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Whether the first two college years are given on the university campus or in a separate junior college it seems highly desirable to reconsider the nature and content of their courses. As matters now stand in the larger institutions there are likely to be from twenty to thirty separate departments of instruction, each of which offers an elementary course introductory to its particular field of investigation. Under these circumstances the student finds it difficult or impossible to acquire a general knowledge of the fields of human endeavor. It is true, of course, that most departments aim so to construct their introductory courses as to make them suitable foundations for further and more specialized work and at the same time afford as much general information and training as possible. The truth, in the opinion of many, is that this double object is very difficult, or perhaps impossible, of satisfactory achievement. It is the old, old problem of serving two masters and usually with "General Culture" cast for the rôle of Mammon. The general result is that there are numerous excellent courses in every university, considered from the point of view of introductions to their respective subjects, but very few general culture courses worthy the name. But even granting that some do achieve this two-fold object and that all might do so, it still remains true that the student must take too many courses to secure what he desires and must learn many specialized facts and acquire special technique which he neither ardently desires nor particularly needs.
If, now, the case against the growing extreme specialization in the first two college years has been fairly put,, we are faced with the problem of attempting a resynthesis of the subject matter of elementary courses which will at once reduce the number of courses and broaden their outlook. The chief aim should be to remove them from the field of specialization to that of general culture; to make them fit into the general educational scheme of the genuinely well-educated man. However, sight must not be lost wholly of the fact that these junior college courses will
constitute, also, the collegiate introduction, in some cases, to the specialized lines of study to be pursued later. To be specific, the general biology course must not only present a broad view of the field of biology to the general culture student but should also make clear to the future physician, agriculturist, or scientific investigator the relation of his spe cial field of effort to that larger domain of which it is but a specialized part.
Before considering the specific application of these general ideas to the question of elementary instruction in biology it seems desirable to raise and discuss two preliminary inquiries: (1) What is wrong with the "General Biology" courses of the past? (2) Why are the usual consecutive courses in botany and zoology regarded as unsatisfactory?
The Case against " General Biology."-Careful reading of Professor Nichols's paper shows that the objections to general biology are directed, for the most part, against the "standard" course, based originally on the text-book of Huxley and Martin; but with an undercurrent of opinion that no course can avoid certain pitfalls, among which are: the difficulty of finding men of sufficient breadth of view to give general biology adequate presentation; the equally serious difficulty of finding zoologists and botanists who can cooperate harmoniously in giving a course jointly; the danger that abstract principles may be stressed unduly, to the exclusion of concrete facts; and finally, the alleged unsuitability of general biology as an introduction to further study of zoology or botany. Disregarding, as we should, those objections that are based on interdepartmental or interprofessional jealousies, and assuming, as we may, that zoologists and botanists will cooperate willingly, if the need for such cooperation becomes clear, the problem boils down to the question whether a "General Biology" course properly designed to afford a maximum of general culture would also be a useful and desirable introduction to his field for the future botanist, zoologist, or physician.
Objections to Consecutive Courses in Botany and Zoology. Consecutive courses usually are
not, and generally are not intended to be, adequate presentations of general biology. On the contrary these courses are commonly admirable introductions to the sort of botany or zoology taught in their respective institutions. They are open to criticism from two directions. In the first place they contain much that is of little interest or importance to the general culture student and they usually involve an excessive amount of detailed laboratory work for this type of student. We do not mean to assert that a thorough training in the laboratory is not good for any sort of student but merely to point out the absurdity of compelling him to acquire a different one for each field of study if he is to become a really well educated man. Not unnaturally the majority of students, under a system of relative freedom of election, decline to attempt to secure a general education at this exorbitant price.
On the other hand these courses are seriously deficient, from this point of view, in what they omit. This is more serious than the inclusions, for one may reasonably be willing to pay an excessive price for a worthwhile article but he can hardly be expected to be satisfied to pay for what he ardently wishes and really needs and then not get it, even after being overcharged.
Furthermore this criticism comes not alone from the general culture student but also from one of the largest groups of biologists, namely, the medical students. The tandem
arrangement has never been satisfactory to them, and now, with the increasing pressure upon their time for technical zoological courses, such as comparative anatomy, becomes virtually impossible. The present situation is that the prospective medical student takes no botany at all, or does so only at the sacrifice of valuable and important non-scientific study, of which he obtains at best far too little.
And furthermore, whether he studies botany or not, he goes through his course without having had formal opportunity to acquire a broad conception of life itself and the interrelations of living things with one another and with the inorganic world.
What is General Biology.-To the writers it seems clear that it does not consist in some zoology and some botany, whether administered in the old-fashioned mixture, improperly called general biology, or in the more modern separate dose method of consecutive courses. To us it seems axiomatic that it must have a much broader outlook and that it must in a general way include somewhat the following topics: (1) The structures and functions common to all living things; (2) The distinguishing characteristics of plants as such and their function in the world; (3) The essential characters of animals; (4) The interrelations of plants and animals with one another and with inorganic nature, with special reference to competition, survival, injury, death, disease, and decomposition; (5) The processes of nature whereby matter and energy are so conserved and transformed as to permit the ceaseless and indefinitely continuous round of life. To be more specific this means a study of: (a) Protoplasm-its structure and functions, cells, cell division, colonial and multicellular organisms, growth and differentiation; (b) the rôle of green plants in the transformation of the free energy of sunlight and simple inorganic compounds into complex energy-containing organic compounds to be used as foods-i. e., as sources of energy and building materials-by animals and non-green plant cells; (c) how these foods are used by animals in growth and work and how they produce wastes, eventually to be used again. by plants; (d) the sensitivity of protoplasm and its rôle in relating the plant and animal to their environment; (e) growth and reproduction; (f) heredity and evolution; (g) disease and death; (h) decomposition, putrefaction, and fermentation and other processes in the soil that render organic materials again usable by green plants; (i) the transformations and conservation of matter and energy as exemplified in the carbon, nitrogen, and other organic cycles.
Administrative Difficulties.-It seems probable that much of the prejudice against the "General Biology" course has actually had its origin in the inter-departmental friction
of administering a large joint undertaking. We have no doubt that this can be overcome, with patience and good will, even with the present organization of our chief universities. But, on the other hand, these difficulties are greatly minimized under a junior college organization. Presumably in most institutions the first two years work would be placed directly under the control of a dean or other similar administrative officer with little or no departmental bias. He would be empowered and obligated to organize such general courses -General Biology and others without interference from departments or technical schools, though he would doubtless wisely seek such advice as he needed.
Under a junior college organization, general biology is but one of the urgent needs. A presentation of the general concepts of physics and chemistry is certainly just as much needed and doubtless equally feasible. Certainly the educated man should know something of the earth on which he lives and the planetary system to which it belongs-interesting subject matter for a general course. It is possibly venturing afield for biologists to suggest that a general course could also be devised that would inform the student concerning the human environment in which he lives. What a fascinating course could be made by a serious attempt to set before the student the rôle of the state, the church, labor, capital, eugenics, and euthenics!
In conclusion the writers, a botanist and a physiologist, respectively, would beg to record their conviction not only that a course in general biology, and other similar courses, can be organized and that they are highly desirable but also that the advance of the junior college will shortly force us to attempt it whether we like it or not.
LEONAS L. BURLINGAME,
FRANCIS C. PHILLIPS
DR. FRANCIS CLIFFORD PHILLIPS died at his residence, 144 Ridge Avenue, Ben Avon, Pa., on Monday, February 16, of influenza-pneu
monia, passing away in the same peaceful manner which characterized his life.
He was born in Philadelphia, April 2, 1850, the son of William S. and Fredericka Ingersoll Phillips. He received his early education at home from an unusually capable and devoted mother. In 1864 Dr. Phillips studied at the Academy of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Philadelphia and in 1866 entered the University of Pennsylvania, where he obtained his A.B. From 1871-1873 he studied under Regimus Fresenius at Wiesbaden, Germany. During the latter year he was private assistant to Professor Fresenius. He then spent a year at the Polytechnic School at Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle). Here he was associated with Professor Landolt. Professor Phillips was unable to complete his studies abroad because of the poor health of his father. He returned to America and during the following year became instructor in chemistry at Delaware College. In 1875 he was appointed to the teaching staff of the University of Pittsburgh, then the Western University of Pennsyvania, where he taught for forty years, retiring as head of the Department of Chemistry in 1915. For many years he taught chemistry, geology and mineralogy. Even in the writer's student days (1898-1902) Professor Phillips still taught all branches of chemistry and mineralogy. In 1878-1879 he also lectured to the students in the Pittsburgh College of Pharmacy, where he succeeded the late Professor John W. Langley, a brother of the late Samuel P. Langley, then at the Allegheny Observatory and afterwards secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. In 1879 he received the degree of A.M. from the University of Pennsylvania, and in 1893 the Ph.D. He was married in 1881 to Sarah Ormsby Phillips daughter of Ormsby Phillips, a former mayor of Allegheny.
In 1915 Dr. Phillips retired from active service in the University of Pittsburgh under the pension system of the Carnegie Foundation. Since that time he had been engaged continuously in research and writing in a laboratory provided by the Mellon Institute. During the recent war he conducted researches
on gases in cooperation with the Gas Warfare Service.
In June, 1919, Dr. Phillips received the honorary degree of Doctor of Science from the University of Pittsburgh.
Dr. Phillips was an authority on natural gas in which field he held international recognition. In 1904 he published the "Methods of Analysis of Ores, Pig Iron and Steel used by the Chemists in the Pittsburgh Region," and in 1913 a text-book of "Chemical German," of which a second edition appeared in 1916. At the time of his death Dr. Phillips had two other books well under way, one on the "Life and Work of Joseph Priestley," the other on 66 Qualitative Gas Reactions."
Dr. Phillips was a member of the following societies:
Phi Kappa Sigma Fraternity since 1867. Engineers' Society of Western Pennsylvania since 1880.
American Association for Advancement of Science since 1887.
American Institute of Mining Engineers since 1892.
American Chemical Society since 1894. American Philosophical Society since 1894. Phi Lambda Upsilon Fraternity since 1919. Dr. Phillips was a member of the Chemists' Club of New York City and the University Club of Pittsburgh.
He has been a member of the council of the American Chemical Society since the organization of the Pittsburgh Section in 1903.
Beside his widow, Mrs. Sarah Ormsby Phillips, Dr. Phillips leaves two sons, Clifford S. and Frederick I. Phillips.
SCHOOL OF CHEMISTRY,
UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH
BIRD BANDING WORK BEING TAKEN OVER BY THE BIOLOGICAL SURVEY
THE Bureau of Biological Survey at Washington, D. C., has taken over the work formerly carried on under the auspices of the Linnaean Society of New York by the American Bird Banding Association. In taking
over this work the bureau feels that it should express the debt that students of ornithology in this country owe to Mr. Howard H. Cleaves for the devotion and success with which he has conducted its investigation up to a point where it has outgrown the possibilities of his personal supervision.
Under plans now being formulated this work will give a great amount of invaluable information concerning the migration and distribution of North American birds which will be of direct service in the administration of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, as well as of much general scientific interest.
It is desired to develop this work along two principal lines: first, the trapping and banding of waterfowl, especially ducks and geese, on both their breeding and winter grounds; and secondly, the systematic trapping of land birds as initiated by Mr. S. Prentiss Baldwin, the early results of which have been published by him in the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New York, No. 13, 1919, pp. 23-55. It is planned to enlist the interest and services of volunteer workers, who will undertake to operate and maintain trapping stations throughout the year, banding new birds and recording the data from those previously banded. The results from a series of stations thus operated will undoubtedly give new insight into migration routes; speed of travel during migration; longevity of species; affinity for the same nesting-site year after year; and, in addition, furnish a wealth of information relative to the behavior of the individual, heretofore impossible because of the difficulty of keeping one particular bird under observation.
The details of operation are now receiving close attention, and as soon as possible the issue of bands will be announced, with full information regarding the methods to be followed and the results expected. In the meantime, the Biological Survey will be glad to receive communications from those sufficiently interested and satisfactorily located to engage in this work during their leisure time, for it is obvious that a considerable part must be done by volunteer operators. It is hoped that
a sufficient number will take this up to insure the complete success of the project.
E. W. NELSON, Chief of Bureau
THE PACIFIC COAST DIVISION OF THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF SCIENCE
THE fourth annual convention of the Pacific Coast Division of the American Association for the Advancement of Science will meet at the University of Washington, Seattle, on June 17, to continue three days. Delegates from California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Nevada and British Columbia, will be present. It is expected that more than 250 scientists will take part in the proceedings.
Delegates from California, Stanford, Oregon, Idaho, Washington and Southern California universities, California Institute of Technology, Scripps Institute, Oregon Agricultural College, Reed College and Washington State College have been asked to attend the research conferences, which are under the direction of the National Research Council.
Morning sessions the first two days, Thursday and Friday, June 17 and 18, will be devoted to meetings of the affiliated societies, the Western Society of Naturalists, Pacific Fisheries Society, American Physical Society, Astronomical Society of the Pacific, Cordilleran Section of the Geological Society of America, Pacific Coast branch of the Paleontological Society, American Phytopathological Society, San Francisco section of the American Mathematical Society, Seismological Society, American Chemical Society, Cooper Ornithological Club, Ecological Society of America, Society of American Foresters and Research Society.
The program includes registration, programs of the affiliated societies, a symposium on fisheries, Seattle automobile drives and welcoming addresses by President Henry Suzzallo and John C. Merriam, dean of faculties of the University of California, president of the Pacific Coast division of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and chairman of the states relations committee of the National Research Council. A Sigma XiPhi Beta Kappa lecture will be arranged for
on Friday evening. Provision will be made for excursions to Rainier National Park and the Biological and Astronomical stations, Snoqualmie Falls and other points of interest, and a reception at the University of Washington last evening.
THE RESIGNATION OF THE DIRECTOR OF THE BUREAU OF MINES
DR. VAN H. MANNING, director of the Bureau of Mines, Department of the Interior, has tendered his resignation, effective on June 1, to President Wilson. Dr. Manning is leaving the government service to accept the position of director of research with the recently organized American Petroleum Institute, the most important body of petroleum men of the country.
In his letter to the President, Dr. Manning says:
I hereby tender you my resignation, to take effect June 1, 1920, as director of the Bureau of Mines.
It will be with reluctance and deep regret that I shall sever my connection with the Department of the Interior after thirty-four years of active service therein, and it is the opportunity of being able to continue in another capacity the work for the advancement of purposes fostered by the department that has been the chief factor in determining my decision to resign.
I take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation of the confidence that you have reposed in me as a public official and of the cordial cooperation of the departmental executives whom I have been able to serve. Especially I appreciate your constant help in my efforts to develop an organization that has at heart the welfare of the public, the advancement of the mineral industry, and the safety of the two million workers who contribute to the success of that industry.
In leaving the government service there comes to me, as it has over and over again, the thought that although this government spends each year many millions of dollars in useful scientific work for the benefit of the whole people, the monetary recognition of its scientific and technical servants is not sufficient to enable them to continue in the service for the people. This has been especially true within the last few years when it has been impossible for many men to remain in the government service.