Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-66d7dfc8f5-npwgr Total loading time: 0.499 Render date: 2023-02-09T04:12:06.135Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true


Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 March 2008

Peter M. Heimann
University of Lancaster
Get access


The activity of science has dramatically transformed society; since 1850 applied science has become the basis of the means of economic production in Europe. While modern society depends on industrial production based on the application of scientific results, the spectacular achievements of science in the last century have led to a transformation in the nature of science itself. The organisation of scientific activity for the generation of useful, practical knowledge has acquired a new meaning and impulse in the twentieth century, a development which has been described as the emergence of ‘industrialised science’, science as an industry producing applicable knowledge. An understanding of the dominance of science in contemporary culture and society demands an analysis of the social and intellectual transformations which led to such striking confidence in the value of the investigation and control of nature and the emergence of science as a socially-organised activity.

The profound conceptual changes in physics in the twentieth century, the abandonment of the doctrines of absolute space and time in Einstein's theory of relativity and of causality and determinism in quantum mechanics, has customarily led to a depiction of the development of science by means of a disjunction between ‘classical’ or ‘Newtonian’ and ‘modern’ science. This historiographic framework is unsatisfactory, for the development of science must be seen in a broader perspective, as a social and cultural phenomenon. The attainment by natural science of appropriate methods of enquiry and social institutions, its methods being viewed as trained and organised common sense and its aims customarily regarded as value-free, is a feature of its recent history.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 1979

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Ben David, J., The Scientist's Role in Society (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1971)Google Scholar
Berman, M., Social Change and Scientific Organization. The Royal Institution, 1799–1844 (London, 1977).Google Scholar
Boas, M., ‘The establishment of the mechanical philosophy’, Osiris, 10 (1952)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Burtt, E. A., The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Physical Science, 2nd edition (London, 1932).Google Scholar
Cannon, W. F., ‘The problem of miracles in the 1830s’, Victorian Studies, 4 (1960).Google Scholar
Cardwell, D. S. L., The Organization of Science in England (London, 1957)Google Scholar
Coleman, W., Biology in the Nineteenth Century (London, 1971)Google Scholar
Colie, R. L., Light and Enlightenment (Cambridge, 1957)Google Scholar
Crombie, A. C., Robert Grosseteste and the Origins of Experimental Science (Oxford, 1953).Google Scholar
Dijksterhuis, E. J., The Mechanization of the World Picture (Oxford, 1961)Google Scholar
Dobbs, B. J. T., The Foundations of Newton's Alchemy (Cambridge, 1975)Google Scholar
Fox, R., ‘The rise and fall of Laplacian physics’, Historical Studies in the Physical Sciences, 4 (1974)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gay, P., The Enlightenment: An Interpretation (2 vols, London, 1967–70).Google Scholar
Gillispie, C. C., Genesis and Geology (Cambridge, Mass., 1951)Google Scholar
Grant, E., Physical Science in the Middle Ages (London, 1971)Google Scholar
Guerlac, H. E., Lavoisier – the Crucial Year (Ithaca, 1961)Google Scholar
Hazard, Paul, The European Mind 1680–1715 (London, 1953).Google Scholar
Heimann, P. M. and McGuire, J. E., ‘Newtonian forces and Lockean powers: concepts of matter in eighteenth century thought’, Historical Studies in the Physical Sciences, 3 (1971)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Heimann, P. M., ‘Helmholtz and Kant’, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 5 (1974)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Heimann, P. M., ‘Maxwell and the modes of consistent representation’, Archive for History of Exact Sciences, 6 (1970)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hill, C., Intellectual Origins of the English Revolution (Oxford, 1965)Google Scholar
Hooykaas, R., The Principle of Uniformity in Geology, Biology and Theology (Leiden, 1963)Google Scholar
Koyré, A., The Astronomical Revolution (London, 1973).Google Scholar
Koyré, A., From the Closed World to the Infinite Universe (Baltimore, 1957).Google Scholar
Koyré, A., Newtonian Studies (London, 1965)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kuhn, T. S., The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Chicago, 1962).Google Scholar
Kuhn, T. S., The Copernican Revolution (Cambridge, Mass., 1957)Google Scholar
Kuhn, T. S., ‘Energy conservation as an example of simultaneous discovery, in Clagett, M. (ed.), Critical Problems in the History of Science (Madison, 1959)Google Scholar
Landes, D., The Unbound Prometheus (Cambridge, 1969)Google Scholar
Lovejoy, A. O., The Great Chain of Being (Cambridge, Mass., 1936)Google Scholar
Manuel, F. E., A Portrait of Isaac Newton (Cambridge, Mass., 1968)Google Scholar
Manuel, F. E., The Religion of Isaac Newton (Oxford, 1974).Google Scholar
McGuire, J. E., ‘Boyle's conception of nature’, Journal of the History of Ideas, 33 (1972)CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
McGuire, J. E., ‘Force, active principles and Newton's invisible realm’, Ambix, 15 (1968)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
McGuire, J. E. and Rattansi, P. M., ‘Newton and the “pipes of pan”’, Notes and Records of the Royal Society, 21 (1966)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Merton, R. K., Science, Technology and Society in Seventeenth Century England (New York, 1970)Google Scholar
Mintz, S. I., The Hunting of Leviathan (Cambridge, 1962).Google Scholar
Morrell, J. B., ‘Individualism and the structure of British science in 1830’, Historical Studies in the Physical Sciences, 3 (1971)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Multhauf, R. P., The Origins of chemistry (London, 1966).Google Scholar
Musson, A. E. and Robinson, E., Science and Technology in the Industrial Revolution (Manchester, 1969)Google Scholar
Musson, A. E. (ed.), Science, Technology and Economic Growth in the Eighteenth Century (London, 1972).Google Scholar
Oakley, F., ‘Christian theology and the Newtonian science’, Church History, 30 (1961)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pagel, W., Paracelsus (New York, 1958).Google Scholar
Porter, R., ‘The industrial revolution and the rise of the science of geology’, in Teich, M. and Young, R. M., Changing Perspectives in the History of Science (London, 1973)Google Scholar
Rattansi, P. M., ‘The social interpretation of science in the seventeenth century’, in Mathias, P. (ed.), Science and Society 1600–1900 (Cambridge, 1972).Google Scholar
Ravetz, J. R., Scientific Knowledge and its Social Problems (Oxford, 1971).Google Scholar
Rossi, P., Francis Bacon. From Magic to Science (London, 1968).Google Scholar
Rudwick, M. J. S., The Meaning of Fossils (London, 1972).Google Scholar
Thackray, A., Atoms and Powers: An Essay on Newtonian Matter – theory and the Development of Chemistry (Oxford, 1970)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Thackray, A., ‘Natural knowledge in a cultural context: the Manchester model’, American Historical Review, 79 (1974)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Thomas, K., Religion and the Decline of Magic (London, 1971).Google Scholar
Truesdell, C., Essays in the History of Mechanics (Berlin, 1968).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Turner, G. L'E. (ed.), The Patronage of Science in the Nineteenth Century (Leiden, 1976)Google Scholar
Turner, R. S., ‘The growth of professorial research in Prussia’, Historical Studies in the Physical Sciences, 3 (1971)Google Scholar
Walker, D. P., The Ancient Theology (London, 1972).Google Scholar
Webster, C. (ed.), The Intellectual Revolution of the Seventeenth Century (London, 1974)Google Scholar
Webster, C., The Great Instauration. Science, Medicine and Reform 1626–1660 (London, 1975).Google Scholar
Westfall, R. S., The Construction of Modern Science: Mechanisms and Mechanics (London, 1971).Google Scholar
Westfall, R. S., Science and Religion in Seventeenth Century England (New Haven, 1958)Google Scholar
Westfall, R. S., Force in Newton's Physics (London, 1971)Google Scholar
Whiteside, D. T., ‘Before the Principia’ and ‘The mathematical principles underlying Newton's Principia Mathamatica’, Journal for the History of Astronomy, I (1970).Google Scholar
Williams, L. P., Michael Faraday (London, 1965).Google Scholar
Yates, F. A., Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition (London, 1964)Google Scholar
Cited by

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats