Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-55597f9d44-54jdg Total loading time: 0.442 Render date: 2022-08-16T02:26:47.427Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

2 - Unstable Instruments

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 April 2022

Lachlan Fleetwood
Affiliation:
University College Dublin
Get access

Summary

This chapter begins with surveyors Alexander and James Gerard, and their attempts to prove that they had climbed higher than Alexander von Humboldt. In examining the measuring practices of East India Company surveyors, the chapter especially deals with moments when scientific instruments were found to be inadequate. These are revealing of the importance instruments played in establishing scientific authority in a world in which the senses were unreliable. This chapter firstly considers responses to damaged instruments, and attempts at repair. This is followed by a discussion of surveyors’ fieldbooks and inscriptive practices. It concludes with an examination of ongoing problems – both conceptual and material – with instruments designed in Europe by those with no experience of the Himalaya. The chapter argues that the staggered recognition of the true scale of the Himalaya reveals multiple levels of displacement in scientific practice: between those in the mountains, those in Calcutta and those in London. In so doing, it emphasises the laboriousness of the instrumental measurements necessary to impose, if incompletely, a form of universality that made global comparisons possible.

Type
Chapter
Information
Science on the Roof of the World
Empire and the Remaking of the Himalaya
, pp. 64 - 95
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org 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 @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ 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.

  • Unstable Instruments
  • Lachlan Fleetwood, University College Dublin
  • Book: Science on the Roof of the World
  • Online publication: 28 April 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009128117.003
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.

  • Unstable Instruments
  • Lachlan Fleetwood, University College Dublin
  • Book: Science on the Roof of the World
  • Online publication: 28 April 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009128117.003
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.

  • Unstable Instruments
  • Lachlan Fleetwood, University College Dublin
  • Book: Science on the Roof of the World
  • Online publication: 28 April 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009128117.003
Available formats
×