In the nineteenth century, the British Government spent money measuring the distance between the earth and the sun using observations of the transit of Venus. This book presents a narrative of the two Victorian transit programmes. It draws out their cultural significance and explores the nature of “big science” in late-Victorian Britain.
Elwick explores how the concept of “compound individuality” brought together life scientists working in pre-Darwinian London. Scientists conducting research in comparative anatomy, physiology, cellular microscopy, embryology and the neurosciences repeatedly stated that plants and animals were compounds of smaller independent units. Discussion of a “bodily economy” was widespread. But by 1860, the most flamboyant discussions of compound individuality had come to an end in Britain. Elwick relates the growth and decline of questions about compound individuality to wider nineteenth-century debates about research standards and causality. He uses specific technical case studies to address overarching themes of reason and scientific method.
After the Public Heath Acts of 1872 and 1875, British local authorities bore statutory obligations to carry out sanitary improvements. Richardson explores public health strategy and central-local government relations during the mid-nineteenth-century, using the experience of Uppingham, England, as a micro-historical case study. Uppingham is a small (and unusually well-documented) market town which contains a boarding school. Despite legal changes enforcing sanitary reform, the town was hit three times by typhoid in 1875-1876.
The nineteenth century saw science move from being the preserve of a small learned elite to a dominant force which influenced society as a whole. Sakurai presents a study of how scientific societies affected the social and political life of a city. As it did not have a university or a centralized government, Frankfurt am Main is an ideal case study of how scientific associations—funded by private patronage for the good of the local populace—became an important centre for natural history.
Indian scientific achievements in the early twentieth century are well known, with a number of heralded individuals making globally recognized strides in the field of astrophysics. Covering the period from the foundation of the Asiatick Society in 1784 to the establishment of the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science in 1876, Sen explores the relationship between Indian astronomers and the colonial British. He shows that from the mid-nineteenth century, Indians were not passive receivers of European knowledge, but active participants in modern scientific observational astronomy.
Higgitt examines Isaac Newton’s changing legacy during the nineteenth century. She focuses on 1820-1870, a period that saw the creation of the specialized and secularized role of the “scientist.” At the same time, researchers gained better access to Newton’s archives. These were used both by those who wished to undermine the traditional, idealised depiction of scientific genius and those who felt obliged to defend Newtonian hagiography. Higgitt shows how debates about Newton’s character stimulated historical scholarship and led to the development of a new expertise in the history of science.
Victorian anthropology has been derided as an “armchair practice,” distinct from the scientific discipline of the twentieth century. But the observational practices that characterized the study of human diversity developed from the established sciences of natural history, geography and medicine. Sera-Shriar argues that anthropology at this time went through a process of innovation which built on scientifically grounded observational study. Far from being an evolutionary dead end, nineteenth-century anthropology laid the foundations for the field-based science of anthropology today.
The Story of Natural Gas’s Rise from Unwanted Byproduct to Essential Fuel Source
A Social History of Elite Spanish Loyalists and the Groups that Challenged Them in the Years Before South American Independence
A Unique History of the Galenic Pharmaceutical Tradition in New Spain
A New Interdisciplinary Study of Czech Gender-Fluid Artist Toyen Based on Rare Primary Sources
A Nuanced Analysis of Perceptions about the Relationship between Evolutionary Science, Religion, and Personal Belief
A Direct Challenge to the Idea That Science Should Be Value-Free and Values Should Be Evidence-Free
An Examination of the Ways African American Rhetoric Becomes Whitened When It Crosses Over into White Audiences
A Collection of Essays that Cast a Light on Giannina Braschi’s Exquisite, Experimental, and Genre and Gender Bending Work