Sayfadaki görseller
PDF
ePub

less time than might be supposed. A brief course of say a dozen exercises might well be arranged to cover the ground and give the student a firm foundation upon which to base subsequent reading and study. Such a course ought to form a part of the instruction given in every college of civil engineering. This will not transform the engineer into a biologist nor is this result to be expected or desired. It ought, however, to teach him to look at sanitary problems from the right point of view; to put him, as it were, in the right mental attitude ; to enable him to think in biological terms. This attitude of the mind which will be unconsciously forced upon him cannot fail to be of value not only to himself, but to the community.

But some one says “What chance is there for a course in biology when the curriculum is already full to overcrowding? What is there in the present list of studies that can be omitted or even abbreviated?” This is no doubt a serious question, one which is continually arising, and which must ever occur as long as the world advances. The writer does not feel called upon to solve it, nor to argue the relative merits of the different sanitary studies in an ideal course of civil engineering. He simply wishes to emphasize the fact that the study of biology should have its place, and should on no account be omitted. The study of principles must take precedence over the study of facts. The knowledge of general laws is higher and of more importance than the knowledge of rules. Are not the principles of sanitary science important to us all ? Who needs to understand them more than the civil engineer?

In most classes of engineering students there will be found a few men (always a limited number however) who intend to devote their attention solely to sanitary matters, or as we say, to sanitary engineering. These men need a more particular knowledge of the microorganisms than do those going into general practice, and a more extended course than the one referred to must be provided. In this course the student should be taught the history of sanitary biology, both as a means of broadening his education and as illustrating various solutions of problems which he is likely to meet. He should be made to understand the ordinary

methods of bacteria culture and the characteristics of the bacteria commonly found in water and sewage, and the most important pathogenic forms. Moreover he should have some knowledge of the infectious diseases from the medical standpoint. He should understand the use of the microscope and become experienced in its manipulation. He should become acquainted with the new methods of microscopical examination and be able to identify the common organisms found in drinking water and the tastes and odors which they produce. He should be taught to study the cause of their growth and the effect of light, heat and aeration. This instruction cannot be give by a lecture course alone. To be of real value the lectures must be supplemented by actual work in the laboratory where the organisms may be seen face to face. Moreover in the laboratory the student has opportunities for original investigations and he should be encouraged to undertake them, for the field of sanitary engineering offers some of the most interesting problems of modern science.

As was said above of the general civil engineering students, so we may say of the men taking a sanitary option, that they need not by reason of this study of biology become biologists. The services of specialists in this department of science will always be needed, men who devote their whole attention to the organisms themselves, their habits, their modes of life and the conditions favorable or prejudicial to their growth. By laboratory experiment they must learn to control the micro-organisms and make them the servants rather than the masters of mankind.

In conclusion I desire to say that, while I emphasize the importance of the study of biology by civil engineers, I do not wish to underrate the value of chemistry or to overlook the part which that noble science has played and will long continue to play. Chemistry is just as valuable to the engineer as biology. The two sciences must go together hand in hand. The future triumphs in sanitary engineering, are to be achieved by engineer, chemist and biologist working together. The coming man in sanitary engineering is he who, thoroughly versed and experienced in engineering, has also the ability to use the knowledge of the chemist and the biologist.

DISCUSSION.

PROFESSOR ROBERT FLETCHER thought that all would agree that this is a subject of prime importance to the civil engineer. It is doubtless realized that one of the notable expansions of the course of civil engineering within the last five years even, has been in this direction, and teachers interested in the general subject of civil engineering have probably given it some attention, and have called the attention of students to the results of the researches of the Massachusetts State Board of Health and of those of the Franklands, and others in Europe. There should be general agreement upon this point, and it would appear that it is in this direction especially that the enlargement of the scope of civil engineering education may well proceed, certainly as one important development.

PROFESSOR G. W. BISSELL wished to state in this connection that his colleague, the Professor of Civil Engineering, gives to his seniors a course of lectures on sanitary engineering. It is a course of about

a thirty lectures, given in the first term of the senior year, in which, in addition to a few lectures on sanitary plumbing and mechanical details connected therewith, a large number of lectures are given upon the subject of the purification of sewage and of drinking water supplies, according to the most approved methods, and describing in connection therewith, tests which must be applied for the detection of impure water and the mechanical expedients to be used in connection with the correction of impurities. At present no biological laboratory work is done in this connection.

AN EXPERIMENT IN THE CONDUCT OF FIELD

PRACTICE.

BY FRANK 0. MARVIN, Professor of Civil Engineering, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kan.

The writer does not claim any special originality for the plan or methods of work here outlined, but has thought that it might be well to state some of his experience, desiring to contribute his mite in return for the many hints received at former meetings of this society.

For several years the engineers' field work at the University of Kansas was confined to term time. The desultory practice of a few hours at a time in the midst of other routine work, even when supplemented by a half day on Saturdays, did not secure satisfactory results. Three years ago, a requirement of one month's continuous summer field work was added to the course in civil engineering for each of the three lower years, Freshman, Sophomore and Junior.

So far, the time has been given to topographical work largely, though a little railroad work has been done, and one party for one season spent the time on a line of precise levels. The students were divided into parties of three each, a Freshman for rodman, a Sophomore for instrument man, a Junior being put in charge, or rather this was the plan. As it has worked out, some parties have been in the charge of Sophomores or Seniors. Each party has been given some certain square mile of which it was to make a full topographic survey on the basis of five foot

( 317 )

« ÖncekiDevam »