THIS is only a pamphlet of 54 pages, but it deals with matters of the utmost importance in the industrial struggle of this country with Germany. At intervals during the last twenty years the note of alarm has been sounded in this country with respect to the state of our chemical industries as compared with the development in this direction going on abroad, and especially in Germany.1 The newspaper press has from time to time called attention to this matter; the modern revival in technical education has been largely influenced by such representations and, as a sign of the times, a special sub-committee was appointed by the Technical Education Board of the London County Council for the purpose of inquiring into the teaching of chemistry in London, the report of this committee having been published early last year. It is perhaps unnecessary to point out that, in spite of our recent efforts to recover lost ground, and to bring our chemical industries up to that position of supremacy which they held before the war of 1870-71, our educational machinery is still so far behind that of our Teutonic colleagues and competitors, that the German universities are now largely recruited by English and American students who are preparing for careers as chemical manufacturers. In stating that this condition of affairs is discreditable to our country, we are only paying our German friends that homage due to a nation which has all along recognised the supreme importance of the bearing of science upon industry. While we have been expending large sums in promoting “Polytechnics” of our own type, the Germans have been extending and improving their educational institutions so as to provide the highest and most specialised kind of instruction by the best experts that their country could supply. In brief, we have been “playing to the gallery” while the Germans have been addressing themselves to the private boxes and stalls; and if any doubt exists as to which kind of performance is producing the greatest effect upon the development of the chemical industries of the respective countries, we need only refer to our Patent Office records and the Board of Trade returns.
Chemische Technologie an den Universitäten und technischen Hochschulen Deutschlands.
By Dr. Ferdinand Fischer, Professor in the University of Göttingen. (Braunschweig: Vieweg and Sohn, 1898.)
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See a paper by the writer of this notice in NATURE, vol. xxxiv. p. 324.
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MELDOLA, R. Chemische Technologie an den Universitäten und technischen Hochschulen Deutschlands. Nature 59, 361–363 (1899). https://doi.org/10.1038/059361a0