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Science and Colonial Agriculture

Nature volume 96, page 626 (03 February 1916) | Download Citation



AN article in a recent number of the Agricultural News (Barbados) discusses the probable effects of the war upon the organisation of science from the Imperial point of view in relation to industry generally and in particular to Colonial agriculture. This subject has been dealt with so exhaustively on all sides during the last twelve months that it would seem impossible to advance any new ideas about it, but the writer of the article selects two fundamental causes as responsible for the state of affairs prevailing until recently. He believes that the British character includes a keen appreciation of mechanical invention without any appreciation of the scientific research underlying it. The second reason is that science as a profession is considered by the older universities and public schools as lacking in the essentials of refinement, and that this social stigma deters able men of good position from entering it. But this deduction is surely incorrect; the true explanation lies in the fact that the prizes that science can offer are so meagre compared with those held out by other professions. The social question is merely a secondary effect. This aspect of the matter was referred to by Sir William Tilden, speaking as a representative of the Royal and Chemical Societies at a deputation to the Government a short time ago.

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