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influence upon educational problems, no one can doubt the tremendous force of its silent influence.

Sigma Xi was founded to encourage research, the restless inquiring spirit of to-day that hardly existed yesterday and was unknown the day before. This is the progressive factor in modern life, the search after truth that drives a student out beyond the limits of to-day's knowledge into the vast realm of the unknown to find some fragment of the philosopher's stone, to add some bit, however small, to the great temple of knowledge which men of all lands and ages are slowly rearing as a monument to human intellect: in its unfinished form a delight to the mind of man to-day and tomorrow until time shall cease and truth be complete. Not every man may take part in this work; many a one who was known as a scholar and a man of culture has left no trace of his handiwork on this temple of knowledge. Many men make good soldiers who never become leaders; many students follow successfully as far as they are led and assimilate the intellectual food placed before them without producing energy enough to go in independently and become productive, constructive factors in the intellectual world. It is the function of Sigma Xi to search out this productive faculty, to stimulate its possessor to further inquiry that all such individuals shall contribute through investigation their maximum effort to the extension of the limits of knowledge.

This creative power is a fundamental characteristic of the human species, it is the keystone of progress. On its development hang alike the past and the future of mankind. Whatever stimulates originality and research contributes to the advance of the whole human race. Mental inertia and intellectual ease tend to influence men to follow beaten paths, yet advance can only be made by the work of those who are willing to strike out into the unknown and strive to accomplish that which has never yet been achieved. Among the leaders in this movement to add to the sum of human knowledge and achievement, the engineers stand in the forefront. They have contributed at a thousand points to the comfort, safety and effectiveness of modern life and they are to contribute even more largely to the fuller life of the future. But just because they are doing this, and because the world has need of even greater help from them, does it become necessary for them in education to avail themselves of every influence which can be mustered to assist in the development of originality, to nurture the spirit of investigation, to arouse the creative power. The Society of the Sigma Xi may justly claim to be such an agency, and as such to have a rightful place in institutions for scientific education.



BY EDWARD H. WILLIAMS, JR., Founder of the Tau Beta Pi Association, and Sometime Professor of

Mining Engineering, Lehigh University.

Technical courses have always been handicapped by lack of time and opportunity. The illogical demand that men shall be considered graduated and fit for serious work before their frames have stopped growing, and while their muscles and brains are in a vealy condition, has shortened the time of study in both fitting school and college-turning the former into a period of cramming dependent upon strength of memory, rather than assimilation following digestion, and forcing the course of study in the latter to a mere skeleton of necessary studies, more or less garnished by others which may or may not be useful.

The technical graduate is becoming more and more like his European brother in being a specialist, good in one thing and worthless in all else. He is further handicapped by a lack of broad culture which furnishes abundant food for thought, and which permits him mental recreation outside of his peculiar trade. We are all so thoroughly convinced of the present narrowness of technical work that we are trying a number of schemes to add breadth and prevent the tendency to work into a rut that now obtains.

There is another fault in a hasty scheme of study, and one of such magnitude that it should be met and eliminated. I refer to the cultivation of originality, With the exception of the thesis and a few "original problems” there is little in the average course that fits a man for grappling with unusual conditions, so that the graduate has to learn his limitations at the expense of the public, and of his own reputation. Sometimes he never learns and is satisfied with being a creature of routine; now and then his mistakes obtain the magnitude of a calamity, if not a crime.

In almost every technical college there are one, or more, “engineering” societies. Some are given wholly to the government of undergraduates and, like all college affairs in such hands, are characterized by irregularity in strength, in interest, in value; others are shouldered by members of the faculty, who galvanize the moribund body into activity by periodic suppers. All are without continuity in interest, and in none of them is there sufficient attraction to cause the student returning after vacation to look forward to work therein with eagerness. In the majority of cases the work is mediocre and perfunctory.

The technical graduate is unfortunate in being generally without a knowledge of culture studies, and too frequently his command of his native tongue is so inadequate that his theses are painful to contemplate and his after-dinner speeches, a weariness and tribulation to the listeners. And yet we do not see that we have sent him into the world to call its attention to what are sometimes splendid abilities, and have handicapped him as effectually as if he were a deaf mute. How frequently a grand scheme has been turned down because its originator has been unable to fully explain it, or even to hold the attention of the powers that be. Technical graduates are too frequently handicapped by more than youth and inexperience.

The technical teacher is unfortunate in having to acquire at second-hand the information that keeps him abreast of his work. We can count on our fingers the men who are fortunate in having private laboratories and abundant leisure for research work. It requires a judicial and penetrating mind to properly value methods reported in periodicals, where the statements are full and the period during which the method has been employed is sufficient to expose the seamy sides. Too frequently, however, the reporter is handicapped by inexperience and takes for granted whatever statements fall from the mouths of interested parties. Too frequently we read only of the machine which is to do certain work, and can study its construction; but we never learn of its failure, wherever tried, until we have used it in class-work as an example.

Finally, we send out into the world with diplomas all who pass above a given standard, and generally certify that each one of them is as capable as the others, in that all the diplomas read alike. I remember congratulating a valedictorian twenty-three years ago with having his diploma. He thanked me and replied in his slow drawl, “B.'s got one too.” B. was an unfortunate who had failed in almost every examination, and by sheer force of memory had been able to scrape through with a passing mark. This started a train of thought as to the right of a college to send a man into the world as a civil engineer, for example, when he could never be trusted with any

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