PLANT SCIENCE BULLETIN
A Publication of the Botanical Society of America, Inc.
7 OCTOBER 1961 NUMBER 3
the Other Half Lives:
and Botanical Observations on the USSR at and before the International
Biochemical Congress in August, 1961.
KENNETH V. THIMANN
of the retiring President of the Botanical Society of America, delivered at
the annual banquet at Purdue University, Lafayette, Indiana, August 30, 1961.
rate of progress of science is now so rapid that to be able to keep abreast
of it, let alone to make useful contributions to it, requires persistence,
devotion, unusual ability with both head and hands, and a memory like a phonograph.
If the work is to be any good, a touch of real imagination and a flavor of
the artist are needed as well. The mass of material flowing into the journals
and presented at meetings like these is discouraging. Some of it, perhaps,
might have been withheld without loss. To quote from another Presidential
Address:—"The multitudinous facts presented by each corner of Nature,
form . . . the scientific man's burden today, and restrict him more and more,
willy-nilly, to a narrower and narrower specialization. But that is not the
whole of his burden. Much that he is forced to read consists of records of
defective experiments, confused statements of results, wearisome descriptions
of detail and ... protracted discussions of unnecessary hypotheses." That
this problem is not wholly new is attested by the fact that I have quoted
from the address of the physiologist, J. N. Langley, given to the British
Association in 1899.
Langley took a pessimistic view of our burdens, but we have still another
which he did not mention; namely, that the scientist cannot Iive by science
alone,—he must take notice of the world around him. This is much more
necessary in our present uncertain times than it was in the steady Victorian
days. Its urgency brings me to the present subject, for my original topic,
the education of the scientist, has been quite put out of mind by a very recent
experience which I should like to share with you because of its bearing on
an aspect of our world of utmost importance to us all.
drove from Paris, through Czechoslovakia, to the Southern Ukraine, then east
through the Ukraine, north to Moscow, northwest to Leningrad and west to Helsinki.
The immediate reason was to attend the International Biochemical Congress
in Moscow, but another, almost equally cogent reason, was to see and experience
something of this other world behind what Churchill so expressively called
the Iron Curtain.
trip was L-shaped, 2500 miles long, almost due east as far as Kharkov, then
north. We traveled freely, without Soviet guides, except when we requested
their services in the cities. The highways were second-class, but acceptable;
though there were few signs one could not lose the way, partly because most
side roads almost immediately became barely passable tracks. The people were
friendly and seemed glad to talk, within the limits of languages; only a very
few were surly or doctrinaire.
I want to do here is to try to make an objective assessment of this huge mass
of land and people, and to compare it with our own, so that we can make up
our minds where we stand in regard to them. What follows is largely limited
to what I have personally seen, or heard at first hand from Russian people,
putting aside newspaper headlines, speeches, prejudgments and emotions.
first thing to remember is that if the Soviets have sacrificed some of their
personal freedom they have certainly achieved something with the sacrifice.
They have succeeded in a very large-scale experiment, i.e. in inverting the
economic system which has sufficed for man's activities al-most from the beginning
of organized society. With us—both with the present western world and
with the past civilizations out of which it has grown—a man either works
on his own or for someone else, and earns what he can; from this he buys or
rents a place to live, and he contributes an agreed fraction of his earnings
to the cost of running the government. With them, it is the government that
finds him employment, assigns him to a house or apartment, pays him what it
can,—modified by the law of supply and demand, as with us,—and
keeps back the cost of running the government. There are taxes, but actually
no taxes are really necessary; it is all deducted at the source. Indeed, income
tax is to be gradually done away with. The difference from our traditional
system is immense and hard to realize. Yet the system works. Of course parts
of its have appeared elsewhere. In England the railways and coal mines are
owned by the State, and medicine and hospitalization are administered by it;
in France the tobacco industry has been a State monoply for 50 years or more.
on page 2)
PLANT SCIENCE BULLETIN
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HARLAN P. BANKS Cornell University
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ELSIE QUARTERMAN Vanderbilt University
ERICH STEINER University of Michigan
OCTOBER, 1961 • VOLUME 7,
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THE OTHER HALF LIVES
from page I)
every country of the western world there is some state ownership. But these
are abnormalities, grafted on to a system of individual enterprise, and do
not represent a basic change in the whole system.
was difficult for me to realize how complete the system of state ownership
has become. With a guide one day we passed a little watch repair shop in a
side street of Kiev, and I asked the guide how such an individual business
managed to make out, surrounded by giant state monopolies. "Oh no," he replied,
"that is not individually run, that is a state industry." Later I confirmed
that there is a whole national network of little watch-repair shops in back
streets, doubtless all placed under some central office, and subject to its
accounting and inspection. We bought ice-cream cones from a little old lady
in the park, prefabricated ones wrapped up in wax paper:—that is a State
industry too. We may picture some grave-faced Commissar of Light Refreshment,
with a staff of assistants, trying to determine the proper number of wrapped
ice-cream cones to issue on Sunday afternoon to the little old lady in the
park. The only exceptions to the system will be mentioned later.
is well known by now, a number of churches are open and functional—I
believe 16 in Moscow, including one Baptist church, and about as many in Leningrad.
One monastery, in Zagorsk, continues as in the old days. We attended church
service in a country town and found it very well filled, though almost wholly
with the older generation. Attendance at church, indeed, is incompatible with
any political standing; a member of the Young Communist League told me that
one of his fellow-members, to please his wife's parents, celebrated his wedding
in a church; he was at once expelled from the League. Many churches and especially
cathedrals, like the splendid St. Sophia's in Kiev, are maintained as museums
and are in good condition.
wants to know about prices and earnings in the USSR as compared with the west.
We had the opportunity to compare some prices with ours, both in Czechoslovakia
and in Russia, and there is no doubt that they are on the high side. Bread
and potatoes are about the same as with us and western Europe, though bread
was 24 cents a pound in Czechoslovakia and cheese was $I.5o a pound. Meat
and vegetables are distinctly higher: even in late August tomatoes were 33
cents a pound, apples, which were very small and poor, were 50 cents each
and oranges 55 cents each. A few days earlier in Moscow restaurants apples
had been priced at $I.Io each. Although canned goods, especially fish, are
displayed in every store window, they are very high—a little can of
sardines cost over $I, and others in proportion. Butter is more than double
our prices and is often very hard to find in the stores; chocolate is astronomical,
a ro-cent bar being priced at over $I. Workday clothes are not unduly high,
though the quality is second-rate, and black market operators are reputed
to offer visitors 15 rubles ($16) for the ordinary shirts they are wearing.
Shoes are priced high, up to $45 a pair, though children's shoes are more
reasonable. Still, many children, even in towns, ran barefoot. In 1935, when
we visited Leningrad and Moscow for the Physiological Congress, many people
were in rags, and leather shoes were almost unknown; now, people are reasonably
well dressed even in the country. The children are generally well dressed,
too, with their hair carefully done. Cars are very dear and indeed one sees
very few on the roads (a disproportionate number stalled), though there are
plenty of trucks. The smallest Soviet car, the Moskvitch, appears to cost
about $8000, but the price depends on the buyer; one who can show a need for
a car in his work, such as a party organizer or a medical practitioner, can
get it for less. In any case, a number of Soviet cars are now being sold in
Finland, where they must somehow be competitive with European makes. Two things
are cheaper;—gasoline, at about 55 cents a gallon, is less than in France
or Germany; and books.
when we compare earnings with those in the West, the price differential becomes
still less favorable. The aver-age U.S. factory worker earns $92 per week,
according to a recent Government figure. The average Soviet worker gets some
$Ioo-$20o per month. Because this is an average, some earn less; a high-school
English teacher from a country town told me he earns barely $Ioo. It was recently
announced that income tax would be canceled on earnings of $66 per month,
so there must be some at this level. Skilled workers may earn up to $30o per
month, but I believe only University professors, factory managers or senior
officials much more. Thus, with prices averaging, say, 1.5 to 2 times ours,
and earnings barely one half ours, the overall Russian standards of living
cannot be far from one-third of ours.
point out that the ratio is not really so unfavorable because housing is free,
being provided by the Government. This is true, but the housing is one of
the least satisfactory features of the whole system. Most of Moscow's 6 to
7 million people (one estimate is 90 per cent) live in single-room apartments,—
a whole family in one room, with kitchen and toilet shared between two or
more families. Moscow is said to be the only city in Europe where one can
buy a frying-pan with a lock on it. With our private homes and spacious apartments
it is hard to imagine what living together in one room must be like, year
after year. In Kharkov I was told that if the family increases in size one
can apply for a larger apartment, but what the chances are of getting it remained
unclear. To some degree Moscow is a special case, for it has been over-crowded
by the movement of people in from the country to the capital. But in the cities
which were extensively damaged by the war, like Orel, Kursk and Belgorod,
the situation is similar. Indeed, these cities are still in the midst of rebuilding;
apartment houses are going up everywhere, and truckloads of building materials
are seen everywhere on the town outskirts. Housing contrasts strikingly with
that in West Germany, which was also subject to great destruction but is now
completely rebuilt and enjoying unexampled prosperity. French newspapers of
August 25th carried the story of a German film producer who needed some shots
taken in war ruins; he scoured the country to find some but was forced to
conclude that there were none left anywhere. Eventually he had to construct
some ruins artificially.
housing may well become worse in future years because Pravda's newest figures
for the birth rate, 2.65 per cent, are claimed to be the highest in the world.
Further, much of the building going on now is of poor quality and may soon
need replacement. Large apartment house blocks in Moscow have wire neeting
stretched above the street at the level of the first floor, to catch the bricks
and tiles which are constantly falling off. In Orel, which was said to be
70 per cent damaged in the war, the hotel had so many evidences of age and
deterioration that I congratulated the manager on having been able to preserve
the fine old place undamaged through the war; "Oh, no," he said, "this hotel
was built in 1950." Even the new show-buildings, such as Moscow University
and the Ukraine Hotel, already indicate rapid deterioration; hardwood floors
with soft inserts already largely worn away to leave gaps or depressions which
can trip the unwary walker, roofs with iron flashings already badly rusted,
doors opening on outdoor court-yards inadequately protected from the weather,
and leaky toilets.
is the shortage of housing space that drives everyone to walk in the streets;
we found the streets of Soviet towns almost as crowded as in 1935. Of course
there are TV and the movies, but as one young man complained to me, "When
you have seen the week's movie, you still need something to do for the other
six nights." The TV, doubt-less an important organ for official information,
is indeed widespread. It is illuminating to see on the smaller old houses
in the suburbs of towns, where one would expect a single family to live, 6,
8 or ro TV aerials, indicating that there is a family living in every room
in the house.
is clear from all this that Soviet Russia is not the workers' paradise it
was supposed to be, and the average Russian is clearly worse off than his
West European or U. S. counterpart. The revolution is now more than 40 years
old, and one can only conclude that, while the system does work, nothing (except
rocketry and perhaps city parks) is really better under communism than under
free enterprise. After 40 years of unceasing propaganda to the contrary, I
find this general conclusion to be very helpful. We have no reason to feel
there is anything much about our system which is easily bettered.
has been claimed that the Soviets are rapidly coming up to our level, but
the fact is that the west is not standing still and the Soviets have so very
far to go and such a back-log to make up. The highways offer a good instance;
the reason why foreigners are only allowed to travel on specified main highways
is obvious: they are the only ones good enough. I dare say there are more
miles of paved road in New York City than in the Soviet Union, at least in
the European part. Everyone who goes off the highway, by the way, is soon
stopped by an armed policeman and ordered back to the main road. This happened
to us, and to so many others I have talked to, that it is evidently the rule
and suggests that visitors, for all their apparent freedom, are closely observed.
The amount of highway building that will be needed to come anywhere near Western
levels is simply stupendous. Gasoline stations are rare—5o to loo miles
apart—and primitive in equipment:—operators use prehistoric makes
of gasoline pumps or even fill the tank from cans; hotels for the travelers
are limited to the big cities, and are few at that. Thus in this one respect,
travel, it will take far more than ten years for them to catch up with us.
Housing I have mentioned. To give every family in one room the luxury of 2
rooms means doubling the present frenzied rate of building, which is unlikely.
contrast is presented by Czechoslovakia, which before the war was one of the
more advanced countries of Europe, with flourishing heavy and light industries,
and consider-able prosperity. Now, of course, the industries are still very
active, but it appears poorer than Germany, and the people look rather shabby—even
on Sunday afternoon in Prague, the capital, and on its best street; prices
are high and wages lag. A professor at Prague University told me that because
he was head of his department and with many subsidiary duties he earned 500
crowns a month, which is about $8500 a year, and except for Academy members
and senior Communist party officials, this would be the highest salary level.
Prices are not low and goods appear rather scarce. A revealing experience
was an attempt to buy an electric plug for my shaver; several electrical goods
stores had big front
with television sets and refrigerators on display, but when one penetrated
to the back room, where the actual business was done, it developed that what
most people were queuing up for was flashlight bulbs. The implications of
a great need for flashlights in a city of the size and modernity of Prague
are worth thinking about.
books are cheap in Czechoslovakia, though they are in large part political
propaganda; everything else is dear and seemed of mediocre quality. The small
towns are not so crowded as in Russia, and the rural districts, except for
much party propaganda everywhere, look normal. All in all, it is a fair deduction
that, while things are improving in Soviet Russia, they are stationary or
even declining in Czechoslovakia, and the inference is that the country is
being bled of its productivity to supply the USSR. There is no proof of this,
exception to the universal state ownership in the Soviet Union is that a really
well-paid man can buy a car, and it becomes his own property (unlike a house
or apartment, which is merely supplied by the State). He can leave it in his
will to his wife or son. When we suggested to our guide in Kharkov that this
would be the beginning of capitalism he was indignant: "Capitalism," he said,
"is the exploitation of the worker." One cannot argue when the definitions
of terms are so completely different. We did see a street of privately-owned
houses in the suburbs of Kharkov,—rather decrepit old wooden structures,
but still privately owned. Whether the owners will be able to keep them up
is another question—since it is probably difficult to obtain building
materials or labor.
biggest contrast, it appeared to me, was between the city and the country.
In the cities there is the frenzied building of big apartment houses,—usually
with stores on the ground floor,—there are wide streets, especially
in the new parts, excellent parks and recreation facilities, including a zoo
in most cities, and in Kiev a magnificent sandy beach on the shores of the
Dnieper River. In short, the feeling, at least on the surface, is of modernity,
progress and drive. But in the country, people are still living in the 18th
century. Most of the Ukrainian villages consist of wooden, z-room cottages,
plastered with mud; we even saw the women mixing up the mud with cattle manure,
apparently a usual procedure, and applying it with a brush or even with their
bare hands. Some of the rural cottages have electricity but very many (perhaps
a half of those we saw) do not. In the North the mud huts give way to log
cabins, built just like the primitive log cabins of America, with moss laid
between the logs and a tiny chimney in the roof. Thsee are not exceptional,
but the rule; thousands of villages contain almost wholly this kind of house.
From news-paper pictures, which are invariably taken in Moscow, one gets the
impression that Russia consists of huge brick apartment houses, but the fact
is that it is in the main a country of mud huts and log cabins. One must remember,
too, that the villages we saw were those on or close to the main road. Those
in the back country are hardly likely to be more advanced.
to the actual agriculture, much has been said about the manufacture of tractors;
the Kharkov factory, we were told, turns out more tractors than France and
Italy combined. But since neither of these is a great tractor-producing country,
and both are small in area compared to the USSR, this is not very convincing.
We did see a number of tractors, and harvester-combines too, which look like
the American article, (all farming is collective and these are owned by the
collective farm). I saw ploughing with tractors and harvesting with combines.
However, either there are nowhere near enough of these machines or else they
are often out of order (like the cars on the side of the high-ways) ; in any
case we saw plenty of hand labor. Peat, an important fuel in the country,
is cut and stacked by hand over large areas. We saw a whole village starting
to cut an immense field of wheat with hand-scythes—a field stretching
out of sight over the rolling hills. I even saw a peasant threshing wheat
by hand with a flail, something I had never seen, although I grew up in a
rural district in England. This was probably his own wheat, i.e. wheat grown
on his own land, for most country folk have an eighth to a quarter of an acre
of their own and take the products to the farmers' market. Presumably, he
was not allowed access to whatever threshing machinery they may have had on
the farm. Everywhere, heavy work is done by women;— scything, digging,
pounding in stone on the roads, driving spikes on the railway, spreading asphalt,
loading trucks, carrying building materials. This is not due to the war, for
we had seen the same thing at the time of the Physiological Congress in 1935.
And the horse is very much the engine of transportation still,—everywhere
farm-carts drawn by one or two horses are doing most of the carrying, though
parties of people occasionally ride standing up in trucks. Contrast this with
the situation in Finland, which, of course, has only a fraction of the resources
of Russia. I watched the farmers' market setting up in Burgs (east of Helsinki)
; nine of the farmers arrived in trucks or cars, three with horse-drawn wagons,
one with a motor-cycle and one old lady with a pushcart. So 9/14, or 6o per
cent, owned a car or truck.
main Soviet crops are corn, wheat, sunflowers and cabbage. Further north,
potatoes take the place of corn, and there is also rape. Hay is cut from the
meadows; I saw no evidence of balers; it was stacked loose in haycocks as
in the old days. East of Kiev, thousands and thousands of fruit trees have
been put in, a great many square miles of them, and when these come into bearing
they should relieve the present great scarcity of fruit. Presumably spraying
equipment will be manufactured in quantity from now on, but one wonders where
the skill and knowledge necessary for the proper care of fruit trees will
come from. The present apples are very inferior and would never reach a U.
S. or European market. All of this reminds us that the botanical aspects of
politics, which are of tremendous importance, are not usually given sufficient
weight. We saw a striking ex-ample in the much-heralded visit of Kwame Nkrumah,
President of Ghana. Everywhere in Prague the Czechoslovakian children were
handed out Ghanaian flags to
there were big crowds and a great government reception. He had previously
had the same reception in Hungary, and in several hotels in Moscow we came
across Ghanaian delegations comfortably ensconced at the Soviet's expense.
All this enthusiasm is of course because the Soviets badly want tropical agricultural
products, especially palm oil, cocoa and chocolate, of which Ghana is one
of the world's largest producers. With a ten-cent chocolate bar priced at
$1, one can understand the Soviet passion for Ghana and the Congo.
interaction between botany and politics is of course exemplified by the well-known
support by the Communist party of Lysenko's doctrines. This has severely limited
the plant and animal breeding programs and thus set Soviet agriculture even
more behind that of the West than it was before the revolution. Also scientifically,
by stopping the development of genetics, it has excluded the Soviets from
the immense modern development in this field, which has done so much to enrich
other areas of biology and especially biochemistry. As a practical matter,
with the huge plantings of corn they now have in the Ukraine and even north
above Moscow, it has denied them the increased yields due to hybird corn,
estimated to average 30 per cent. It is rumored that the Agricultural Academy,
until recently pre-sided over by Lysenko, is to be abolished, on account of
its not having served the Union effectively. This (if true) might well be
only a device for reducing Lysenko's power. Another observation worthy of
record is that north of Leningrad we saw no cereal crops at all, only a little
hay and potatoes, most of the land being left in wilderness; where-as across
the border in Finland fine crops of wheat, oats and rye were growing. Does
this not suggest much better progress in breeding, and in selection for cool-season
cereals, on the Finnish side?
and Czech botanical laboratories, as far as I saw them, seemed entirely adequate.
I visited six, three in Czechoslovakia and three in the USSR. Professor Prat
in Prague is maintaining very large collections of sterile cultures of algae,
mosses and liverworts; he also studies photosynthesis, and the effects of
humic acid on growth. The Microbiological laboratories there are doing interesting
work on pathogenic Corynebacteria, physiological pathology and biochemistry.
Professor Dostāl in Brno, though long ago retired, is still working steadily
on the correlations between plant organs, a sort of descriptive plant endocrinology.
Professor Rubin at the University of Moscow is training numbers of graduate
students, and doing work on respiration and root metabolism. The Timiriazev
Institute of Plant Physiology in Moscow (an Academy laboratory, quite independent
of the University) provided our best visit. Dr. A. L. Kursanov, one of Russia's
leading plant physiologists, and known to many Americans, is directing work
on a number of topics including the role of 0215 in metabolism. Dr. M. H.
Chailachian continues his celebrated work on photoperiodism and vernalisation
and their interrelations with gibberellic acid. He had just demonstrated the
formation of gibberellin-like subsances in vernalized cereal seeds and showed
us these experiments. In Leningrad Dr. Bressler is working on protein synthesis
in bacteria and viruses and the physicochemistry of virus proteins. The equipment
was generally good; optical apparatus from Eastern Germany, Soviet-made isotope
apparatus; Soviet-copied and improved Beck-man spectrophotometers, Soviet
and German centrifuges, ect. Their work is evidently not hampered by equipment
interesting visit was to the Chair (Section) of Plant Physiology at the University
of Moscow, one of the 26 Chairs in the very large Department of Biological
and Soil Sciences. The students enter after high school or, more generally
now, after 2 years of practical work on farms or in factories. (This system
tends to emphasize the practical applications of science, which is not so
good.) In Botany there are two pathways, the morphological and physiological-experimental,
with different entrance examinations. A 5¼ year course, in which the
last 21/2 years are specialized, leads to the Diploma, which is equivalent
to our A.M. In the last years all students carry out a research problem. Several
additional years are required to attain the Candidat or Ph.D., for which five
to seven publications are essential. About 70 per cent of the students are
women. The training has plenty of practical work, e.g. in the fourth year
in Plant Physiology the students have 6o lecture hours and 15 4-hour laboratory
the teaching and research are entirely adequate, the agriculture seriously
behindhand, and the economics not up to ours (though interesting because experimental),
what are we to say about the spirit, the state of mind, the intangible price
which the Soviet people have paid for the tangible effects of the revolution?
This is difficult for a visitor to encompass but crucially important, for
the freedom on which we of the West pride ourselves is largely in the abstract;
though we are free in principle, we are often con-strained by custom, by habit
or by the social mores,—what de la Mare calls "The whole vague populous
host that keep one as definitely in one's place in the world economy as a
firm-set pin the camphored moth." On these psychological matters one can speak
only with many reservations, for much more extensive knowledge would be needed.
one aspect there can be little doubt. Let me mention three slight incidents.
of my colleagues offered to drive a Russian girl a few miles off the highway
to her home town. They were stopped by a policeman. Looking at his passenger,
my col-league was astonished to find that she was white and petrified
of my colleagues was so rash as to photo-graph some soldiers (which is
forbidden). He was in the suburbs of Moscow with a student guide. An armed
police-man came up and reprimanded him, threatening to confiscate the
camera. My friend looked to his guide for help, but the young man had
run away—sooner than face a policeman.
car on crossing the borders of the USSR has to be inspected inside and
out—and underneath, with an in-
pit. The reason, as I was told by a friendly guard, is that they are looking,
not for smuggled goods, but for men. They are evidently terrified that men—opposed
to the regime no doubt—will escape.
keynote of these anecdotes is fear. A Russian told us frankly: "We all live
in fear—not only of the authorities, but of one another. No man can
trust another—even with-in his own family."
course, it is true that Russians in general may have never known what real
Freedom is like, for the great development of liberalsim and tolerance in
the 19th and zoth centuries in the West passed them by,—but the revolution
has certainly done nothing to foster it and has only intensified the tradition
of fear. The tragedy is stronger in other countries; such as Czechoslovakia
and Hungary, which have known freedom. It is this fear that is doubtless responsible
for their complete insulation from the world. A visitor feels this very keenly.
In the Soviet Union one can get no news of the west. Pravda and the other
papers are full of Communist party doings, gloating over Soviet achievements,
reporting domestic affairs, such things as Titov's trip in the satellite,
etc., and the only Western (Communist) papers, such as the Daily worker and
L'Humanite, are the same. The radio programs from outside are either jammed
or too weak to be heard. In the University there is a radio in every students'
room, but it has only one switch—on and off. This is worse than it was
under the Czars. An oldish man who was carrying the Times folded up in a book
said:—"Before the revolution I could have carried the Times openly in
the streets of Moscow; in fact I could have bought it here. Now it is illegal.
You must remember that when Lenin was in Siberia we read him freely in Moscow."
most important question is; what can we do about it all; what should our attitude
be? The Soviet Union is not only an immense territory; it is self-contained.
This fact was brought home to me by an exhibition of arts and crafts in Moscow.
Here was work from every people's democratic soviet socialist republic in
the Union. It varied from Russian painting, Lithuanian weaving, Ukrainian
embroidery to Eskimo shoes and costumes, Turkestan brass-work, Mongolian pots,
and Moslem prayer rugs. The Union is much more varied than the U. S. A. and
Western Europe, in climate, in peoples and in traditions. It is true that
the separate republics have little or no real autonomy, I gather; they are
tightly run from Moscow. But it is a world of its own; one feels that if the
whole West were to be engulfed tomorrow, it would make very little difference
to the USSR. The Union is so vast we cannot hope to up-set it; even to dismember
it, or separate off parts of it, would be a major understaking quite likely
to fail. You cannot destroy another car by driving your own car at it head-on.
On the other hand, the slow growth of private property, the increasing influence
and prestige of the scientists and other intelligentsia, and the spark of
divine discontent that appears from time to time in all men, leads one to
believe that gradually the Soviets will draw nearer to our way of life,—just
as to a small degree the increasing intervention of governmental activity
and governmental organization in our lives (still more advanced in Western
Europe) brings us somewhat closer to theirs. The Soviets are here to stay.
They have a large, varied and well integrated mechanism like ours. Then, too,
their science is growing and as scientists we use their results and of necessity
work with them. Botanists of course have always been familiar with Russian
contributions. Vavilov was elected President of the 1939 Genetics Congress
(though he was not allowed to attend). The Botanical Society has an active
pro-gram of translating books and monographs, of which the first, Vasiliev's
Wintering of Plants, has just appeared. The AIBS has been issuing the Doklady
and Fysiologia Rastenyi in English. What we are doing between scientists,
in ex-tending recognition, maintaining and developing contacts, translating
their books and journals, we shall have to do as between nations. There is
really no choice. The sooner we make up our minds to it, the better. That
is my conclusion, and I think it must be every intelligent man's.
FOR ASIAN STUDENTS
Asia Foundation has for the past six years sponsored a Books for Asian Students
Program to provide Asian faculties, students and libraries with needed books
and journals. Over one and one-half million books and more than a quarter
of a million journals have been sent to thousands of Asian institutions, in
fifteen countries. Requests for books have been increasing and the program
needs new sources of donation.
and journals are needed in most of the liberal arts fields, science, technology,
law, journalism, and business. Scholarly, scientific and technical journals
are needed in runs of five years or more. University, college, and secondary
level books (except foreign languages) in good condition will be welcomed
provided that they have been published after 1945. Works of standard authors
(Dickens, Plato, T. Huxley, etc.) published before 1945 are also needed.
Asia Foundation will pay transportation costs from the donor to San Francisco
and thence to Asia. Books may be shipped by the following methods only: Educational
Materials rate parcel post in packages under 70 pounds (reimbursement for
which will be sent on receiving donor's postal receipt); or if quantity is
large by motor freight (truck) collect, (but not by Railway Express or moving
van). Books may be shipped in cardboard cartons, securely tied. All shipments
or questions concerning categories, criteria and program details should be
addressed to: Books for Asian Students, 21 Drumm Street, San Francisco r1,
for Seeds of Robinia
J. Paris, Muzeum korut 4/a, Budapest, Hungary is interested in obtaining samples
of viable seeds of Robinia pseudo-acacia (black locust) from various localities
in the United States and Canada for a physiological study. He is also interested
in a brief statement regarding the soil type.
of the Business Meeting
At Purdue University, Lafayette, Indiana
I—August 28, 1961
1. The meeting was called to order by President Cheadle at 1:05 p.m. in Room
320 of the Chemistry Building. Approximately too members were present, this
constituting a quorum.
As instructed by the Council, the Secretary presented the names of those on
the second nominating ballot who stood in the top three places as a result
of the balloting in which more than 1200 votes had been received. These names,
listed in order, highest in each category, were as follows:
L. Stebbins, Jr.
J. N. Couch
motion was made, seconded, and carried unanimously that the candidates with
the highest number of votes in each category be elected. The new officers
for 1962, there-fore, are:
G. L. Stebbins, Jr.
President: D. D. Keck
Committee Member: R. McVaugh
Secretary reported that votes on the proposed By-law amendment, to change
the dues for patron membership from $250.00 to $500.00 were 1,052 votes
for and 72 against. A motion was therefore made and carried unanimously
that the By-laws be so modified.
the recommendation of the Council a motion was made and carried unanimously
that the dues for Life Membership be raised from $100.00 to $200.00, effective
was announced that various reports from Sections and Committees of the Society
had been received and approved by the Council (these are appended to the
minutes of the Council Meeting).
interim reports and proposed budgets of both the Treasurer and the Business
Manager were approved by the membership present.
Thimann, Chairman of the Committee for Corresponding Membership, proposed
the following names for Corresponding Membership:
Dr. Erwin Bunning (physiologist)
Dr. David Catcheside (geneticist)
Dr. Michael Evenari (ecologist)
D. Albert Frey-Wyssling (cytologist)
Dr. Roger Heim (mycologist)
Dr. Eric Hulten (taxonomist)
Dr. Hiroshi Tamiya (physiologist)
Dr. C. G. G. Jan Van Steenis (taxonomist)
Dr. Frans Verdoorn (botanical historian)
motion was made and carrie unanimously that the above persons be accorded
Corresponding Membership in the Society. (There are now 39 Corresponding Members;
the By-laws allow 40.)
Cheadle presented a report from Dr. G. S. Avery, Chairman of a Committee
on Special Awards, in which it was announced that two awards of $250.00
each for five years would be available to the Society from the New York
Botanical Garden and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden respectively. First presentation
of these awards will be made at the annual meetings in 1962. A committee
headed by Dr. R. C. Rollins will work out the details of announcing the
purpose of these awards and methods of making them. The assembled body
moved a vote of thanks to Doctors G. S. Avery and W. C. Steere, Directors
of the two gardens, for making these awards available.
was announced that the Botanical Society would henceforth make appropriate
payment to the A.I.B.S. so that all members (including Retired, Student
and Corresponding) might receive the A.I.B.S. Bulletin.
Dr. John Tucker, representing the Pacific Section of the Society presented
the following resolution:
United States National Tropical Botanic Garden
there is presently no national tropical botanic garden in the United States,
for a living museum of tropical plants and for basic and applied research
in tropical botany; and
the climate and soil of Hawaii are exceptionally well suited to the growth
of tropical vegetation, and would make Hawaii the ideal location for a national
tropical botanic garden; and
the tropical botanic garden would benefit the entire nation by facilitating
research and instruction in tropical botany and agriculture by botanists and
scholars from within the nation and abroad; and
such a garden would serve as a sanctuary for the native birds of Hawaii, and
aid admirably in the preservation and conservation of the native plants of
which more than ninety per cent of the species are endemic; and
the need for such a garden has many times been felt by professional plant
scientists of the nation; and
there are now pending before the Congress of the United States two bills (S.
772, introduced by Senators Long and Fong, and H.R. 5628, introduced by Representative
Inouye) which would provide for a study of the feasibility and desirability
of establishing a permanent National Tropical Botanic Garden in the State
of Hawaii, now, there-fore,
it resolved, by the Botanical Society of America, assembled at its annual
business meeting on August 28, 1961, in Lafayette, Indiana (Purdue University),
that the Society fully endorses the establishment of a National Tropical Botanic
Garden in the State of Hawaii, and will be glad to cooperate in any studies
in relation to its establishment; and
it further resolved, that the Botanical Society of America does hereby respectfully
request the passage of S. 772 and H.R. 5628 by the Congress of the United
it further resolved, that copies of this resolution be forwarded to the President
of the United States, and to the Senators and Representatives of the 87th
Congress of the United States of America.
appropriate discussion, a motion was made and carried unanimously that this
resolution be adopted by the Society.
Meeting was adjourned at 1:35 p.m., to meet again at 1:0o p.m. on August
II—August 29, 1961
Meeting was called to order in Room 306, Memorial Center, by President
Cheadle, there being over 150 members present.
Paul J. Kramer, the Society's representative to the National Committee
of Plant Science Societies, introduced a discussion relative to an action
taken by the Council at its regularly scheduled meeting on Sunday, August
27, 1961. The reasons for taking the action were then described by Dr.
Richard H. Goodwin, Coordinator for the National Committee of Plant Science
Societies. After brief but spirited remarks, pro and con, by several individuals,
the following resolution, earlier adopted unanimously by the Council,
was introduced by Dr. Kramer, regularly seconded, and carried by a large
is resolved that the Botanical Society of America approves in principle the
formation of a plant science group within the A.I.B.S., to be composed of
such plant science societies as wish, while maintaining their identities,
to join for such purpose; and
the Botanical Society of America will assume its share of responsibilities,
financial and otherwise, connected with such an organization; and
the Botanical Society of America will publish for its members progress reports
on the formation of the plant science group."
being no other business before the Society, the meeting stood adjourned
at 1:35 p.m.
L. TURNER, Secretary
J. Ben Hill, Emeritus Professor of Botany of the Pennsylvania State University,
died in the Centre County Hospital on March 31, after a long illness.
Lester W. Sharp, Emeritus Professor of Botany at Cornell University, died
at his home in Nuevo, California, on July 17, 1961, after a long illness.
J. E. Livingston, Head of the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology at
the Pennsylvania State University, died unexpectedly on August 15, 1961 of
a heart attack while attending a meeting at Washington, D. C. A Jesse Livingston
Memorial Lectureship and Library Fund has been established by the Department.
Anyone interested in contributing to it should make checks payable to "The
Jesse Livingston Memorial Fund" and send to Dr. J. E. Wright, Dept. of Botany
and Plant Pathology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania.
the annual banquet of the Society, President V. I. Cheadle announced the following
Merit Award Winners for "outstanding contributions to American Botany." The
recipients and the citations enscribed on their Certificates of Merit are:
CAMPION STEWARD, plant physiologist and bio-
widely known for his research on salt accumulation, nitrogen metabolism, and
plant tissue cultures; also an editor of numerous important contributions
in the field of plant physiology.
RANDOLPH TAYLOR, world-renowned authority
the algae, especially of marine waters, with first-hand knowledge of the floras
of many parts of the world. Author of numerous important books and articles
dealing with the algae of such diverse areas as the northeastern coast of
North America, the Caribbean, the west coast of tropical America, and Bikini.
Darbaker Award was presented by Dr. R. W. Krauss, chairman of the Committee,
to Dr. Paul B. Green of the Universtiy of Pennsylvania for his meritorious
work in the study of algae.
Cooley Award for the outstanding paper presented before the Systematic Section
was given to W. R. Ernest of Stanford University for his paper, "On the Family
Status of the Fumariaceae." The award was presented by Dr. A. J. Sharp, President
of the American Society of Plant Taxonomists.
annual banquet on August 3o, 1961 was attended by 419 persons. Following the
presentation of awards and the address by Dr. K. V. Thimann, immediate past
President, President Cheadle adjourned the gathering with the following statement:
we close, I wish to express the Society's gratitude to Purdue University and
its staff—especially to our local representative, the untiring, indomitable
A. Carl Leopold—and to the American Institute of Biological Sciences,
for having made our meeting so enjoyable and worthwhile. Unless I hear an
objection, our remarkably able Secretary shall spread these tributes over
the Minutes in the form of a resolution, copies of which shall be sent to
smoker, courtesy of the Botanical Society, was held immediately following
the banquet in Room 250 of the Stu-dent Union. Approximately Soo persons attended.
David R. Goddard, Kuemmerle Professor of Botany and Director of the Division
of Biology at the University of Pennsylvania has been elected Provost of the
University by the trustees. Dr. Goddard will retain his professorship and
continue his undergraduate teaching while serving as Provost.
Bassett Maguire, head curator and coordinator of tropical research at The
New York Botanical Garden, has been appointed Adjunct Professor of Botany
at Columbia University by the Board of Trustees of the University.