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thing which involved shop work pure and simple. It might be absolutely necessary for a mechanical engineer, although he did not believe it, but he knew it was not necessary for the civil engineer. He doubted very much whether it was advisable to confine mechanical students to that class of work, once more referring to the remark of Prof. Swain as a
for that opinion.
PROFESSOR LANZA said that he thought he had made his position plain in the paper. Both the speakers seemed to have assumed that he felt that the word investigation always invoved laboratory work. He did not believe he had made any such statement, and he did not wish to be understood that way.
PROFESSOR DEVOLSON WOOD said this was a subject which had been under consideration in some degree in the Stevens Institute. He supposed they felt like most other institutions, free to do as they pleased, not trammelled by precedents, not following old courses and old systems and old methods because they are such, and from time to time the question of graduating theses had been raised. It had been argued by those who wished to do away with them entirely, that they seemed to be a waste of time; that young men could not be expected to do finished work; that they spent a great deal of time in hunting about to get a subject, and that was a waste of time; that something could be substituted that would be much better, for instance, a course of lectures, or divide the classes up into small sections and arrange work for those sections especially for their benefit. He would not undertake to bring forward all the arguments made on that side. On the other side it did not seem to be necessary to argue much, for when the question was put to the alumni-and it was before them that the discussion was made—the majority was so very large in favor of the thesis that argument was unnecessary. He had tried to keep watch of the subject and to see if some plan or some more satisfactory system of arranging the last term's work could be made. But instead of the thesis practice weakening, it seemed to grow stronger. In the Stevens Institute they gave to the senior class from about the first of April until the first of June, and extended that if necessary to the middle of June, to write, and report, and pass an examination upon a thesis. They were left largely free to choose the subjects. Perhaps one reason why, with many of the professors, the thesis held as strongly as it did, was due to the fact that they were selfish. Many professors from time to time have subjects which they would like to have investigated, and by making these subjects known to the students they are taken from time to time, and in such cases they report in connection with the professor. They were not bound in that case as to whether they would assist them or not, or whether they would compel them to abandon or to take subjects, though he thought they would exclude those which were thought to be too heavy for them to undertake in the time allotted. It was not wise to take a subject that required several years to properly investigate and spend only a few weeks upon it. They tried to avoid that. If the young men who undertake these subjects desire time beyond the regular term time, they, of course, were permitted to have it. If they showed diligence in the work upon their subjects up to the time of commencement, they were allowed to graduate the same as if they had completed their subjects, with the understanding that they were to complete them. In a few cases they had made valuable investigations, requiring weeks beyond commencement day. The character and scope of the subjects covered a wide field. Some subjects require investigation in the laboratory, some require investigation in the library, some require a great deal of mathematical work. He had had a great deal of work done in that particular line, but they had not formulated the matter as definitely, perhaps, as was advisable, as to what subjects were admissible. But the one thing which someone had already mentioned was certainly of importance, and that was that the young man should take one subject and work at and around, and upon, and under and through that one subject. That one feature was certainly important, but, aside from that, even an occasional review, a review in civil engineering and in many cases in mechanical engineering, might be made exceedingly valuable. It was not necessary that there should be laboratory work in order to make a commendable thesis.
PROFESSOR LANZA in closing said that he did not know that he had anything to say, except that he did not intend to convey the idea that investigation in the laboratory was invariably necessary. He did say, however, that the student should carry on investigation, whether in the laboratory or in literature or otherwise, and that applied to any kind of an engineer. PROCEEDINGS