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The Growth of the Brain A Study of the Nervous System in Relation to Education


THE “populariser” of science (who differs widely in kind from a Helmholtz or a Tyndall—the writers of popular science) labours under great disadvantages. He is compelled to give a scissors-and-paste account of the work done by other people in different departments, and to summarise a number of perfectly distinct monographs, omitting all the experimental evidence which alone gives value to the conclusions. He must not express any original criticism, and he usually has to bring in a moral. To say the best of it, he writes about science with an object, whereas science must be trodden for itself, like a Swiss mountain. It is a little sad to think that neurology is going to have an object—judging from the essay before us. It will become the lumberroom for histological details, weight statistics, architectural dimensions, a little physiology—very little—and some educational cobwebs to weave them all together. But such a collection should at least be up to date at the time it is offered to the public. An account of “localisation of cerebral function,” with no reference to Munk and Goltz, no suggestion that opinions differ as to the extent of localisation, or that the expression “sensory vs motor”(tracts), has previously been termed “misleading,” no hint that in the absence of the higher centres, function may be taken on by the lower, in any less long-suffering animal than the “brainless frog,” does not lead one to anticipate much neurological pabulum.

The Growth of the Brain. A Study of the Nervous System in Relation to Education.

By H. H. Donaldson, Professor of Neurology in the University of Chicago. “Contemporary Science Series.” (London: Walter Scott, 1895.)

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WELBY, F. The Growth of the Brain A Study of the Nervous System in Relation to Education. Nature 53, 98–99 (1895).

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