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Chemical Industry and Carl Duisberg

Naturevolume 135pages10211025 (1935) | Download Citation



“ALAS, poor Yorrick! I knew him, Horatio a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. … “Geheimer Regierungsrat Carl Duisberg, honorary university senator, professor and doctor in all faculties, including theology, was born on September 29, 1861; he died on March 19, 1935. In telling his story, the history is told in large part of the most intricate and far-reaching of modern industries—also the history of an unparalleled advance, due wholly to the considered use of scientific endeavour by a nation, an advance involving incidentally a vast increase in man's knowledge of himself, of his power over himself and the world—all this the growth of only four fifths of a century! Curiously enough, the upgrowth of Germany as an industrial nation has been almost coincident with that of Japan. Whilst, however, the constructive advance of Germany has been intellectual and original, the advance of Japan has been imitative and mechanical: she has given no evidence of any special intellectual advance, such as has been apparent in India, for example, in a remarkable development of mathematical physics. It is, however, possible that we are too simple-minded to plumb her actions. Being free from our Western traditions and prejudices, especially from our stubborn individuality, maybe the Japanese have fathomed the value of scientific method, indeed of method in general, as we certainly have not: that consequently they are working to a clearly conceived plan. If so, they will be very dangerous as rivals. At least, they have the courage of their convictions and do things.


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