Bulletin of the National Research Council


    ONE of the most formidable obstacles to the progress of science at the present day is the manner in which it is progressing. The continuous increase in the number of research workers and in the scope of their investigations cannot be a source of unalloyed satisfaction to the earnest seeker after knowledge, who before ever he begins a research must delve long and laboriously in the files of countless periodicals in order to discover just where he should begin. There are abstracts, it is true, but they are seldom adequate; in practice one finds them chiefly useful in facilitating reference to the papers really relevant to one's purpose. From this point of view they are often extremely valuable, but from time to time in the development of a subject the need becomes urgent of a pause to review the results obtained and to consolidate the advances made. It is a difficult task, demanding much labour, critical judgment, and breadth of vision. A mere compilation is not enough, for in the study and co-ordination of so many researches numerous problems are bound to arise which call for immediate investigation with the object of removing discrepancies or establishing generalisations. Yet the compiler must exercise a nice discrimination in embarking on such researches, for publication cannot be long delayed if the work is to be up-to-date and not unduly littered with “notes added in proof.” Obviously, then, it is not a task to be undertaken lightly; but on the other hand, if well done, it should be of inestimable value, not only to the worker in the particular region surveyed but also to those in neighbouring fields as well.

    Bulletin of the National Research Council.

    Vol. 11, Part 3. No 57 Molecular Spectra in Gases. Report of the COmmittee on Radiation in Gases. Pp. 358. (Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Sciences, 1926.) 4 dollars.

    Access options

    Rent or Buy article

    Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


    All prices are NET prices.

    Rights and permissions

    Reprints and Permissions

    About this article

    Cite this article

    Bulletin of the National Research Council . Nature 120, 252–253 (1927). https://doi.org/10.1038/120252a0

    Download citation


    By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.