Reconsidering the Distinction between Scientific Discovery and Travel Writing in International Arctic Explorations
A History of Early International Preservationist Groups and the Natures They Sought to Preserve
The First Study of Medical Virology to Compare the History of Bacteriophages and Sarcoma Agents, Two Distinct but Equally Important Groups of Viruses
Public Disputes, Tyndall’s Dramatic Mountain Climbing Escapades, Efforts to Promote Science to a Wide Audience, and More
The nineteenth century was an important period for both the proliferation of “popular” science and for the demarcation of a group of professionals that we now term scientists. Of course for Ireland, largely in contrast to the rest of Britain, the prominence of Catholicism posed various philosophical questions regarding research.
Adelman’s study examines the practical educational impact of the growth of science in these communities, and the impact of this on the country’s economy; the role of museums and exhibitions in spreading scientific knowledge; and the role that science had to play in Ireland’s turbulent political context.
Adelman challenges historians to reassess the relationship between science and society, showing that the unique situation in Victorian Ireland can nonetheless have important implications for wider European interpretations of the development of this relationship during a period of significant change.
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 concept of eccentricity was central to how people in the nineteenth century understood their world. This monograph is the first scholarly history of eccentricity. Carroll explores how discourses of eccentricity were established to make sense of individuals who did not seem to fit within an increasingly organized social and economic order. She focuses on the self-taught natural philosopher William Martin, the fossilist Thomas Hawkins and the taxidermist Charles Waterton.
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.
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.
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.
By the late nineteenth century, advances in medical knowledge, technology and pharmaceuticals led to the development of a thriving commercial industry. The medical trade catalogue became one of the most important means of promoting the latest tools and techniques to practitioners. Drawing on over 400 catalogues produced between 1870 and 1914, Jones presents a study of the changing nature of medical professionalism. She examines the use of the catalogue in connecting the previously separate worlds of medicine and commerce and discusses its importance to the study of print history more widely.
From the mid-nineteenth century onwards a number of previously unknown conditions were recorded in both animals and humans. Known by a variety of names, and found in diverse locations, by the end of the century these diseases were united under the banner of “anthrax.” Stark offers a fresh perspective on the history of infectious disease. He examines anthrax in terms of local, national and global significance, and constructs a narrative that spans public, professional and geographic domains.
Victorian culture was characterized by a proliferation of shows and exhibitions. These were encouraged by the development of new sciences and technologies, together with changes in transportation, education and leisure patterns. The essays in this collection look at exhibitions and their influence in terms of location, technology and ideology.