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In the second half of the nineteenth century, British firms and engineers built, laid, and ran a vast global network of submarine telegraph cables. For the first time, cities around the world were put into almost instantaneous contact, with profound effects on commerce, international affairs, and the dissemination of news. Science, too, was strongly affected, as cable telegraphy exposed electrical researchers to important new phenomena while also providing a new and vastly larger market for their expertise. By examining the deep ties that linked the cable industry to work in electrical physics in the nineteenth century - culminating in James Clerk Maxwell's formulation of his theory of the electromagnetic field - Bruce J. Hunt sheds new light both on the history of the Victorian British Empire and on the relationship between science and technology.
The Origins of Modern Science is the first synthetic account of the history of science from antiquity through the Scientific Revolution in many decades. Providing readers of all backgrounds and students of all disciplines with the tools to study science like a historian, Ofer Gal covers everything from Pythagorean mathematics to Newton's Principia, through Islamic medicine, medieval architecture, global commerce and magic. Richly illustrated throughout, scientific reasoning and practices are introduced in accessible and engaging ways with an emphasis on the complex relationships between institutions, beliefs and political structures and practices. Readers gain valuable new insights into the role that science plays both in history and in the world today, placing the crucial challenges to science and technology of our time within their historical and cultural context.
Thomas Simpson provides an innovative account of how distinctive forms of colonial power and knowledge developed at the territorial fringes of colonial India during the nineteenth century. Through critical interventions in a wide range of theoretical and historiographical fields, he speaks to historians of empire and science, anthropologists, and geographers alike. The Frontier in British India provides the first connected and comparative analysis of frontiers in northwest and northeast India and draws on visual and written materials from an array of archives across the subcontinent and the UK. Colonial interventions in frontier spaces and populations were, it shows, enormously destructive but also prone to confusion and failure on their own terms. British frontier administrators did not merely suffer 'turbulent' frontiers, but actively worked to generate and uphold these regions as spaces of governmental and scientific exception. Accordingly, India's frontiers became crucial spaces of imperial practice and imagination throughout the nineteenth century.
Stefanie Gänger explores how medical knowledge was shared across societies tied to the Atlantic World between 1751 and 1820. Centred on Peruvian bark or cinchona, Gänger shows how that remedy and knowledge about its consumption – formulae for bittersweet, 'aromatic' wines, narratives about its discovery or beliefs in its ability to prevent fevers – were understood by men and women in varied contexts. These included Peruvian academies and Scottish households, Louisiana plantations and Moroccan court pharmacies alike. This study in plant trade, therapeutic exchange, and epistemic brokerage shows how knowledge weaves itself into the fabric of everyday medical practice in different places.
In this ambitious new study, Sophie Brockmann argues that interactions with landscape and environment were central to the construction of Central American identities in the Age of Enlightenment. She argues that new intellectual connections and novel ways of understanding landscapes had a transformative impact on political culture, as patriotic reformers sought to improve the region's fortunes by applying scientific and 'useful' knowledge gathered from local and global networks to the land. These reformers established networks that extended into the countryside and far beyond Central America's borders. Tracing these networks and following the bureaucrats, priests, labourers, merchants and scholars within them, Brockmann shows how they made a lasting impact by defining a new place for the natural world in narratives of nation and progress.
What is the source of Norway's culture of environmental harmony in our troubled world? Exploring the role of Norwegian scholar-activists of the late twentieth century, Peder Anker examines how they portrayed their country as a place of environmental stability in a world filled with tension. In contrast with societies dirtied by the hot and cold wars of the twentieth century, Norway's power, they argued, lay in the pristine, ideal natural environment of the periphery. Globally, a beautiful Norway came to be contrasted with a polluted world and fashioned as an ecological microcosm for the creation of a better global macrocosm. In this innovative, interdisciplinary history, Anker explores the ways in which ecological concerns were imported via Rachel Carson's Silent Spring in 1962, then to be exported from Norway back to the world at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.
Social and economic history of science and technology has emerged as a major theme of interdisciplinary research in South Asian history since the late 1990s. This book studies the correlation between technological knowledge and industrial performance, with the focus on electricity, an emerging technology during 1880 and 1945. The arrival of electricity necessitated the introduction of new institutional facilities, and with the growth of technological system, a new business culture grew - there was demand for trained manpower to handle machines and better educational facilities. Taking a broad view of the subject, the narrative of this book is built around the historical experiences of the local Bengali-speaking population. Adopting the social constructionist model, Let There Be Light presents an amalgamation of archival and Indian language source materials to delineate the diverse nature of the appropriation of technological ideas into Indian culture.
In this original and integrated approach to theoretical reasoning in physics, Malcolm Longair illuminates the subject from the perspective of real physics as practised by research scientists. Concentrating on the basic insights, attitudes and techniques that are the tools of the modern physicist, this approach conveys the intellectual excitement and beauty of the subject. Through a series of seven case studies, an undergraduate course in classical physics and the discovery of quanta are reviewed from the point of the view of how the great discoveries and changes of perspective came about. This approach illuminates the intellectual struggles needed to attain understanding of some of the most difficult concepts in physics. Longair's highly acclaimed text has been fully revised and includes new studies on the physics of fluids, Maxwell's great paper on equations for the electromagnetic field and problems of contemporary cosmology and the very early universe.
This volume in the highly respected Cambridge History of Science series is devoted to exploring the history of modern science using national, transnational, and global frames of reference. Organized by topic and culture, its essays by distinguished scholars offer the most comprehensive and up-to-date nondisciplinary history of modern science currently available. Essays are grouped together in separate sections that represent larger regions: Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, East and Southeast Asia, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Oceania, and Latin America. Each of these regional groupings ends with a separate essay reflecting on the analysis in the preceding chapters. Intended to provide a balanced and inclusive treatment of the modern world, contributors analyze the history of science not only in local, national, and regional contexts but also with respect to the circulation of knowledge, tools, methods, people, and artifacts across national borders.
Who was the scientific progenitor of eugenic thought? Amir Teicher challenges the preoccupation with Darwin's eugenic legacy by uncovering the extent to which Gregor Mendel's theory of heredity became crucial in the formation - and radicalization - of eugenic ideas. Through a compelling analysis of the entrenchment of genetic thinking in the social and political policies in Germany between 1900 and 1948, Teicher exposes how Mendelian heredity became saturated with cultural meaning, fed racial anxieties, reshaped the ideal of the purification of the German national body and ultimately defined eugenic programs. Drawing on scientific manuscripts and memoirs, bureaucratic correspondence, court records, school notebooks and Hitler's table talk as well as popular plays and films, Social Mendelism presents a new paradigm for understanding links between genetics and racism, and between biological and social thought.
Technological change is about more than inventions. This concise history of the Industrial Revolution places the eighteenth-century British Industrial Revolution in global context, locating its causes in government protection, global competition, and colonialism. Inventions from spinning jennies to steam engines came to define an age that culminated in the acceleration of the fashion cycle, the intensification in demand and supply of raw materials and the rise of a plantation system that would reconfigure world history in favour of British (and European) global domination. In this accessible analysis of the classic case of rapid and revolutionary technological change, Barbara Hahn takes readers from the north of England to slavery, cotton plantations, the Anglo-Indian trade and beyond - placing technological change at the centre of world history.
This is the first systematic exploration of the intriguing connections between Victorian physical sciences and the study of the controversial phenomena broadly classified as psychic, occult and paranormal. These phenomena included animal magnetism, spirit-rapping, telekinesis and telepathy. Richard Noakes shows that psychic phenomena interested far more Victorian scientists than we have previously assumed, challenging the view of these scientists as individuals clinging rigidly to a materialistic worldview. Physicists, chemists and other physical scientists studied psychic phenomena for a host of scientific, philosophical, religious and emotional reasons, and many saw such investigations as exciting new extensions to their theoretical and experimental researches. While these attempted extensions were largely unsuccessful, they laid the foundations of modern day explorations of the connections between physics and psychic phenomena. This revelatory study challenges our view of the history of physics, and deepens our understanding of the relationships between science and the occult, and science and religion.
After Atomic Junction, along the Haatso-Atomic Road there lies the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, home to Africa's first nuclear programme after independence. Travelling along this road, Abena Dove Osseo-Asare gathers together stories of conflict and compromise on an African nuclear frontier. She speaks with a generation of African scientists who became captivated with 'the atom' and studied in the Soviet Union to make nuclear physics their own. On Pluton Lane and Gamma Avenue, these scientists displaced quiet farming villages in their bid to establish a scientific metropolis, creating an epicentre for Ghana's nuclear physics community. By placing interviews with town leaders, physicists and local entrepreneurs alongside archival records, Osseo-Asare explores the impact of scientific pursuit on areas surrounding the reactor, focusing on how residents came to interpret activities on these 'Atomic Lands'. This combination of historical research, personal and ethnographic observations shows how Ghanaians now stand at a crossroad, where some push to install more reactors, whilst others merely seek pipe-borne water.
In this book the diverse objects of the Whipple Museum of the History of Science's internationally renowned collection are brought into sharp relief by a number of highly regarded historians of science in fourteen essays. Each chapter focuses on a specific instrument or group of objects, ranging from an English medieval astrolabe to a modern agricultural 'seed source indicator' to a curious collection of plaster chicken heads. The contributors employ a range of historiographical and methodological approaches to demonstrate the various ways in which the material culture of science can be researched and understood. The essays show how the study of scientific objects - including instruments and models - offers a window into cultures of scientific practice not afforded by textual sources alone. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.
Agustí Nieto-Galan argues that chemistry in the twentieth century was deeply and profoundly political. Far from existing in a distinct public sphere, chemical knowledge was applied in ways that created strong links with industrial and military projects, and national rivalries and international endeavours, that materially shaped the living conditions of millions of citizens. It is within this framework that Nieto-Galan analyses how Spanish chemists became powerful ideological agents in different political contexts, from liberal to dictatorial regimes, throughout the century. He unveils chemists' position of power in Spain, their place in international scientific networks, and their engagement in fierce ideological battles in an age of extremes. Shared discourses between chemistry and liberalism, war, totalitarianism, religion, and diplomacy, he argues, led to advancements in both fields.
Scientific thinking has long been linked to music theory and instrument making, yet the profound and often surprising intersections between the sciences and opera during the long nineteenth century are here explored for the first time. These touch on a wide variety of topics, including vocal physiology, theories of listening and sensory communication, technologies of theatrical machinery and discourses of biological degeneration. Taken together, the chapters reveal an intertwined cultural history that extends from backstage hydraulics to drawing-room hypnotism, and from laryngoscopy to theatrical aeronautics. Situated at the intersection of opera studies and the history of science, the book therefore offers a novel and illuminating set of case studies, of a kind that will appeal to historians of both science and opera, and of European culture more generally from the French Revolution to the end of the Victorian period.
With a few notable exceptions, pure mathematics in Britain at the beginning of the nineteenth century was mainly a recreation for amateurs. Drawing on primary sources, John Heard provides an engaging account of the process by which it rose to become an academic discipline of repute which by the First World War was led by G. H. Hardy, and supported by the internationally-respected London Mathematical Society. In chronicling that rise, this book describes key contributions and the social environment in which mathematicians operated, using contemporary commentary where appropriate. No mathematical knowledge is required, and readers with a wide range of interests and backgrounds will find much to enjoy here. The material is presented from an impartial point of view, and provides full references to help any researchers who want to dig deeper into the original sources. The result is a unique insight into the world of Victorian mathematics and science.