National Geographic : 1950 May
Tile National Geographic Magazine In many other fields, too, the University is carrying on advanced research vital to the United States in war and peace. Dr. Sydney W. Britton. physiologist, is studying such aviation medicine problems as the stresses affecting heart, lungs, and brain when living beings oppose gravity-as in jet plane take-offs or sudden changes of direction. Also, what happens to a pilot when his pres surized cabin is shattered by gunfire at high altitudes, causing explosive decompression (page 574). Watching the tail of a tadpole with natural and polarized light. Dr. Carl C. Speidel, anat omist, has developed a technique to show the growth and development of living tissues. With motion pictures taken through a micro scope he can show the circulation of the blood stream, what happens to nerve and muscle fibers in the case of burns or electric shock, or the effect of poisons on living substance. Probably the highest man-made rotary speed in the world has been developed by physics professor Jesse W. Beams with his ultra-centri fuges. Spinning 50 million times a minute in a vacuum, one scientific top isolates substances that could not otherwise be separated from their impurities. With it viruses such as influenza and yellow fever can be concentrated and their molecular weights measured (page 559). In the chemical laboratories Dr. Allan T. Gwathmev "grows" large crystals of metal, and tests them for effects of corrosion, acids, and tarnishes. The McGuffey Reading Clinic, named for Prof. William Holmes McGuffey, author of the famous Readers (page 554), aims to diag nose and correct faults of reading. Another new clinic studies speech difficulties. The Extension Division brings education within the reach of rural, town, and mountain folk in some 50 adult-teaching centers through out the State. So in numberless ways the University is reaching beyond its "academical village" to benefit all the residents of the Commonwealth. Alderman Treasures Priceless Papers I visited the Alderman Memorial Library, built in the side of a hill. Although its front is only two stories high, I entered on its fourth floor! Famous for its collections of manu scripts, the library is named for Edwin Ander son Alderman, once president of the Univer sity. During his 27 years in office, he endeared himself to students and constantly upheld Jefferson's democratic ideas. Librarian Ruth Evelyn Bvrd showed me sheaves of drawings and specifications inked in Jefferson's own hand, and minutes of the Board of Visitors, sprinkled with signatures of Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe. When I expressed amazement that T was permitted to handle such priceless documents. she explained: "You're not touching the draw ings themselves. They're mounted between transparent sheets of cellulose acetate 'welded' together. "We have also Cornwallis's personal parole papers," Miss Byrd continued. "His capitu lation at Yorktown was called a 'parole' rather than a surrender. "Our collections of Charles Darwin and Cotton Mather are among the finest anywhere. Though Edgar Allan Poe was a student here. we have only one letter and a note that he signed as a student, borrowing from a local tailor. He outfitted himself elegantly be fore going home, but his unsympathetic foster father frowned on his extravagance and later threw him out of the house." Mr. Jefferson Compiles an Almanac But to me the outstanding work in the library was Thomas Jefferson's own annotated copy of his Notes on the State of Virginia, a veritable encyclopedia of his native State, then much larger in area than now. Indeed, this volume, written 168 years ago, is so interesting and accurate that it could serve as the basis for an article for the NATIONAL GEOGRAPIIIC MAGAZINE! The Notes describe the beauties of the Shenandoah Valley and the features of Nat ural Bridge; catalogue Virginia's rivers, hot springs, and caverns; discuss its climate and Indians; offer copious information on trees, fruits, and vegetables; classify animals, even to the comparative weights of gray, black, and red squirrels; and give the popular and Latin names of many a Virginia bird from goldfinch to turkey buzzard. Integral part of student life at Virginia is the honor system. From the day he enters, a man's pledged word is accepted as truth. The atmosphere of freedom resulting from in dividual and collective responsibility is Vir ginia's most cherished living heritage. Tradition runs strong. Charlottesville peo ple say President Colgate Whitehead Iarden. Jr., a former Governor of Virginia, helps Thomas Jefferson run the University. With roots in the past, the University faces the future. No one would have approved more than Mr. Jefferson himself.* * For additional articles on Virginia, see "NATIONA.u GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE Cumulative Index, 1899-1949."