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of failures among students in our engineering schoolsfailures laid to inadequate preparation in our high schools. In our universities, students entering upon the more advanced fields in economics, education, biology, eugenics, and political science begin to feel the need of a knowledge of statistics, and enter upon the study of elementary courses on this subject, but lack the mental habits and training afforded by pure mathematics which would enable them to master and use statistical methods with intelligence and security. Often too late, they begin to realize the truth declared by Kant, long ago, that mathematics enters the higher fields of most sciences; they begin to realize that mathematics assists in the penetration of the aerial regions of research, that it contributes to the rapture of the more distant view into the cerulean sky; they begin to understand the poet who, eulogizing mathematically disciplined reason, tells
How from the planet that his own eyes found
Unfortunately, the weakness found in mathematical instruction prevails in the other departments of knowledge which demand intellectual effort. The delusion that one subject is educationally as good as another justifies a pupil's selection of the studies least exacting. Often the only correlation of the courses chosen relates to the ease with which they may be mastered. Is it surprising that foreign visitors. almost invariably pronounce American education mediocre? Our own prominent men express dissatisfaction. Dean A. F. West of Princeton says: "Present conditions in America, both general and specific combined, ought to be at once bettered." Charles E. Hughes, when Secretary of State, said in his address before the National Education Association, "There is at present a bewildering and unsuccessful attempt at comprehensiveness. It fails of its purpose in giving neither adequate information nor discipline. It asks too much of
the student and too little." As to accuracy, Hughes states that "the lack of it. . . . is now conspicuous in students of all grades." Secretary Hoover in an address to the Society of Mechanical Engineers stated that the United States is behind most European nations in scientific research. President Butler in an annual report stated that Columbia University cannot replace on its faculty "older scholars of distinction and large achievements" because "a choice must be made from a larger or smaller group of mediocrities." Last December (1925), the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science raised the question whether we do not now "produce fewer scientific men of distinction than formerly." R. M. Gummere writes in the Forum: "We are improving the average of instruction but are neglecting our leaders, our future statesmen, scholars, diplomatists, inventors, business pioneers; . . . . the channels which exercise the higher intellectual functions and associations are being neglected."
And what is the remedy? The American masses are ambitious for the best; they have been following what seem to them true lights-in reality iridescent theories. We need a closer adherence to the European practice which has kept in closer alignment with the experience of the ages. We need a speedy return, in our secondary schools, to the serious study (on the part of students not mentally deficient) of a few fundamentals-mathematics, chemistry, history, languages-a return to the ideal that education is the training of the mind. The intellectual life of America needs not the minifying of mathematics, but better teaching of mathematics. Let us bend our efforts upon a few fundamental subjects and teach them thoroughly.
That the well-being of mankind is promoted by the rigorous training of the best minds is now meeting with recognition in a few of our institutions. This is encouraging; indeed, on the mountain tops there are seen signs of an approaching dawn.
A SEA SONG
EUNICE MITCHELL LEHMER
Dizzy with hurrying to and fro,
Steadily, stealthily on
From the land where tomorrow holds tyrant sway
I went to the kingdom of yesterday.
Over the sand still the sea-gull flew,
And the sea-song of Homer was sounding yet
Where the time-scarred earth and the young sea met.
Gone was the weight of my hurried years,
Gone with my footprints that marked the sand;
The song of the sea and the sand,
I sprang to the breakers that beckoned me,
And the youth of my heart was the youth of the sea!
THE IDEALISM OF THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY*
MICHAEL I. PUPIN
It is a great honor to be invited by your University to deliver the Charter Day Address. When this honor is conferred upon one foreign born, who landed here as a young Serbian immigrant fifty-two years ago, it is no wonder that he is willing to cross the continent to thank you for your generous compliment, and to recite his story describing how the idealism of the American university was revealed to him!
An awkward Serbian immigrant landing here at the age of fifteen cannot expect to meet with a very enthusiastic reception at the hands of the immigration officials. How could he, when his ignorance of things, of people, and of this country was as complete as the ignorance of the ancient prophets concerning the physical structure of the universe? Philadelphia was the only definite spot in my American geography. A teacher had told me that an American, named Franklin, experimenting in Philadelphia with a kite and key, had discovered that lightning and thunder were caused by an electrical spark jumping between clouds or between a cloud and the earth. This was indeed a startling revelation to a superstitious peasant boy. Another American name had impressed itself upon my mind when I was nine years of age; it was Lincoln. The peasant minstrel of my native village called him the American Prince Marko. This legendary hero is the central figure of the ancient Serbian ballads, and the poets endowed him with all the
* Address delivered at the University of California on Charter Day, March 23, 1926.
virtues which an ideal Serbian ought to have. The idea conveyed by the peasant minstrel of my native village was that Lincoln had all the virtues of an ideal American. Franklin and Lincoln were the only two luminous spots in my hazy ideas about America when I landed here.
There was no reason why a Serbian youth with no training, no money in his pocket, with shabby clothes on his back, with no relatives or friends in this country, should not be deported. I saw that verdict written on the faces of the immigration officials. Then one of them asked me: "Don't you know of anybody in this country?" I answered: "Yes, I know of Franklin and of Lincoln." The officials smiled and let me pass, and I smiled too. Ever since that time I love to think of the many sunny smiles of this blessed land. This invitation to address you today is one of these sunny smiles. I have to thank Franklin and Lincoln for this great privilege, not only because the knowledge of their names recommended me to the immigration officials, but also because they helped me to find the household gods of this nation and thus make myself at home in the land which was so strange to me when I first saw it. Every Serbian has a patron saint whose name he celebrates. I celebrate the names of two patron saints: Franklin and Lincoln.
The leniency of the immigration officials gave me a hint that Franklin and Lincoln meant a great deal in American history, and I lost no time in unravelling that meaning. Starting with Franklin in my consultation of American history, I soon met Washington, who introduced me to Hamilton, Jefferson, and Adams; Adams introduced me to Marshall, and Marshall introduced me to Clay and Webster; Webster and Clay introduced me to Lincoln. I soon recognized in them the household gods of this nation and I worshiped at their altar. The monotony of factory drudgery is easily forgotten when, reading American history during the evenings, the lonely immigrant finds consolation in communion with these household gods. They convinced me that the Serbian peasant minstrel was right when he called Lincoln the American Prince Marko. No immigrant, I