The Pressures of Modern Life and Their Impact on Bodily and Mental Health in Nineteenth-Century Britain
Historicizing Humans takes a critical approach to nineteenth-century human history, as the contributors consider how these histories were shaped by the colonial world, and for various scientific, religious, and sociopolitical purposes. This volume highlights the underlying questions and shared assumptions that emerged as various human developmental theories competed for dominance throughout the British Empire.
Kew Observatory influenced and was influenced by many of the larger developments in the physical sciences during the second half of the nineteenth century, while many of the major figures involved were in some way affiliated with Kew.
Lee T. Macdonald explores the extraordinary story of this important scientific institution as it rose to prominence during the Victorian era. His book offers fresh new insights into key historical issues in nineteenth-century science: the patronage of science; relations between science and government; the evolution of the observatory sciences; and the origins and early years of the National Physical Laboratory, once an extension of Kew and now the largest applied physics organization in the United Kingdom.
In the Victorian era, James Watt became an iconic engineer, but in his own time he was also an influential chemist. David Philip Miller examines Watt’s illustrious engineering career in light of his parallel interest in chemistry, arguing that Watt’s conception of steam engineering relied upon chemical understandings.
An innovative and original socio-cultural study of the history of electricity during the late Victorian and Edward periods.
How did the brewing of beer become a scientific process? James Sumner explores this question by charting the theory and practice of the trade in Britain and Ireland during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
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.
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.
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.
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.