Adolphe Quetelet was an influential astronomer and statistician whose controversial work inspired heated debate in European and American intellectual circles. In creating a science designed to explain the “average man,” he helped contribute to the idea of normal, most enduringly in his creation of the Quetelet Index, which came to be known as the Body Mass Index. Kevin Donnelly presents the first scholarly biography of Quetelet, exploring his contribution to quantitative reasoning, his place in nineteenth-century intellectual history, and his profound influence on the modern idea of average.
In the period covered by this volume, Tyndall completed his degree, published his first scientific papers, became a regular participant in the British Association meetings, established friendships with leading men of science in Berlin and London, and was elected Fellow of the Royal Society. As the volume ends, he was preparing his first lecture to the Royal Institution of Great Britain, the catalyst for a profound transition in his life. The letters offer a behind-the-scenes view of nineteenth-century publishing processes, the practices and challenges of diamagnetic research, the application procedures for university positions, the use of patronage in establishing a scientific career, and the often anxious and weary-worn personality of Tyndall, the ambitious protagonist.
This volume explores the transformation of scientific exhibitions and museums during the nineteenth century. Contributors focus on comparative case studies across Britain and America, examining the people, spaces, display practices, experiences, and politics that worked not only to define the museum, but to shape public science and scientific knowledge during this period.
This volume focuses on medical and philosophical debates on human intelligence and animal perception in the early modern age.
The Victorians are known for their commitment to materialism, evidenced by the dominance of empiricism in the sciences and realism in fiction. Yet there were other strains of thinking during the period in the physical sciences, social sciences, and literature that privileged the spacesbetweenthe material and immaterial. This book examines how the emerging language of the “imponderable” helped Victorian writers and physicists make sense of new experiences of modernity.
From the late nineteenth century onward religion gave way to science as the dominant force in society. This led to a questioning of the principle of free will—if the workings of the human mind could be reduced to purely physiological explanations, then what place was there for human agency and self-improvement?
Smith takes an in-depth look at the problem of free will through the prism of different disciplines. Physiology, psychology, philosophy, evolutionary theory, ethics, history and sociology all played a part in the debates that took place. His subtly nuanced navigation through these arguments has much to contribute to our understanding of Victorian and Edwardian science and culture, as well as having relevance to current debates on the role of genes in determining behaviour.
This book tells the forgotten story of the pursuit of a Third Way in biology, known by many names, including “the organic philosophy”—including the scientists who defined and refined it and its persistence into the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It considers the creation of the subfield of epigenetics, a product of Third Way thinking, rooted among a group of scholars known as the Theoretical Biology Club. And it raises significant questions about how we should model the development of the discipline of biology.
This book offers a critical overview and a new structure of the debate on unity versus plurality in science. It focuses on the methodological, epistemic, and metaphysical commitments of various philosophical attitudes surrounding monism and pluralism, and offers novel perspectives and pluralist theses on scientific methods and objects, reductionism, plurality of representations, natural kinds, and scientific classifications.
This book examines the practice of science in the field in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains of the American West between the 1860s and the 1910s, when the railroad was the dominant form of long-distance transportation. Grounded in approaches from environmental history and the history of technology, it emphasizes the material basis of scientific fieldwork, joining together the human labor that produced knowledge with the natural world in which those practices were embedded.
Winner of the Marc-Auguste Pictet Prize, 2010
The textbooks written by Adolphe Ganot (1804-1887) played a major role in shaping the way physics was taught in the nineteenth century. Ganot’s books were translated from their original French into more than ten languages, including English, allowing their adoption as standard works in Britain and spreading their influence as far as North America, Australia, India and Japan.
Simon’s Franco-British case study looks at the role of Ganot’s two textbooks: Traite elementaire de physique experimentale et appliquee (1851) and Cours de physique purement experimentale (1859), and their translations into English by Edmund Atkinson. The study is novel for its international comparison of nineteenth-century physics, its acknowledgement of the role of book production on the impact of the titles and for its emphasis on the role of communication in the making of science.
The hot-air balloon, invented by the Montgolfier brothers in 1783, launched for the second time just days before the Treaty of Paris would end the American Revolutionary War. The technological marvel highlighted celebrations of French military victory against Britain and ignited a balloon mania that swept across Europe at the end of the Enlightenment. This frenzy for balloon experiments fundamentally altered the once elite audience for science by bringing aristocrats and commoners together. This book explores how this flying machine not only expanded the audience for science but also inspired utopian dreams of a republican monarchy that would obliterate social boundaries. The balloon was a people-machine that unified and mobilized the people of France, who imagined an aerial empire that would bring glory to the French nation.
An in-depth study of the English neurologist and polymath Sir Henry Head (1861-1940). Head bridged the gap between science and the arts. He was a published poet who had close links with such figures as Thomas Hardy and Siegfried Sassoon. His research into the nervous system and the relationship between language and the brain broke new ground.
The 230 letters in this inaugural volume of The Correspondence of John Tyndall chart Tyndall’s emergence into early adulthood, spanning from his arrival in Youghal in May 1840 as a civil assistant with just a year’s experience working on the Irish Ordnance Survey to his pseudonymous authorship of an open letter to the prime minister, Robert Peel, protesting the pay and conditions on the English Survey in August 1843.
The 161 letters in this volume encompass a period of dramatic change for the young John Tyndall, who would become one of Victorian Britain’s most famous physicists. They begin in September 1843, in the midst of a fiery public conflict with the Ordnance Survey of England, and end in December 1849 with him as a doctoral student of mathematics and experimental science at the University of Marburg, Germany.
The century from 1750 to 1850 was a period of dramatic transformations in world history, fostering revolutionary change beyond the political landscape. It was an era of rapidly expanding scientific investigation—and profound changes in scientific knowledge and practice also took place. In this volume, an esteemed group of international historians examines key elements of science in societies across Spanish America, Europe, West Africa, India, and Asia as they overlapped each other increasingly.