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.
In this foundational study, Friedrich Steinle compares the influential work of Ampere and Faraday to reveal the prominent role of exploratory experimentation in the development of science. Focusing on Ampere’s and Faraday’s research practices, reconstructed from previously unknown archival materials, this book considers both the historic and epistemological basis of exploratory experimentation—and its importance to scientific development.
This book focuses on the “biosocial visions” shared by early gerontologists in American and British science and culture from the early to mid-twentieth century who believed the phenomenon of aging was not just biological, but social in nature. Advancements in the life sciences, together with shifting perspectives on the state and future of the elderly in society, informed how gerontologists interacted with seniors, and how they defined successful aging. Park shows how these visions shaped popular discourses on aging, directly influenced the institutionalization of gerontology, and also reflected the class, gender, and race biases of their founders.
In the eighteenth century, malaria was a prevalent and deadly disease, and the only effective treatment was found in the Andean forests of Spanish America: a medicinal bark harvested from cinchona trees that would later give rise to the antimalarial drug quinine. The Andean Wonder Drug uses the story of cinchona bark to demonstrate how the imperial politics of knowledge in the Spanish Atlantic ultimately undermined efforts to transform European science into a tool of empire.
What makes a good experiment? Although experimental evidence plays an essential role in science, there is no algorithm or simple set of criteria for ranking or evaluating good experiments, and therefore no definitive answer to the question. Experiments can, in fact, be good in any number of ways: conceptually good, methodologically good, technically good, and pedagogically important. This book provides details of good experiments, with examples from physics and biology.
Science as It Could Have Been focuses on the crucial issue of contingency within science. It considers a number of case studies, past and present, from a wide range of scientific disciplines—physics, biology, geology, mathematics, and psychology—to explore whether components of human science are inevitable, or if we could have developed an alternative successful science based on essentially different notions, conceptions, and results.
Maximilian I used astrology to help guide political actions, turning to astrologers and their predictions to find the most propitious times to sign treaties or arrange marriage contracts. Perhaps more significantly, he employed astrology as a political tool to gain support for his reforms and to reinforce his own legitimacy and that of the Habsburg dynasty. Hayton analyzes the various rhetorical tools astrologers used to argue for the nobility, antiquity, and utility of their discipline, and how they strove to justify their “science” on the grounds that through its rigorous interpretation of the natural world, astrology could offer more reliable predictions.
This book considers representations of science and technology at world’s fairs as influential cultural forces and at a critical moment in history, when tensions and ideological divisions between political regimes would soon lead to war. It examines five fairs and expositions from across the globe—including three that were staged (Paris, 1937; Dusseldorf, 1937; and New York, 1939-40), and two that were in development before the war began but never executed (Tokyo, 1940; and Rome, 1942).
Soviet Space Mythologies explores the history of the Soviet human space program within a political and cultural context, giving particular attention to the two professional groups—space engineers and cosmonauts—who secretly built and publicly represented the program. Drawing on recent scholarship on memory and identity formation, this book shows how both the myths of Soviet official history and privately circulating counter-myths have served as instruments of collective memory and professional identity.
This collection of essays explores the rise of scientific medicine and its impact on Victorian popular culture. Chapters include an examination of Charles Dickens’s involvement with hospital funding, concerns over milk purity and the theatrical portrayal of drug addiction, plus a whole section devoted to the representation of medicine in crime fiction. This is an interdisciplinary study involving public health, cultural studies, the history of medicine, literature and the theatre, providing new insights into Victorian culture and society.
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.
An original analysis of Alfred C. Kinsey’s scientific career that uncovers the roots of his research methods. Donna J. Drucker describes how Kinsey’s enduring interest as an entomologist and biologist in the compilation and organization of mass data sets structured each of his classification projects. As she shows, Kinsey’s scientific rigor and his early use of data recording methods and observational studies were unparalleled in his field. Those practices shaped his entire career and produced a wellspring of new information, whether he was studying gall wasp wings, writing biology textbooks, tracing patterns of evolution, or developing a universal theory of human sexuality.
Winner, 2015 Bullough Book Award from the Foundation for the Scientific Study of Sexuality
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.
Toxic Airs brings together historians of medicine, environmental historians, historians of science and technology, and interdisciplinary scholars to address atmospheric issues at a spectrum of scales from body to place to planet. The chapters analyze airborne and atmospheric threats posed to humans. The contributors demonstrate how conceptions of toxicity have evolved over many centuries and how humans have both created and mitigated toxins in the air.
Physicist John Tyndall and his contemporaries were at the forefront of developing the cosmology of scientific naturalism during the Victorian period. They rejected all but physical laws as having any impact on the operations of human life and the universe. Contributors focus on the way Tyndall and his correspondents developed their ideas through letters, periodicals and scientific journals and challenge previously held assumptions about who gained authority, and how they attained and defended their position within the scientific community.