Page images

live cat into the laboratory and which had probably imparted an odor of cat to the greens. I did not watch the rats very persistently, but the next day I noted that their behavior was perfectly normal and that the greens had been entirely eaten. It may be said with certainty that these animals which were so terrified had never in their experience been near a cat.

At the same time that I was working with white rats I had to use some rabbits and had occasion to handle some rats immediately after handling the rabbits. The rats did not respond in any peculiar way in the presence of the odor of rabbits, and as this was just as strange an odor as that of cat, it can hardly be assumed that this reaction of fear in the presence of the odor of cat was due simply to the novelty of the stimulus.




TO THE EDITOR OF SCIENCE: In your issue of August 29, Professor Woodman, University of Maine, describes an unusual snow phenomenon, and he states that it would be interesting to know if others have observed anything like it in other localities. It may therefore be worth while to call attention to a similar phenomenon described by Thoreau in his "Journal," Vol. XIII., pages 24-26:

I see, in the Pleasant Meadow field near the pond, some little masses of snow, such as I noticed yesterday in the open land by the railroad causeway at the Cut. I could not account for them then, for I did not go to them, but thought they might be the remainders of drifts which had been blown away, leaving little perpendicular masses six inches or a foot higher than the surrounding snow in the midst of the fields. Now I detect the cause. These (which I see to-day) are the remains of snowballs which the wind of yesterday rolled up in the moist snow. The morning was mild, and the snow accordingly soft and moist yet light, but in the middle of the day a strong northwest wind arose, and before night it became quite hard to bear.

These masses which I examined in the Pleasant Meadow field were generally six or eight inches high-though they must have wasted and settled

considerably and a little longer than high, presenting a more or less fluted appearance externally. They were hollow cylinders about two inches in diameter within, like muffs. Here were a dozen within two rods square, and I saw them in three or four localities miles apart, in almost any place exposed to the sweep of the northwest wind. There was plainly to be seen the furrow in the snow produced when they were rolled up, in the form of a very narrow pyramid, commencing perhaps two inches wide, and in the course of ten feet (sometimes of four or five only) becoming six or eight inches wide, when the mass was too heavy to be moved further. The snow had thus been rolled up even, like a carpet. This occurred on perfectly level ground and also where the ground rose gently to the southeast. The ground was not laid bare. That wind must have rolled up masses thus till they were a foot in diameter. It is certain, then, that a sudden strong wind when the snow is moist but light (it had fallen the afternoon previous) will catch and roll it up as a boy rolls up his ball. These white balls are seen far off over the hills.

This description is accompanied by a drawing, so characteristic of Thoreau, showing the cylindrical ball and its path in the snow.





THE university has not yet been accustomed to think of the army as an institution in which scholarship flourishes. Nor has the army been interested in the work of the university. Each went its way in the belief that its task was so different from the other that the benefit to be derived from cooperation would be outweighed by the trouble involved. That this attitude has been completely changed is due more to the changes in fighting than to those in teaching. It was only a short while ago that such an expression as "the science of war" flattered the activity of generals and their armies. The infantry had to know how to shoot and the cavalry how to ride. Tactical problems, solved by the General Staff, consisted largely in the accurate reading of maps and the direction of marches

and location of points suitable for attack or necessary to be taken.

The war, the end of which the unpolitical majority of us are now longing to greet, was, however, grimly scientific in its every aspect. Aviation commandeered the mechanical engineer, the astronomer and the photographer. The submarine demanded that the physicist tell us all he knew. Without the chemist gas could not be used. Camouflage confused and confounded enemy mathematics: there were no lines straight in the right way, nor rectangles by which to calculate ranges and set guns. The wireless in its manifold applications made the skilled electrician work. Men were selected-they had to be according to tests determined by the psychologist. And so on, until the colleges used "direct action" and took the young soldier under their immediate supervision, an act in itself necessitating a coordination between the army and the university that was undreamed of twenty years ago.

In an illuminating article in the Columbia University Quarterly Mr. Frederick Paul Keppel, until recently Third Assistant Secretary of War, has detailed some of the achievements of academic men (to use an adjective which the War Department affects to loathe) that helped us to win the war. The archeologist designed the best trench helmet; the tropical botanist told us how to get charcoal for gas masks; the astronomer showed us that it is the shape of a moving thing's tail and not its head that determines its course; the lawyer directed war finance; the physicist and chemist brought our production of field glasses up from 1,800 in 1914 to 3,500 in a single week in 1918; the physician greatly decreased our death rate by chemical sterilization and the splinting of fractures; the anthropologist showed that it is the breadth of a soldier's hips and not the length of his legs that gives him marching ability; a doctor of philosophy established conferences for the discussion of technical problems, and thereby prevented excellent suggestions from dying a quiet death in the pigeonholes of the War College.


Menders of the Maimed: The Anatomical and Physiological Principles underlying the Treatment of Injuries to Muscles, Nerves, Bones and Joints. By ARTHUR KEITH. London, Oxford Medical Publications (Henry Frowde; Hodder and Stoughton). 1919. Pp. 335.

Those who had the good fortune to hear Professor Keith during his tour of the United States in 1915 will need no further introduction or incentive to read this book than the statement that the author has written it as he speaks in the same delightful conversational style which characterizes his public lectures in the college of surgeons.

The subtitle, far too cumbersome for a book heading, gives the substance of its contents which are the written records of the lecture course for 1917-18. "Menders of the Maimed " rightly interprets the book, the inspiration of which is a renewed interest in treatment of the locomotor and nervous systems elicited by the war.

"Men of business find it necessary from time to time to take an inventory of the goods they have in stock; occasions arise when medical men must do the same thing and make a survey of the means of treatment at their disposal. That is the case now; surgeons are being called on to restore movement to thousands of men who have been lamed or maimed in war; they find it necessary to reexamine the foundations of their science and practise. In this book I have sought to help them by a restatement of the principles which underlie the art of orthopedic surgery." Thus the author expresses his mission and he carries it out in a way at once characteristic of himself and appealing to the reader for he builds the history of orthopedic surgery around those who themselves made the history. As we read we actually feel the presence of John Hunter's restless active figure. We see Hilton, sarcastic and independent, his waistcoat with its decisive pattern linked from pocket to pocket with a heavy gold chain. H. O. Thomas is in his workshop fashioning splints. Little seeks

help for his deformed foot and Lang for his injured knee. Duchenne walks the streets of Boulogne, his Faradic battery under his arm, and declaims against his critics. Lucas-Champonnière, the ankylophobe protests eloquently against splints. Sayre captures his little patient in the New York slums still incased in his plaster jacket and triumphantly carries him off to his lecture theater.

"To assist myself," said Watts, the painter, "I converse with the sitter, note his train of thought, his disposition, his character and so forth, and having made myself master of these details, I set myself to place them on the canvas, and so reproduce not only his face, but his character and nature." So in this volume

the author has absorbed something of the spirit of each pioneer and interprets that.

The general plan of the book is not a simple one with successive chapters following in orderly sequence for, as in a play, characters come and go and, whereas some cross the stage but once, others return again and again.

For instance the first chapters are biographical studies of Hunter, Hilton and Thomas.

Then follows the history not of a man but of a movement-that movement which led surgeons to practise tenotomy. The natural sequence to this, namely, the consideration of tendon transplantation and kinoplastic surgery is postponed until the story of the nerves and the control of muscles has been unravelled by Marshall Hall and those who followed him. The reason for this postponement is not far to seek. Scientific discovery and the application of principles are in history a disconnected sequence. Tendon transplantation has to be postponed in the book because the book is the interpretation of history and not a mere recital of events.

Later in the book when movement as a method of treatment finds its champion in Lucas-Champonnière it turns out that the first three studies which appeared biographical are really historical phases of the contrasting doctrine of rest. Thus, being led to look at the subject from different viewpoints, we find the book full of surprises which arouse and renew our interest.

Only toward the end when dealing with bone and cartilage do we find a certain order, prescribed indeed by history but none the less stimulating because unexpected.

Valuable also is the last chapter on the history of bone-setting with a well-judged warning against the type of practitioner who, unsound in his fundamental knowledge, plays into the hands of charlatans.

In the rush of modern scientific life we are apt to ignore those who laid the foundations of our knowledge and even a discovery is often, as history shows, a rediscovery. “Our opinions," said Montaigne, "are grafted one upon another. Whence it followeth that the highest mounted hath often more honor than merit. For he is got-up but one inch above the shoulders of the last save one."

No student, seeking to know the history of investigation in the structure and function of the locomotor and nervous systems can afford to neglect this book and the story of “the last save one."



MODERN medicine is a scientific subject, and, in order to understand it completely, students must understand the methods by which the facts and theories of medicine have been acquired. The best way to learn the scientific method is by undertaking some research problem and so learning it first-hand. This is required for the degree of Ph.D. in a scientific subject, but students of medicine in some schools find it difficult or impossible to obtain the opportunity to do any research at all.

The faculty of the University of Pennsylvania are almost without exception believers in the educational value of undergraduate research, but the question of how properly to combine the time required for research and the exactions of the regular course remains an open one. Therefore, during the past session (1918-19) the William Pepper Medical

Society, an undergraduate society at the University of Pennsylvania, conducted a canvass of representative medical schools of the United States on the subject of undergraduate research. The attempt was made to determine the condition of undergraduate research, how the time for it was obtained, and what means (if any) were taken to encourage students to do this type of work. A somewhat similar canvass, conducted by Dr. C. K. Drinker in 1912,1 permitted a comparison of the opportunities for undergraduate research in 1912 and at present.

The following letter was therefore sent to twenty-five medical schools:


Dear Sir: The William Pepper Medical Society (undergraduate) of the University of Pennsylvania desires to investigate the conditions under which undergraduate research work is being carried on in the principal medical schools of America.

The society believes that a knowledge of the methods of scientific research is of great value, and that greater opportunity to acquire this knowledge should be afforded to students who are interested.

We would request the favor of a reply upon the following questions, and hope that you will add any suggestions or comments that you would care to make. The committee would thank you for your trouble in the matter.

[blocks in formation]

3. Approximately how many (and what per cent.) of your graduating classes have undertaken some research problem, under instruction of the faculty, during their regular course of study?

4. Does your curriculum permit a student to substitute time spent on research, under direction of a member of the faculty, for hours in the regular course, required or elective?

1 SCIENCE, N. S., Vol. XXXVI., No. 935, pp. 1912. 729-738, November 29,

5. Do you believe that undergraduate research is justified by its educational value to the student?

The following tabulations were compiled from the replies of the deans of the institutions quoted except in the case of Johns Hopkins. As the dean of Johns Hopkins failed to respond, the attitude of that institution was ascertained from the catalogue and from conversations with undergraduates and therefore can not be regarded as entirely an official statement of that school.

By the answers to the first question we find that an overwhelming proportion of medical schools permit undergraduates to undertake research in conjunction with their regular work. Twenty schools allow this, two are doubtful (one of which gives only the first two years of the course) and only two forbid it. In 1912 seventeen schools permitted this, while eight opposed it. The opposition has shrunk from 32 per cent. to 9 per cent. in the last seven years.

Those permitting undergraduate research: California, Cornell, Colorado, Harvard, Illinois, Johns Hopkins, Leland Stanford, McGill, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oregon, Rush, Texas, Tulane, Virginia, Washington (St Louis), Western Reserve, Wisconsin, Yale. Those opposed: Maryland, Geo. Washington (D.C.). Doubtful: Physicians and Surgeons (Columbia), North Carolina.

The following comment on question No. 1 was received:

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

Reasons for a doubtful or negative attitude liographies are at times required and these always are given as follows: suggest problems.'' (Letter of Dr. H. B. Myers, assistant dean.)

P. and S. (Columbia)—"We do not advise it. Only a few can find time to do so." (Letter of Dean Lambert.) Maryland-"y "We feel that the course is too comprehensive to allow the average student to spend time at anything other than his regular work.'

The cause of the objections is the lack of time in the course. But the subject of medicine is a life study and can not be covered in four years. The value of a medical course must be measured not alone by the number of facts that the student masters during his four years at the medical school, but by the extent of his knowledge at the prime of his intellectual life. Therefore it seems strange that any school should not give its students some time in which they could work on their own resources, and, by learning to acquire knowledge without instruction, could become life-long students of medicine.

A study of the answers to question no. 2 reveals several methods by which undergraduate research is encouraged by the faculty. Several schols employ more than one method, which makes it difficult to classify them. The schools have been placed under the method on which they lay the most stress. These methods are as follows:

1. By personal advice and interest of members of the faculty-California, Colorado, Illinois, Harvard, Michigan, Washington, Virginia.

2. By allowing undergraduates to assist members of the teaching staff-Texas, Michigan, Tulane.

3. By requiring a thesis for graduation Leland Stanford, Wisconsin, Yale.

4. By giving credit towards their degreeRush.

5. By offering elective courses in researchMinnesota, Johns Hopkins.

6. Miscellaneous

Cornell "We encourage them by placing at their disposal every available facility for the study of approved problems.'' (From a letter of Dr. J. S. Ferguson, secretary of the faculty.)

Oregon "All members of the class are at times assigned subjects to look up in the literature, bib

California "Next year we are permitting two undergraduates to substitute for work in medicine, work in research which will be financed by scholarships from the university." (Letter of Dean H. C. Moffit.)

Schools which do not encourage it—George Washington (Washington, D.C.), Maryland, McGill, Mississippi, Physicians and Surgeons (Columbia).

From the answers to question no. 3 we find:

Over 50 per cent. of the graduating class has undertaken some research problem at Cornell and Yale.

Between 25 per cent. and 50 per cent. at California, Colorado, Washington.

Between 10 per cent. and 25 per cent. at Harvard, Leland Stanford, Minnesota, Rush. Between 5 per cent. and 10 per cent. at Illinois and Michigan.

"Some little" at Mississippi, Texas, Virginia and Western Reserve.

None at George Washington (D.C.), Maryland, Physicians and Surgeons (Columbia). Tulane replies that none of the present class has done any research because of the war.

We have no exact figures from Johns Hopkins, but the proportion is known to be high.

The fourth question is the most important one of the series because it determines whether research is made possible for the undergraduate. In order to work the undergraduates must have available time, sufficient in duration to allow for the completion of experiments. This time is provided in two ways: (1) by permitting a student to substitute time spent in research for hours in the regular course, or (2) by reducing the hours of instruction to such a point that enough free time is available.

The schools allowing students to substitute time spent on research are-California, Cornell, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Minnesota, Oregon, Rush, Tulane, Washington (St. Louis), Wisconsin.

In 1912 only one school, Tulane, allowed such substitution.

« PreviousContinue »