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When Biochemical Sciences first appeared in the College catalogue, it was designed primarily as a field in which the undergraduate, with an eye towards medicine could survey the applications of physico-chemical methods to the problems of biology. Today the end remains unchanged, but unfortunately the means of accomplishing that end has not changed, either. Instead of slowly expanding the funds and facilities in the department, the University has left the field rigidly alone. As in previous years a hardworking, well-informed board of tutors forms its nucleus, but organization beyond this is conspicuously lacking. There is only one half-course specifically treating of biochemistry and another more advanced half course on biophysics. Neither has any laboratory. Nor are there any laboratories for the use of Seniors in the field who are writing theses.
The students who, under Plan A, receive tutorial instruction are in general highly satisfied with that instruction. The students who, under Plan B, receive little or no tutorial work as Juniors and Seniors are free to roam, according to the ancient Eliot tradition, among the variegated courses of the College. The all-important Sophomore tutorial, which in a sufficiently staffed department would give the student a panoramic view of his field, is hopelessly muddled by the individual interests of the tutors. This work should be standardized and systematized, and would be better carried out in larger groups. In addition, a card index for books in Biochemistry should be compiled to simplify tutorial references, since Holyoke House is useless to concentrators. Lastly, there should be more men among the tutors interested in more specialities.
All of these are minor improvements that concentrators suggested in the Confidential Guide meeting. If the University continues to ignore the needs of Biochemistry, it will surely starve a most promising infant among the sciences. Left on the doorstep by the previous administration, it has since lived on a diet of air and water; yet if it is to be preserved and developed, it demands a normal diet.
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