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October 3, 1936


JAMA. 1936;107(14):1135-1136. doi:10.1001/jama.1936.02770400047015

Progress in many branches of science passes through rather definite steps. The first period is usually characterized by qualitative discoveries and advances of a qualitative nature. This is followed frequently by a period more quantitative in its scope. An excellent example of this general tendency is presented by the case of vitamin C. The earliest work dealt with the existence of such a substance and its qualitative presence or absence in different foods. Subsequently, with the isolation, determination of the chemical structure, synthesis, and development of highly sensitive and rather specific methods for its determination, the problem has changed abruptly into a distinctly quantitative phase. Here again is seen an orderly progression of study. The earlier investigations were of a macroquantitative type, whereas more recent studies have tended to be microquantitative in character. Likewise, in the case of the distribution of cevitamic acid in tissues, the emphasis has shifted in