This book examines the philosophical principles invoked by apologists of the Spanish empire that laid the foundations for the exploitation of the Andean region between 1520 and 1640. Orlando Bentancor ties the colonizers’ attempts to justify the abuses wrought on the environment and the indigenous population to their larger ideology concerning mining, science, and the empire’s rightful place in the global sphere. To Bentancor, their presuppositions were a major turning point for colonial expansion and paved the way to global mercantilism.
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 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.
Daniel French examines the American social perceptions of electricity as an energy technology between the mid-19th and early decades of the 20th centuries. Arguing that both technical and cultural factors played a role, French shows how electricity became an invisible and abstract form of energy in American society, leading Americans to culturally construct electricity as unlimited and environmentally inconsequential—a newfound “basic right” of life in the United States.
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.
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.