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posted Jan 2007

Science 8(189):258. (Sep. 17, 1886)

Science for a livelihood.
W. F. Flint.

I am interested in the communication from 0. B., Brooklyn, N.Y., under the above caption in the issue of Science for Sept. 10. Like C. B., I graduated with a good scientific education, had done some practical work, and possessed a greater desire to labor in scientific fields than to do any thing else.

Instead of making application to only four schools, however, I applied to over sixty, and received a negative answer from all of them, and at the end of it was told by an eminent professor in Harvard university that there were at least fifteen applicants for every vacant place of the kind in the United States.

That was nine years ago, and my experience since confirms me in the belief, that if the student is without wealth, and has no friends who will forward him in his chosen field, he will do wisest, and be most independent, if he turns his attention to agricultural, mechanical, or any other honest occupation by which he can make some money ; and then, after his money is his own, he can put as much of it as he sees fit into his scientific work. Such a course may be galling to pride, and a disappointment to friends, but, in all probability, there are few positions in this country where a student of small means can find sufficient work in the natural or experimental sciences to earn bread enough to keep the wolf from the door.

W. F. Flint. Winchester, N.H., Sept. 13.