Science and Scientists in the Netherlands Indies

Science and Scientists in the Netherlands Indies

Science and Scientists in the Netherlands Indies

Science and Scientists in the Netherlands Indies

Excerpt

In this volume, "Science and Scientists in the Netherlands Indies," we have endeavoured to present a picture of the development and status of a number of branches of the natural sciences, pure and applied, in the Netherlands Indies. The period during which this volume was prepared has been darkened by the military occupation of both the Indies and the mother country. This circumstance made it impossible to obtain the degree of collaboration necessary for a really complete history of science in the Netherlands Indies.The present work consists of:

1) Original articles, prepared especially for this volume, dealing with the development or status of various branches of science in the Netherlands Indies.

2) Reprints of similar accounts previously published elsewhere, several of which originally appeared in Dutch and are now being made available in English.

3) A number of travel accounts and impressions by distinguished visitors in the past, often offering delightful glimpses (scientific and otherwise) of life and nature in the Netherlands Indies.

4) A number of shorter articles -- notes, biographical sketches, reviews, etc. ("Serta Malesiana") -- comprising material often of interest from the viewpoint of the promotion of North American - Netherlands Indies relationships.

5) A list of scientific institutions, societies, and workers in the Netherlands Indies at the time of the Japanese invasion.

Although this volume offers much less than might be expected from a complete history, it nevertheless presents certain information which would not ordinarily be contained in such a work. It is hoped that our effort will be of use and interest to visiting civilians and members of the armed forces of North America, Great Britain, and other countries; many of these visitors are now receiving their first impressions of the Malaysian archipelago, hitherto a strange and distant land for most of them. Dr. GEORGE SARTON, reviewing VLEKKE's Nusantara ( Isis 35:77, 1944) declared: "My only regret is that the students of natural history are neglected. RUMPHIUS, one of the greatest heroes of the East Indies, is dismissed in a few words; other naturalists are disposed of in a footnote; the history of the famous garden of Buitenzorg is not told, etc. It is true the author refers to CHRISTIAAN EIJKMAN, the pioneer of vitamin research, but that is not enough. The scientific exploration of the East Indies is not explained as it should be and thus some of the brightest pages of Dutch history are left out."

Although this volume is published by the Government of the Netherlands Indies, it aims to be much more than a government-inspired effort in a critical period. The editors have made every attempt to keep the work free of narrow political considerations, and laudatory statements concerning Dutch policies in the past have often been removed from the text. On the other hand, the editors believe that in the modern world science and government can not be kept entirely separate, and many chapters report on the relations between the two, which were perhaps closer in the Netherlands Indies than in many other parts of the world.

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