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The period of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, familiar to students of literature as the age of Romanticism, has been named by some historians of science 'the second Scientific Revolution'. This chapter explores the transformation of Enlightenment public science into the more extensive but more fragmented enterprise of the early nineteenth century. It examines the several themes that featured centrally in scientific discourse of the period. Wariness and suspicion undermined the ideals of enlightened public science, of which Priestley had been the best-known spokesman. From the crucible of the 1790s, new forms of public science emerged. The cultivation of a sense of the sublimity of nature provided an aesthetic basis for communicating scientific discoveries to a broad public audience. Central to the new relationship between the sciences and their public audience was a new image of the man of science: the scientific hero.
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