sometimes it has come from an attempt to dam the main channel as a means of diverting a part of the flow in a new direction, as when Schleiden fought the systematists. Sometimes broad epitomization has caused the change, as when Sachs revivified the science by giving it coherence as a whole. Sometimes an epoch-making improvement in

technique is to be seen, as when Strasburger showed how the most transient inner processes of the dividing cell may be preserved for comparative study extending over months or years. Sometimes a device accurately recording for later study every phase of a passing physiological process has shown what was unseen before. Sometimes, and perhaps more often, the result has been achieved through the purposeful untiring straightforward work of a man possessed at once of the plodding industry of the laborer, the genius of the designer, and the perspicacity of the philosopher: such men were von Mohl, Hofmeister and De Bary.

Whatever its type, work that has left its mark indelibly on the science has been done by men endowed with an infectious enthusiasm. These men may have lived to see their own discoveries set aside as incomplete or even faulty, like Schleiden; or they may have discarded their own forceful convictions, like Sachs; or they may have known that in doing a serviceable work effectively, they were as effectively placing a barrier before the greater work that they foresaw ahead, as did Linnæus when he substituted an artificial key for the real taxonomy that he could not develop. But, however far it may have been from perfection, what these men did appealed to the understanding; what they said obtained a hearing; and, above all, their consuming interest was communicated to others and yet others. They proved leaders as well as workers.

The personnel of botany forms a roster of men sometimes working alone, unstimulated and without following, sometimes founding schools, sometimes following in the footprints of masters. The suggestive thought is that these masters for a considerable part have been self made: that their followers who have become masters have broken for themselves new paths; and that one and all they have been workers fitting their work on to that of others, systematizing all, and enlisting eager hands to do the work that they saw ahead waiting to be done. They may not always have had what we call a proper veneration for

the antique, or a good sense of perspective, but they have left their mark on the edifice. Two somewhat paradoxical if not antithetic achievements in botany stand out conspicuously in the last quarter-century or so: increasing assimilation of the science itself with cognate sciences into the broader science of life-biology; and an increasing tendency for its own members, differentiating into organs, to segregate into offsets and strike root for themselves.

To-day we rarely hear any one talk of the food of plants being inorganic, and that of animals, organic; we hear, rather, of green plants as the food makers of the world. Even the word assimilation has fallen into disuse or become hyphenated as applied to this process. Digestion, metabolism, nutrition, have become subjects of parallel investigation in the two branches into which the tree of life has evolved.

The incipient stage of cell division, with qualitative bipartition in its somatic stages and qualitative segregation in the formation of gametes in all but the very lowermost of protista, has become so largely known as to make it hard to think of any bit of existing protoplasm as other than a fragment of one primordial protoplast, or to think of a protoplast of today as not genetically related to every other protoplast past or present.

The chemico-physical activities of plant and animal no longer claim attention as separate problems; absorption, selection and rejection of material, ionization, diffusion, osmosisall have become biological rather than zoological or botanical questions, as they pertain to living things; but botanists are doing their full share toward answering them.

That botanical investigation should have demonstrated Mendel's law two generations ago or exhumed it two decades ago, places this discovery among the achievements of botany; but on it has been founded the biological superstructure of genetics-as valued an adjunct of the stockbreeder as of the breeder of plants. That a botanist differentiated between fluctuations and mutations and so simplified the understanding of natural selection has not prevented that differentiation

penetrating into every branch of evolutionary investigation.

That toxins became known when the activities of bacteria were studied, has not prevented the student of animal physiology from carrying the same study of excreta into the relations of animal parasites and their hosts, or from developing from it the theory of autointoxication. Enzymes, hormones and vitamines-whatever either may be, now lie in the common field of biology, but some of the best work on them is done by botanists.

Out of the harmonies and disharmonies of plants with the manifold kinds of environment that the world offers, has developed a line of ecological observation, experimentation, and speculation that not only has brought the microscopic algae of the worldplankton into recognition as the first fruits and the foundation of all aquatic life, past and present, but points as unmistakably to the individual birth, adolescence, mature life and senescence of a flora as the experience of agronomy does for a plant or recorded history does for a community of men: it has passed forever from the kodak-census stage.

Incursions into the no-man's-land confronting science are increasingly paralleling the phenomena that phenomena that ecology deals with. The rapid invasion of an army of men, or a swarm of locusts such as I have seen blackening the sky in Central America, carries its own suggestion of impending conquest or devastation. The trickling of a thin thread of water through the dike, the exploration of a few pioneers or the settling of a few families beyond the front, may escape notice as significant; and the army may be driven back or the grasshoppers stopped by attention to their breeding places. The most-heralded advances sometimes prove the least important, and the humblest, the most significant, in retrospect.

Who but a croaking pessimist would have dreamed that an unknown fungus spore dropped on the Emerald Isle would lead to famine and starvation affecting a large population of men; that a rather uninteresting imperfect fungus added to the local flora of New York would cause the magnificent chest

nut forest to disappear from our seaboard; that the cultivation of a water plant would choke the streams of England or render those of Florida unnavigable? The like is going on all of the time without such results, and even the man who knows speaks often to an unhearing audience when he ventures to proclaim that an immigrant can do what the leopard moth has done to the elms of New England or the boll-weevil to the sea-island cotton but the lesson is being learned, bit by bit, and applied with quite as much zeal as wisdom.

In much this way, science has reached its achievements: sometimes annexing large fields that have proved less profitable than they were advertised to be; sometimes finding itself in possession of most fruitful territory that it did not know it was invading. That the mountains of conquest sometimes prove barren and the drained plains of slow sedimentation sometimes prove of inestimable productivity may well lead us to embark in future on the most lauded enterprise with reasonable caution, and to foster in every wise way the experimental prosecution of even the least obviously promising of minor undertakings.

Among newer lines of botanical activity none stand out with more significant distinctness than those directed toward getting conclusive demonstration of the active causes of organic variation and of organic function through a direct questioning of nature. To such experimentation, the shifting theory and complicated phenomena of physical chemistry are fundamental; to it, the deftest and best controlled manipulation is essential; to it, recognition and successive elimination of the many interwoven conditioning factors are indispensable. From it, the subtle change that converts living into dead matter is not capable of separation.

Biometry, laborious to the last degree, is the scale by which some of its results are to be made evident and coordinated. Biochemistry has taken assured place as one of its most necessary tools. Even the physical intricacies of behavior in colloids that never figure in vital phenomena are being pressed into daily use as furnishing analogies for if not demonstrations of the workings of that substance,

protoplasm, which alone lives, alone responds to stimulus in the sense of the physiologist, and alone increases its substance through nutrition.

This entire line of advance is very new: some of its progress is startling: but its final results do not appear to promise to be those of metamorphosis but rather of cumulative mutations, perhaps mostly small. In it, above all other lines of progress, caution, conservatism and avoidance of too free generalization and haste in announcing and applying results appear to be desirable.

It is natural that a science concerning itself with the prime makers of human foodand for that matter of all food, and of the healing agents and poisons of the world, should have gleaned its very first results from the usefulness or noxiousness of the materials of its study, and that its achievements should have acquired great economic importance. much stress can not be laid on the fact that this is so, and within reason too much can not be expected from its future activities.


This science works within the bounds of what we still regard as natural law, and will continue to be so limited however these boundaries may be defined and extended. Nevertheless because of its discoveries the unpalatable has been made palatable and the unwholesome made wholesome in food; two blades of grass and two grains of wheat really have been made to grow where but one grew before; it has unraveled the mystery of the epidemic scourges of farm and barnyard, has pointed the way to prophylaxis and breeding of hardier races, and at the worst, has shown where therapy is futile. It certainly will make known and understood the critical periods in crop growth, and enable the agronomist to foster and protect his crops with profit at these periods; and it is not unlikely to enable the man who knows to judge and score the growing crop as the growing herd is judged and scored. It has founded a practise of self-sustaining fertility of the soil, and it points a way to restoration of impoverished soils.

These achievements have not come by leaps and bounds of either discovery or application:

they represent gradual accomplishment in both directions. Nevertheless such practical results have been reached within the memory of men now living-many of them indeed through men now with us. The methods of our science are analytical, its application is educational: both require time, and the applications of its teachings tend to pass its results from the questioning realm of science into the formulated empiricism of an art.

The world stress that we are passing through has caused attention to be turned, as never before, toward science; and science and its methods have received a utilitarian recognition never before accorded them. If botany and its dependent arts have met practical expectation as chemistry and physics and their dependent arts have, its hopeful activities are assured quantitatively and qualitatively for generations to come: if it has shown an inherent lack of the liability of these sciences, in which application is almost synchronous with discovery, an understanding of its slower but none-the-less certain methods will secure for it opportunity for equally honorable and useful future advance; and if we think it has been slow in response we must recognize that like the plants with which it deals it requires a period of tilth and growth between seeding and harvest.

Useful though it may be, until it shall have become a finished work, fit companion for those arts and achievements now kept from oblivion through the kind offices of the museum, it will be a sorry day for this or any other science when its prosecution proves to be dependent upon the evident and immediate usefulness of its discoveries.

When the inspiration of the greatest of modern botanists, Sachs, gave to botany something of the meaning that it now has, its place in the educational world changed. Though biological science from its more complex nature fails to give the promise of unmistakable and predictable answer to experiment that the physical sciences pledge and furnish, it took place quickly and without question as one of the foundation stones of the educational idea which recognizes experimentation and observa

tion as of fundamental value in training the human mind.

Perhaps it was put to this use in the best possible way and for the best possible reasons. Its achievements for two generations show that large results have come because of or despite its incorporation into the curriculum of even the secondary schools: the methods of using it, at any rate, have been largely those believed best calculated to make investigators of the pupils who studied it.

To some people, it has seemed from the first that all who study a science can scarcely be expected to become specialists in it. There is no reason for surprise in the patent fact that few of the myriads of students of botany during the last half-century have become professional botanists: investigators are born rather than manufactured. There may be just ground even for a growing feeling that in its application to education, botany should appear in a different guise and with different accents from the same science as the investigator knows it.

If we are wise and alert who wish to see botany or even biology at large continue-as we all must believe that it should-an element of popular instruction, we must see that in the school it regains that simple understandable everyday relation with everyday life that its vastly simpler precursor possessed; that in the college its more complex present-day relations with life are made part of the equipment of all of those who are to teach it in the schools and to follow it into the university; and that in the university its study is characterized by a breadth of understanding and a scope of vision commensurate with that refined specialization which marks the successful delver after facts.

This is a suggestive gathering. It is a session of The Botanical Society of America, but there are present many members of the Phytopathological Society, of the American Society of Naturalists, of organizations of ecologists and geneticists, of fern students and of moss students. Such organizations are meeting in affiliation with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and members of

the botanical and agricultural sections of that great Association are of our number. Pomologists and men devoting themselves broadly to horticultural science are with us. I should not be surprised if there were present also men who call themselves bacteriologists, foresters, or pharmacognosists, though the immediate affiliation of their special national societies has been shaped otherwise. We are here at the present moment as botanists, viewing botany from the various sides of its many specializations and applications. To-morrow we shall be pressing its subdivisions and segregations intensively in specialized sessions. Let us not forget when we do this that in union lies strength and that in division of labor lies efficiency; nor that efficiency usually reaches its maximum in the connected correlated organs of an organism, each taking and giving for the common good.

I would not urge the tyro among us to become less a cytologist, less a bryologist, less a physiologist, less a bio-chemist, than his greatest inspiration prompts: but I would urge him earnestly to be more a botanist, more a naturalist, more a disciple of a broad science which in strength and effectiveness and symmetry combines all that is good of its many and diversified component parts.

Horticulturists talk of graftage. They know that their art can produce more effective creatures than nature has evolved; but stock as well as scion is selected for its inherent worth, and both are essential to the whole that is built up from them.

The great world upheaval has severed many a scientific union that seemed destined to last interminably. Some of the disjointed parts may never reunite: some unquestionably require careful handling. It appears to be our plain and paramount duty now to see that, if worth it, the parts of the old tree be given a chance to establish themselves anew, either on their own roots or on a better footing—not thinking for a moment that the tree of science is limited in time or space or components, but remembering always the old maxim that the whole is equal to the sum of all its parts and greater than any of its parts.

Out of the world dismemberment has come opportunity for cooperative world reorganization and reconstruction which can be made more effective in science than anything that has preceded it. The opportunity is ours. If we make the most of it, we shall attain the greatest of the achievements of science. Even if we fail, we need not miss the lesson that accomplishment in our field is of necessity never final but proves always to be the opening of new fields, fresher and larger, to those who understand the real nature of achievementout of which opportunity continually develops.


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