Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

NA TURE 
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 1872 
THE FOUNDATION OF ZOOLOGICAL 
STATIONS 
WHOEVER contemplates a little closely tlie state of 
Science at the present time, must be struck with 
the fact that, whilst in almost every other branch of public 
and private life co-operation has been established, and 
has worked out great results, its influence on the life of 
Science is but small and insignificant. 
This may sound strange to all those who know the 
number of Scientific Societies, Academies, and Unions to 
be found in England, Germany, America, Italy, France, 
in short, everywhere where Science is cultivated at all. 
But if one looks into the life of these societies, there is 
not much co-operation to be found in them. They 
publish periodicals ; but there are publishers who do quite 
as well as societies, and sometimes even better. They 
meet and talk science ; but this does does not add much 
to the real progress of science. Sometimes they found 
museums or cabinets, and this is a better service ; they 
establish a library for the use of their members, and this 
is perhaps the best they do altogether. A man may be 
fellow of twenty different societies, but that will not affect 
much the progress of the scientific work he does ; if he is 
member of certain academies his reputation may be raised 
in the eyes of tlie outside public, but no essential help is 
afforded by that either to him or to his work, except in 
the case where such academy has some influence Oil the 
Government, as, for instance, the Royal Society. The Me¬ 
nagerie in the Regent’s Park, established by the Zoological 
Society, is one of the solitary instances in which, the ini¬ 
tiative being taken by a scientific body, an institution has 
been evolved, drawing immense revenue from the public 
pocket, which is for the most part spent upon scientific 
objects. It is the application of this method of securing 
support which will be strongly advocated in the present 
paper, as a practicable path for the future progress of 
biological research. 
There is also another great society in Britain which 
docs, perhaps, better work for science than any other. 
This society is the British Association for the Advance¬ 
ment of Science. N ot only does its great and well-deserved 
reputation make it powerful and influential, but also the 
large sum of money it distributes annually for the direct 
progress of science. This influence is due principally to 
the fact that the best men in British Science participate 
with great eagerness in the meetings of the Association 
and lend to it all their personal authority and reputation. 
The considerable sum of money to be distributed is due 
to the great number of scientific and lay people that take 
part in its meetings. 
The combination of these two elements ought to be 
imitated in every special branch of science. The times 
are past when great scientific men did not condescend to 
speak to a general public, and happily nobody believes 
any longer that science must be lowered and lost, because 
the general public looks at and hears a little of its inner 
life. Great scientific men have an immense influence upon 
the public, and that is an immense benefit to the public ; 
on the other hand, the general public takes interest in, and 
VOL. V. 
2 77 
pays money for the progress of science, and that is a great 
benefit for science. 
The meetings of the British Association therefore are 
an essential step in the right direction for lending science 
the great help of co-operation. But a great deal more of it is 
needed if that element is to supersede by-and-by the old 
lines and ways of mere individual and disorganised action. 
Especially is co-operation wanted in the single sciences. 
Every one knows how great is the progress in meteorology 
and astronomy brought about by the possession of special 
laboratories and observatories. Even if all the universities 
were extinct at once, these sciences would go on perfectly 
well by the help of the observatories. Chemistry is aided 
by innumerable laboratories, erected for practical pur¬ 
poses. Mechanics governs the world and finds itself 
at home everywhere, involving by its special character 
many elements of co-operation. 
Other sciences do not enjoy these privileges, though they 
want them perhaps even more than some of those that 
arc in possession of them. Amongst the number of these 
sciences, perhaps the most neglected in the way of co-opera¬ 
tion is Biology, that science which occupies at present such 
an eminent place in the public interest, and yet the most 
neglected, in so far as no other science feels at present the 
necessity of co-operation and organisation so much as 
biology. The reason is a very obvious one. Biology has 
undergone a complete revolution by Mr. Darwin’s great 
work. This revolution has augmented the number of 
specialproblems in such enormous proportions that biology 
is now completely at a loss to solve all these problems by 
the aid of the means placed hitherto at its disposal, and 
looks pretty much like a boy who has suddenly grown in 
one year out of all his clothes, presenting the ridiculous 
aspect of a man in a child’s dress. The thing which a 
father would do for his boy would be to go and buy 
another dress. This obviously was also the idea of Prof. 
Carl Vogt, who long since began an agitation for the 
establishment of a zoological laboratory at the sea-coast, 
of which agitation he wrote me in a letter the following 
account :— 
“ During the years 1844—1847 the plan for the establish¬ 
ment of an expedition was worked out at Paris by Milne- 
Edwards, and I participated in it. The object was the in¬ 
vestigation of a coral-island, and the establishment of a 
station upon it for at least several years. The ship and the 
station should be furnished with all possible things, espe¬ 
cially for dredging-work. The scheme fell to pieces owing 
to a question of etiquette. The commander of a man-of- 
war of the Royal N avy would not submit to the direction 
of a naturalist. 
“As you know, I lived from 1850 to 1852 at Nice. The 
instruments for observation, which I bought by the money 
earned by literary work, consisted of a microscope, a surface 
net, and some large sugar-bottles. I tried at the time by 
the help of two deputies, my friends Valerio and Dunico, 
to bring about the foundation of a zoological station at 
Villafranca, asking only for some rooms in the empty 
buildings of the Darsena, and the establishment of some 
tanks in them. N evertheless I had not the least success, 
“ In the year 1863 my friend Matteucci became Minister 
of Public Instruction in the kingdom of Italy. With him, 
as a physicist who especially dealt with physiological 
subjects, and who, understanding the necessities and wants 
Q
        

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