However that may be, I hope to suc-ceed today merely in asking you a ques-tion, in such a way as to make it very clear,—not the answer,—just the ques-tion. Let me essay it.
IF—you should find yourself suddenly placed in utterly unfamiliar surround-ings, in the midst of strange but in-telligent people—and—Then Be It Asked—
IF—the things we have come to char-acterize as Modern Science and Industry were entirely absent from their civiliza-tion —and—
IF—our present natural resources everywhere abounded—and—
IF—you were not sent immediately to their sub-stitute for our insane asylum, but were given respectful hearing and active co-operation—and—
IF—a reasonable time were given for deliberation and study—
How much of today's scientific and industrial life could you work out and reproduce?
My query has no hidden meaning. It is simple and direct. A few words may be needed as to my premises.
In order to be as fair and as definite as possible, we may assume that this inquiry is to be directed toward you at the close of your college course—that you shall have received your bachelor's degree in whatever line of work you have chosen. But, after this contribution, the world will go with you no fur-ther. Its libraries, its records, its laboratories—its scientists, its engineers, its laborers,—its machines, its instruments, its refined materials—all of these are left behind as you are shot off into space, to land, we will say, on Mars—the scene of your perplexing task.
What could you do?
Nay, where would you begin?
We are willing to save you a hundred years by tell-ing you where all of the natural resources are. You need not hunt for coal, for iron ore, for clay. But, you must be able to recognize them, for they are not labeled. The trees, and rocks, and rivers lie before you. Even petroleum awaits your drill.
Ah yes,—but remember that you have no drill!
Electricity is known only to be feared, —as the thunderbolt. Waterfalls are viewed only as beauty spots of nature. The ores are merely stones of different weights and colors, useful as missiles perhaps to stop a fleeing rabit and pro-vide a meal.
The power of muscle is yours to use.
Fire? You may have that, if you'll consent to get it without matches, by simple friction.
To save you another century, we might agree to impose no long-distance transportation difficulties upon you in the collecting of your raw materials. Let us assume that the raw ma-terials are available within a reasonable radius. But here we stop with our concessions, and you are to begin with your constructive program.
Are you getting out of your college courses the knowledge and the power which, under such circum-stances, would make you an industrial creator? Do you understand the fundamentals of your subjects? Does your self-starter work? Are you self-reliant? Creative? Logical minded? Have you a practical imagination? Can you co-ordinate your theory and your practice?
If you could produce in this hypothetical case, then, be assured, you can make yourself felt even in stren-uous modern industry, where a rapidly expanding field is insistently demanding better and better laborers.
The American Institute of Electrical Engineers held a very interesting meeting the first Thursday following Christmas vacation. Mr. Philip Fink read a very in-teresting paper, which was followed by a discussion of the prospective Engineers' Council. The E.E.s showed, by a unanimous vote, that they were in favor of an Engineering Council.
Dean 0. J. Ferguson cleared up many points in regard to
the Student Section of the A. I. E. E.'s. Many advantages were pointed
out in a membership in that distinctive electrical engineering organization.
Chairman Cowley, who presided, gave a very in-teresting talk on "Electrolytic Condensers,"