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apr 22, 1881 - WBR resigns again

Description:

It must
be remembered that science puts oratory to its highest test ;
it is a field in which reason is supreme, and where the speaker
is not at liberty to throw logic to the winds, and make a fiery
appeal to the feelings and passions of listeners. The scientific
orator must address intelligent men, habituated to think for
themselves, on the alert against tricks that carry the imagi-
nation, while the speaker himself is kept under the close re-
straints of fact. To be able to captivate and enchain an audi-
ence in the pure work of exposition, to fascinate in teaching,
is a triumph of oratorical ability. Prof. Rogers was marked
by the possession of this rare gift, and before his classes in
college, whether treating of rocks, physical forces, or rigid



4 i 8 PIONEERS OF SCIENCE IN AMERICA.

principles of mathematics, he was always able to kindle the
enthusiasm of the students, and make the most vivid and last-
ing impressions upon their minds.




Prof. Rogers was a member of all the prominent scientific
societies in the United States, and had been an officer in many
of them. He was chairman of the Association of American
Geologists and Naturalists in 1845, and again in 1847, when
it was expanded into the American Association for the Ad-
vancement of Science, at the first meeting of which he pre-
sided until it was fully organized. He was also elected presi-
dent of the American Association for its meeting in 1876, and
was a corresponding member of the British Association. He
was corresponding secretary of the American Academy of
Arts and Sciences from 1863 to 1869. After taking up his
residence in Boston he joined the Thursday Evening Scientific
Club, of that city, and was its president for a number of
years. When Joseph Henry died in 1878, Prof. Rogers was
elected to succeed him as President of the National Academy
of Science. He was active in founding the American Social
Science Association, and was its first president.

Among the honours paid to him was the degree of LL. D.
from Harvard College in 1866. In the following year he was
appointed commissioner to represent the State of Massachu-
setts at the Paris Exposition, and spent the summer at the
French capital.

But this inventory of the life work of Prof. Rogers, exten-
sive and interesting as it is, leaves out a powerful element of
the influence he has exerted as a teacher over great numbers
of young men who have been brought within the spell of his per-
sonality. Prof. Rogers was an orator of the first class, and was
long regarded as the most impressive and delightful speaker
that appeared before the American Association. It must
be remembered that science puts oratory to its highest test ;
it is a field in which reason is supreme, and where the speaker
is not at liberty to throw logic to the winds, and make a fiery
appeal to the feelings and passions of listeners. The scientific
orator must address intelligent men, habituated to think for
themselves, on the alert against tricks that carry the imagi-
nation, while the speaker himself is kept under the close re-
straints of fact. To be able to captivate and enchain an audi-
ence in the pure work of exposition, to fascinate in teaching,
is a triumph of oratorical ability. Prof. Rogers was marked
by the possession of this rare gift, and before his classes in
college, whether treating of rocks, physical forces, or rigid



4 i 8 PIONEERS OF SCIENCE IN AMERICA.

principles of mathematics, he was always able to kindle the
enthusiasm of the students, and make the most vivid and last-
ing impressions upon their minds. We were not surprised,
therefore, to note, in a Virginia newspaper, an exciting descrip-
tion of the way Prof. Rogers was received by his old students
at the semi-centennial of the University of Virginia, where he
" was the central object, on whom were fixed the eyes and
hearts of the great concourse there assembled from all parts
of the country. It was difficult to get near enough to speak
to him, surrounded as he was by such numbers of those who
in years long past had attended his lectures." He made an
address, the reception of which was described by the writer
with a pardonable warmth: "At the dinner of the alumni,
Prof. Rogers addressed them in a speech of half an hour. It
was a wonderful specimen of eloquence. The old students
beheld before them the same William B. Rogers who, thirty-five
years before, had held them spellbound in his class of natural
philosophy ; and as the great orator warmed up, these men for-
got their age ; they were again young, and showed their enthu-
siasm as wildly as in the days of yore, enraptured by his elo-
quence, they made the lecture room of the university ring with
their applause. Such was the effect produced by the off-hand
words of this distinguished man of science and unrivalled
orator; and those who have heard him in his moments of
inspiration will not wonder at the account we have given."

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5 months ago
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130
Bartram Barton

Date:

apr 22, 1881
Now
~ 137 years ago
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