THE ADDRESS OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE ROYAL MICROSCOPICAL SOCIETY

L. S. Beale
1881 Science  
might have been truly said that the optical instrument As it is usual on this occasion for the President to de-was in arivance of the methods of examination; when liver an address, I venture to offer for your conisideration our magnifying powers were higher than we couldI use .this evening some suggestions in connection with a sub_ without losing rather than gaining as regardis the definiject which in one or other of its aspects must needs be tion of delicate structure. As, however, time wvent
more » ... owever, time wvent on, ofgreat interest to every one who wishes to learn all he this was ch.ne.Nwadipovdmtoso x can about the wonderful changes which continually go amining tissues were discovered, and means adopted, by on in all living things, some being within and soine be-which excessively thin layers couldI be submitted to exyond the present limit of scientific inv'estigation ; and amination, and a powver of five or six hundIredI(diametres though I shiall express some views with whilch perhaps wats no longer suifficient to enable the observer to see all mauy here will niot agree, I trust my remarks may kindlie that it wvas almost certain Nv'as to be seen. These reinterest and encourage discussion, rather than offendl. marks more particulary app~ly to a class of researches Where wrong 1 shall be gladi to be corrected, but I claim uowhc1 asegedi1866,onrigthe perInission to speak freely w~hat I think, and liber(y to structure andarneetoftiutmt nev-i res in advance my conclusions, whiichi, though not at present various tissues and organs. Indeed, I feel qjuite sure that very popular, may yet be wvorthyof your considerattion. at anid btefore that time advance was actually retardled by the discouragement offered in some quarters, and the hy- AND LEYOND. pothetical objections raised to the use of very high p)owers, and more especially to the miethodis of prepairation of Increased skill and ever-exteni(ling knowledge may the tissues that -were necessary before the-y couild with enable the scientific wvorker not only to reach the utmost any advantage be submritted to examination. limit of iniquiry in hlis tim'~, but possibly to gratify that Althioughi at this time wve can wvork easily Nvitli a twelfth constant desire to see into the limitless region wvh ichIlies andI a twenty-fifth, the results, of ol)servation cond(ucted beyond the bounds of actual investigation. This is the with the aid of suich powers are still reg-Irded by somie hop-wvhich encourages the thoughtful observer; for wvho wvithi (oul)t an(I increduIL1it ;and if we (lrawv attention to wculd not consent to spendI years in patient research, if actuial struicture and( arrang'emient discovered by the higher by so doing he couldI succeed, as it wvere, in projecting p 6es hc ol o osi)yb eosrtdwt his intellect, were it ever so shiort a distance, beyonid the the aid of a miore mnoderate lenS, ouir statements may circumscribed regrioni in wvhich the senises can al'one oper-posbybemtwith insinuations that what wIas ad~anced ate? Failures anid disappointments may be-en(lure(l if as the r-esuilt of observation was, after aill, discovered by only the observer's minid be buoyed up) by the hope that the imagination only. ere his nerve-tissuies growv too old, anid begin to fail, the Our plresent limiit of observation in investigations on the longing of hiis intellect w~ill probably be gratified. To str-ucture and( actioni of the tissues of mian and(I the higher many, indeed. wvho are unable or uniwilling to look inito animials, in miy opinion, inicludles the use of magnifying the secrets of nature, such hopes and dlesires \vill seemI p owers of up)wardls of 000o (diameters. Objects c-onsidlerunintelligible or incredible. '[hiey w~ill be regarded asI ably' less than the hlundred-thousandth of an inichi in the idle tancies of an idile mind ; andI the airdent scientific dim terca be studied wvithi suiccess, but hoW meIL less inquirer w~ill be pitiedi or cond(emniedi as a weak, foolish than these (Iiimenisionis cannot, I thinik, be (letermiiined wvith person wvho, like a child, is unable to repress his morbid accuracy at this tinie i; for so mutchi depends uponi the curiositv to peer into the unseen, and( hiis craving to knio v chiaracter of the Ob)ject, ani(l a. number of smiall points of the unknowable ;-as onie (leserving to he classed wvith (letail as regards the miodle of examiniiationi. All wvho are simpletons and madmien, on the ground that it is absurd accuistomiedi to work wvith high magnifying powersare wveil to suppose that a really sensible person would spend his aware of the great advantages gained by somie very slight life in hardI work without remunerati n" in preference to jchange in the (legree of illuminating p)owver, the dilrection doinig that wvhich would enable hlim to gdtn wealth, and ani(l conicenitrationi of the rays of light, andI very slighit and to live at e ise, if not in luxury anid enjoyment. And cer-happy alterations in the focus, wvhich mlay mnomientarily tainly it miust beconfessed thiat in few departmients of reveal to thie mnind new facts of the greatest importance research is thiere lesis prospeCct of gaining by success such after, p)erhap)s, miany hiouris of careful but aliiost p)rofitleSss rewvardls as are generally sought for, than in the one to studyIN. which we are attached.~~~~~~B Lt in othier dlepartments of miicroscopical reserhou The microscopist, like the astronomer, is ever long~~~~~~~~~~ing presenit means of investigation enable those famla wit to get a littlet beyond the point at wvhich he has already the requisite methiods of inq(uiry to demionstrate chiaratcterarrived. Eachi new fact gainedI by research seems but t'o isties of struictuire far mnore intricate and mlinuLte thin the indicate the existence of ni,ore and more iml)ortant thinigs remarks juist imadle wouldl lead yOuI to infer. Various beyond. Limit is reached and then surmnounted, but moiiain nimrio essadi nesn miedia soon a newv lim-it seemis to rise from the mnists in the disi,have greatly contribUted to advance; ouir kniowlhdge of tance, o~vard~vhic the~orker s impeled bynew struicture and actioni in the lower formis of life; andthr hopes and dIksires. It is this never halting progress is every reaison to thinik that, ats timne goes oni, meithiods of which disting-uishes scientitic fromi every othetr kindi of obseraiow~ill be still iml)roved and new meithiodls dlisinquiry. anid particularly' iiicroscopicail investigation, for covered, and that in conisequtenice concIlusioni.s already arit can niev'er be cnimplzte I. It (1l-als with the Illimitab)le. rived zit wIll have to be gyreatly imodlitiedi or cintirelv The boundaries of to-day' are found to have vanished to-chianged. Not only so, but by the aidi of po~ah miorrow, anidI the eyes andi und(erstantdinig beg,in to pene-thingi S (limily seeni o the eve may be very dist,n i n trate into re4ions wvhichi but a short tim'e bettore hail been corriectly, delineated, and wvith a l)erfection, Of aICCLuate dleconsidered far beyonld the rang-e of possible inivestigatail wvhich a few years ago we shiouild niot hav1\e stij)pos5td tioil.~~~~~~~~~~~~t o be l)ossil)le. Inl all Iprobab)ilitv, the app)llicati(i o po He only who was (luite ignorant of the many andI great tograph toivsiain p iuesrcua details iml)rovements constantly b)einlg made in our methodis of~vIl be\v idfrbyndayhn yet reachd, 0iltough research, and in the instruments reqjuiredI in investigation, it is really wonderfullhow miuch hias been achie%ved UP to would think of fixinig any limit to the! ad(vance of mnicrosthis timie copical inquiry. Tne recordis of the work of this Soci~t srgrsdrc bevto,sihteado very high contain many examples of progress towards anti advance mgiynpoesuonamltsus,adarent of
doi:10.1126/science.os-2.53.294 pmid:17819122 fatcat:q5mwbx57ordszj2feblg63x7ny