Frederick Soddy.

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Chemistry at least would have been better off, if it had
been left as it was, in spite of all the wealth from the
Government and the Carnegie Trust, which has since
come to the coffers of the University, is a sufficient indict-
ment of the present system.

Enough has, perhaps, been said to show that some
inquiry not only into the Carnegie Trust, but also
into the manner the financial system of the Scottish
Universities is operating, is called for. It is not mainly
a question of money. Money is merely the measure.
Here is a department, original investigation in which, it
has been shown, is vital to the future prosperity of the
country. It supports itself by hard teaching. It is stated
in the published accounts to receive sums which it in fact
does not receive, and which if it did receive would enable
the teaching staff to be increased and some time allowed
for research. It is idle for any public or private benefactor
to give money for a specific object, such as the improve-
ment and extension of the opportunities of scientific
research, until the system is overhauled which makes it
possible for moneys so given to be diverted.

The University fees go almost wholly into the one
" General Fund " created by the Act of 1889. The depart-
mental expenses are borne by grants from this fund, from


the public money provided by the Exchequer, and by the
Carnegie Trust. Hitherto the giving of a grant 'to a
department has often meant merely the diminution of its
grant from the General Fund. If the departments are all
stereotyped as regards the amount of tuition performed,
it is obvious that the simultaneous gift of public money
and the withdrawal of the same amount of fees would not
benefit the department in the slightest, nor lessen its
burden of tuition. But if, as is the case with a subject
like Chemistry, the fees earned and burden of tuition, of
which they are to some extent the measure, are rapidly
growing relatively to the rest of the University, each year
must increase its burden and lessen its power of original
production, its increased earnings all the time going to
make up corresponding losses of fees in other departments.
This has got to the point with the Chemistry Department
of Aberdeen that it has actually become self-supporting,
though nominally receiving large grants of public money.
It would be better off if it had been left as it was before
1889 m possession of its own earnings, and without the
sort of assistance it receives from the Carnegie Trust and
the Government. Until this matter is looked into, it is
useless for the Chancellor of the Exchequer or the
Carnegie Trust to grant further moneys to the universities
if their object is to foster those departments which are
becoming of increasing national importance, and for which
there is growing up an increasing demand.



THE Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland was
founded by Mr Andrew Carnegie in 1901, with a gift
of two million pounds. One-half of the annual income
from this fund has to be devoted to the payment of
students' fees in Scottish Universities, and the other half
is to be applied " towards the improvement and expansion
of the Universities of Scotland, in the Faculties of Science
and Medicine ; also for improving and extending the
opportunities for scientific study and research, and for
increasing the facilities for acquiring a knowledge of
History, Economics, English Literature, and Modern
Languages, and such other subjects cognate to a technical
and commercial education as can be brought within the
scope of the University curriculum."

The annual income of the Trust has amounted in the
past to rather more than 100,000; and after defraying
the expenses of administration there has been left about
99,000 as the net revenue available for distribution under
the two main heads of the scheme, or 49,500 for the
part of it referred to above. In the future a very
appreciable increase of revenue is to be anticipated.

In the article contributed to Science Progress for

January 1917, Prof. F. Soddy, Professor of Chemistry in

the University of Aberdeen, analysed the operations of

1 Published in the Journal of the British Science Guild, December




the Trust, particularly as regards the promotion of scientific
study and research. Prof. Soddy pointed out that, by
a reasonable interpretation of the Trust Deed, the primary
purpose of the income from one-half of Mr Carnegie's
gift was the encouragement of scientific study and
research, including medicine, and that history and other
subjects cognate to a commercial and technical education
were to be regarded as ancillary beneficiaries ; while the
other subjects of a classical education were entirely
excluded from participating in the fund. He showed,
however, that in the case of the University of Aberdeen
only 23 per cent, of the grants made had been allocated
to the primary object, while 46 per cent, had been devoted
to the ancillary object, and 19 per cent, to the objects
which, in so far as they are not illegitimate, are ancillary.
Up to September 1913, the Universities of Edinburgh
and Glasgow had each received more than 60 per cent,
of the total sums for the primary purpose of the fund,
but the quinquennial distribution since then had been
allocated to buildings chiefly for Arts accommodation,
as well as for departments of science. As regards St
Andrews and Dundee, the position of the allocation of
funds in the main has been between that of Dundee on
the one hand and Edinburgh on the other. Of the total
amount spent by the Trustees up to the end of September
1915, about 14 per cent, has been expended on a research
scheme independently of the grants made to the Uni-
versities. This has been spent mainly in providing
Research Scholarships and Fellowships, and grants for
research instruments objects excellent in themselves,
but more or less preliminary to the fostering of research.
The main point put forward by Professor Soddy is that
the funds of the Trust are not in general being applied
to the specific purposes for which they were intended,
and are used for general University needs, and to provide
buildings and endowments for Arts subjects, instead of
the promotion of scientific study and research. In support
of this contention, definite facts were stated which seemed


to demand an equally definite answer if they are con-
tested. The Guild therefore sent Professor Soddy's
article to the principals and representative professors of
scientific subjects in the Scottish Universities, and asked
for an expression of opinion on the matter. Nine replies
were received, but no attempt was made by any of the
correspondents to refute the particulars given by Professor
Soddy as regards the allocation of the amounts received
from the Fund. The general opinion expressed was of
a laissex-faire kind, with the addition of the following
individual views : (i) That the Board of Trustees should
consist much more largely of men who are professionally
and actively engaged in scientific work and have had
experience of research; (2) that commercial education
on a large scale should be taken in hand by the Trustees ;
(3) that a case had been made out for careful investiga-
tion, and that the matter should be considered by the
British Science Guild to see what action, if any, is
justifiable and practicable.

As the chief object of the British Science Guild is
to safeguard the interests of science and promote the
application of scientific knowledge to national welfare
generally, the matter is one to which the Guild is bound
to give attention. After careful consideration of the
material placed before it, the Guild has come to the con-
clusion that Professor Soddy's serious charges should
not be left unanswered, and that the diversion of the
funds from their main purpose, as defined by Clause A
of the Trust Constitution, and their use to strengthen
the general finances of the Scottish Universities, deserve
the attention of those to whom has been entrusted the
future of science in national reconstruction.

The Guild is glad to note that three well-known men
of science Sir J. J. Thomson, O.M., President of the
Royal Society; Sir David Prain, F.R.S., Director of the
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew ; and Sir George Beilby,
F.R.S. were appointed at the last Annual Meeting of
the Trust to fill the vacancies on the Board of Trustees,


thus increasing the number of scientific representatives
from none to three. 1 Some adjustments in favour of
scientific study and research may therefore be expected ;
but the Guild is of the opinion that the Trustees should
consist chiefly of representatives of the scientific and
other interests involved in proper proportions to ensure
that the original intentions of the founder of the Trust
are carried out justly.

With regard to the commercial interests, it seems
probable that their representatives have been thoroughly
awakened by the war to the necessity for better education.
It is desirable, however, that these interests should not
be satisfied at the expense of, but in addition to, those
of science ; and for this reason the British Science Guild,
believing that Mr Carnegie's intentions admit of no
dispute, desires to support Professor Soddy's claims that
future allocation of the Trust Funds should be made
more liberally, specifically, and inalienably for purposes
of scientific study and research than has been the
practice hitherto.

1 See footnote, p. 212.

2 G



IN the December 1917 number of the Journal was
printed a Report of a Special Committee of the Guild on
an article by Prof. F. Soddy, F.R.S., dealing with the
Carnegie Trust and Scientific Research.

This report was forwarded to the Board of Trustees,
and the following excerpt from the Minutes of a meeting
of the Board, 7th January 1918, was communicated to the
Guild in reply :

" A letter from the Executive Committee of the British
Science Guild, dated 6th November 1917, as also the
' Report of the Special Committee of the Guild appointed
to consider the whole matter of the Financial Operations
of the Carnegie Trust as set forth by Prof. Soddy, F.R.S.,
in his article published in Science Progress for January
1917,' were fully considered.

" In the letter and Report criticisms of the application
made by the Trustees of the half of the Trust Income
under Head A. are put forward. These criticisms may be
divided under two heads, and it was resolved to reply for
the information of the Guild as follows :

" (i) As to the first, the Executive Committee altogether
decline to admit the contention that the purposes to which
one-half of the Income of the Trust falls to be applied can

1 Twelfth Annual Report of the Executive Committee of the
British Science Guild, July 1918.



be assorted into ' primary ' and ' ancillary.' The direction
in the Trust Deed as to the application of the half of the
Income under Head A. is quoted in the Report of the
Special Committee of the Guild ; and it only requires to
be read with care to show that the idea of any distribution
between subjects to be favoured and subjects to be
subordinated is wholly without warrant The Executive
Committee regret that the Special Committee of the Guild
commit themselves to the statement that there has been a
' diversion of the funds from their main purpose.' The
Executive Committee can see no justification for this

"(2) The other criticism is to the effect that the
Trustees are not men who are professionally and actively
engaged in scientific work, or have had experience of
research. The Guild may be reminded that the members
of the Trust were chosen by Mr Carnegie himself; and it
is therefore obvious that they are men whom he considered
capable of interpreting his wishes. In so far as vacancies
in the Trust have occurred, consequent on deaths among
the Trustees, it is the fact that these have been for the
most part supplied by the appointment of men eminent in
various branches of Science."

On the 28th February 1918, in reply to this, the follow-
ing Resolution was sent to the Board of Trustees by the
Guild :

" The Executive Committee of the British Science
Guild notes with regret that the Excerpt from the Minutes
of the Executive Committee of the Carnegie Trust on the
;th January 1918, shews some misapprehension, which
need not be pursued at the present time, of the position
of the Guild in putting before Mr Carnegie's Trust the
communication from Prof. F. Soddy. The Guild, however,
cannot accept the views of the Carnegie Trustees indicated
in the Minute which seem to involve self-imposed restric-
tions on the exercise of their powers and discretion, with
respect to the promotion of scientific education."

The following is a further communication from Prof. F.


Soddy, regarding the " Excerpt " from the Minutes of the
Board of Trustees :

Remarks by Professor Soddy on the Minute of the Executive
Committee of Carnegie Trust for the Universities of
Scotland, Jth January 1918, communicated to the
British Science Guild.

I merely suggested as a reasonable interpretation of
the Trust Deed of Mr Carnegie that the subjects included
could be divided into primary and legitimate ancillary,
those not included being for the purpose termed illegitimate.
The interpretation may or may not be capable of strict
defence. By concentrating on this single point the
Executive Committee of the Trust seek to evade the
real criticism, fairly summed up and endorsed by the
British Science Guild.

Substantial and undenied examples were brought
forward of just the same neglect of, contempt for, and
unfair discrimination against, science, which, operating
during the past century mainly through educational
channels, have now brought about the position of
national insecurity and peril, manifest to all, and which
the founder of the Trust himself stigmatised in the
heartiest manner in 1906.

In an address entitled " Modern Needs in Universities,"
delivered at the opening of the new Carnegie buildings of
the Natural Philosophy and Engineering Departments of
the University of Edinburgh (Nature, 1906, 74, 648),
Mr Carnegie, after referring to the millions being devoted to
science and practical studies and the progressive! influences
at work in the universities of America and Canada and of
the five principal English cities, continued :

" Scotland has to keep marching on. The progress of
scientific departments in British Universities, considerable
as it has recently been, of which the schools we are about
to open here to-day are gratifying evidence, yet has not
kept pace with the startling progress of science itself and


the wonderful discoveries that threaten to revolutionise
human conceptions."

" The older branches of learning in our Universities
may well welcome the newer branch, cap in hand, not only
as the foundation of material progress, but also as one of
the very highest agencies in the imaginative domain."

" This mighty force of our day science has hitherto
been the Cinderella of the sisterhood of knowledge, but
the Prince has appeared at last and taken her by the
hand. It is now the turn of the elder sisters to greet the
once neglected princess. She will more than justify the
millions that are being showered upon her in most
progressive lands. Thus has the University developed
to the present all-embracing type through the successive
reigns of scholasticism, theology, and ancient classics,
always behind the age, conservative in the highest degree.
Science has arisen and established her claim to equality.
We have long had the Republic of Letters ; we now hail
the Republic of Knowledge."

These quotations do not appear to admit of much
doubt as to what the founder's own view of the purpose of
his benefaction was. They are refreshingly clear and
frank, with a point capable even of penetrating the admit-
nothing, dispute-everything defence which the advocate
unable to face facts invariably puts up. It is an especially
curious commentary on the cry that it is now the turn of
Arts, heard at the last quinquennial distribution, and which,
in the University of Aberdeen, has been the interpretation
of the gift from the beginning, that what Mr Carnegie
actually said was : " It is now the turn of the elder sisters
to greet the once neglected princess."

If the legal instrument, which Mr Carnegie signed to
give effect to his intentions, were being administered by
a body of men of like mind to himself, in a broad and
sympathetic spirit, without any desire to strain it beyond
its natural interpretation and twist it to serve ends not
intended, legal questions as to its exact meaning could
scarcely arise.

But if, unfortunately, at any time that should not be


the case, and it should become necessary to consider the
deed as an instrument to ensure that the purposes of
the founder, whatever they were, shall be permanently
respected without regard to the outlook and sympathies of
those administering it, it will be found to be curiously
impotent. Although, among the intentions of the founder
as set forth in the preamble of the Trust Deed, only two
objects are referred to, the encouragement of scientific
study and research and the payment of students' fees, in
the operative part, which embraces the Trust Constitution,
a new and totally distinct purpose, technical and com-
mercial education, not mentioned in the preamble, is
added on to share with scientific study and research,
without any specific instruction of the apportionment of
the funds for each, this being left to the discretion of the
Trustees, the share of the payment of fees purpose alone
being strictly defined. So that by concentrating entirely
on the new purpose, scientific study and research could be
effectively excluded and the first of the two intentions
of the founder frustrated. Whether, however, the Trustees
could justify doing this on a narrow construction of the
deed or not, no reasonable beings could claim that they
were thereby carrying out the declared intentions of the
founder, as set forth in the Trust Deed. Apart, therefore,
from a second Mr Carnegie, willing to take the deed into
Court to get it interpreted, the question of the relative
share of the different objects set forth must remain more
or less open.

Admitting this, and allowing to the Trustees the most
absolute power of discretion, it is still extremely difficult
to see how the current uses to which the moneys are being
put can be defended. The clause to which the Executive
Committee refer does not exactingly or convincingly
convey the particular construction which they put upon it,
and therefore had better be re-quoted :

" One-half of the net annual income shall be applied
towards the improvement and expansion of the Univer-
sities of Scotland, in the Faculties of Science and


Medicine ; also for improving and extending the oppor-
tunities for scientific study and research, and for increas-
ing the facilities for acquiring a knowledge of History,
Economics, English Literature, and Modern Languages, and
such other subjects cognate to a technical or commercial
education as can be brought within the scope of the
University curriculum. . . ."

The word " other " shows that the specified Arts subjects
are included as cognate to a technical or commercial
education, but the Faculties of Science and Medicine, and
scientific study and research, participate on their own
merits independently, and not as subserving or ministering
to a technical or commercial education. It is recognised
by the clause that technical or commercial education
can only to a limited extent be brought within the
scope of the present university curriculum. That it is
technical and commercial education rather than the
subjects of the present university curriculum that are to be
benefited is further shown by the concluding paragraph
of Clause B, which deals primarily with the payment of
students' fees :

" In the case of Schools or Institutions in Scotland
established to provide Technical or Commercial Educa-
tion, the Committee may recognise classes which, though
outside the present range of the university curriculum,
can be accepted as doing work of a University level,
and may allow them and the students thereof to participate
under both A and B to such an extent as the Committee
may from time to time determine."

It is thus natural to inquire in the cases to which I
directed attention in which scientific and medical studies
had not received a due share of the moneys, whether
technical or commercial education has received it. It
is only necessary to reiterate a specific instance. In the
University of Aberdeen the scientific and medical subjects
Chemistry, Inorganic, Organic, Physical, Agricultural,
Physiological, and Technological; Physics, Mathematical
and Experimental ; Mathematics ; Astronomy ; Engineer-


ing, Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, and Marine ; Geology ;
Botany ; Physiology ; Pathology ; Bacteriology ; Anatomy ;
Embryology ; and the subjects of Medicine and Surgery
in their numerous sub-divisions received one endowment
for a lectureship in Geology. Whereas in Arts subjects
endowments were given for History and Archaeology,
Political Economy, French, German, Education and
Constitutional Law and History, without regard to whether
or not these subjects were taught with reference to the
requirements of technical or commercial education.

If this had been done genuinely in the interests of
technical or commercial education, and Aberdeen in
comparison with the other university centres had in this
respect a specially urgent and pressing need, it would
be only the discretion of the Trustees that was in dispute ;
but it was not. It is true that since the war the com-
mercial community have realised the need of higher
commercial education on a university level. These
endowments were allocated long before the war, and
the best proof that the needs of commercial education
were not the consideration at the time of the allocation
is that they are now being considered, and a Faculty of
Commerce is in process of being brought into existence.

The powers of the Trustees in law may be so great
as to enable them to over-ride the claims of both science
and technical or commercial education, in order to elevate
Arts subjects that can in any way be regarded as cognate
to the latter. But, if so, it would be sanguine to expect
that anyone again will provide funds for the improvement
and extension of the opportunities for scientific study
and research in the universities of Scotland or in the
efficacy of the law to accomplish the object when the
funds are provided.

The question being whether the Trust as constituted
has in point of fact fulfilled the wishes and intentions of
the founder, the second head of the Executive Committee's
reply hardly calls for comment, except in so far as? it
raises a point of interest. At the date of the minute-


7th January 1918 there were eight original nominated
Trustees, and five subsequently appointed. The Rt Hon.
H. H. Asquith was appointed in 1909, W. J. Dundas,
Esq., in 1914, the only three scientific members among
the nominated Trustees having been appointed in 1917.
There is still one vacancy, caused by the death of Lord
Kinnear at the end of 1917, and when this has been
filled up, it is hoped that the statement made to the
effect that the vacancies have for the most part been
filled by the appointment of men eminent in various
branches of science may continue to be true.


9M February 1918.


" The papers announce that at the Annual Meeting of
the Carnegie Trust held on 2Oth February 1918, the
vacancy above referred to was filled by the appointment
of Lord Sands, so that the British Science Guild will draw
its own conclusion as to this misleading statement."

F. S.







Fourth Edition, Revised and ILnlarged.
With Illustrations.

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Online LibraryFrederick SoddyScience and life: Aberdeen addresses → online text (page 17 of 18)