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**Landmarks of Tompkins County, New York**

by John H. Selkreg, 1894; D. Mason & Co., Publisher

This department was under the wise direction of Professor Evan Wilhelm Characteristic of his instruction or policy were: the remarkable power of concentration with which he would follow others work without using his eyes, his uniform preference for oral above written examinations, and his habit of taking a calculus class over the same ground with two successive authors for the sake of the cross-light. With Professor The requirement of quadratics for admission was made in Professor From 1873-4 on, the department has been administered, first by Professor The work of the department to-day, like the earlier work out of which it has grown, contemplates three great uses: 1. To help the average student in developing certain powers and habits which every good citizen and good thinker requires, namely of sustained, exact, candid independent reckoning, even when the subject-matter is general or abstract; of conscientiously scrutinizing a plausible argument, both in detail and in its general course; of imagination, to grasp as a whole a complex concept or scheme of thought; of inventiveness as to methods and possible relations; of applying theory to practical problems; of precision and clearness in stating one's own convictions and the grounds of them. 2. For those who wish to make pure and applied mathematics a specialty, to give some outlook over its different fields; and to fit these students for teaching, or for home reading and investigation, or for study at European universities. 3. To meet the needs of students in various branches of engineering, physics, and sociology. The endeavor is not usually to cover all the ground in a given field, but to master the fundamental difficulties of concept and method, and secure whatever peculiar culture this implies, relying more upon insight and origination than upon memory, and making all necessary memory-work as philosophical as may be. Attention is also given to the criticism of methods and their motives, methods suggested by general considerations being preferred; to the concrete interpretation of important steps as well as of results; and to the separation of symbols and their laws from the particular subject-matter, so that either may be studied separately. Whether instruction be given by text-books with recitations and problem-working, by written exercises and examinations, or by lecture, seminary and directed reading, the class are regarded rather as the teacher's fellow-students than as mere recipients of instruction. Supplementary to the usual college curriculum of pure mathematics, including calculus, electives are at present offered in geometric, algebraic and trigonometric problems, determinants and theory of equations, probabilities and least squares, modern analytic and synthetic geometry, advanced calculus, differentiated equations, finite differences, quantics, function-theory, theory oŁ numbers, and mathematical essays meant partly as studies of style; also, in descriptive and dynamic astronomy, rational mechanics, potential theory and special harmonics, and the mathematical theories of fluid motion as applied to meteorology, and of sound, light and electricity. There is also a seminary for the discussion of fundamental methods in algebra; one in mathematical pedagogy, to consider ideals and methods in mathematical study and writing as well as in teaching; one for application of mathematics to economic and social problems; and one, held in connection with the department of chemistry beginning with 1894-5, for the mathematical study of physical chemistry. The number taking these various electives as undergraduate, graduate or special students has about kept pace with the general growth of the university; though the splendidly equipped technical courses on the one hand and the admirable scientific and humanistic work done here on the other hand, offer strong counter attractions. For, in the community at large, mathematics is still thought of merely as a good logical drill, and a key to the physical sciences with their applications. One great mission of the mathematical department here, as elsewhere, is to show that in healthily developing the geometric and philosophic imagination; in awakening an intelligent interest in the grand systems of worlds amid which our own is placed, as well as a sense of the beauty of purely intellectual relations; in adding definiteness to certain metaphysical concepts; and in that correlation of the abstract with the concrete and with the certain which will help to cure the prevalent distrust of ideals, mathematical studies have peculiar educational and even religious values that could ill be spared. In the equipment of the department are now many of Brill's beautiful and useful models, and others are being added. The University Library has some thousands of books on astronomy and pure and applied mathematics, besides most of the chief American, English, French and German journals, and the transactions of many scientific societies. A steady growth is assured by the Sage Library fund, so that in time the collection of mathematical classics and sources will have become reasonably complete, thus facilitating kinds of work that were impossible in the university's earlier days. 1 Proceedings of University Convocation 1870.
The Department of Physics was one of those organized at the opening of the university. The first incumbent was Professor Eli W. The equipment of the department during all the earlier years of the university was of a meager description, being in the main upon a par with that which might have been found in most of the smaller colleges of the country during that period of our educational development. There were a few noble pieces of illustrative apparatus for lecture room purposes, which had been purchased by President In 1881, the Board of Trustees decided to build a physical and chemical laboratory combined. Franklin Hall was the result of that action. To the department of physics the lower floors and basement of this large four-storied building of brown sandstone were assigned, and a considerable sum of money was appropriated for the purchase of a suitable equipment. Professor |

**History of Cornell - Chapter XV**

Carl Hommel donated this material and transcribed into digital format.

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