Ainley, Marianne Gosztonyi
Circulating Gendered Knowledge: Catharine Parr Traill’s Colonial Science Lessons, 1836-1895.
This paper is part of my larger historical project that examines gender, environments, and the transmission of knowledge in 19th and 20th century Canada and Australia. More specifically, I will explore how Catharine Parr Traill (1802-99), an English settler in what is now Ontario, acquired and transmitted gendered scientific/environmental knowledge in her popular and scientific publications. In The Backwoods of Canada (1836) and the Canadian Settler’s Guide (1855) she provided explicit colonial lessons to prospective immigrants that included information on plants, animals, the climate, and food chemistry. In Canadian Wildflowers (1868), Studies of Plant Life (1885) and several botanical articles, written both for naturalists and the general public, Traill combined her own observations with indigenous environmental knowledge and occasionally challenged the writings of male experts. She was the first Canadian naturalist to eke out a living from writing and the first science writer to circulate indigenous environmental knowledge to a large and varied British and North American readership of women, men, and children. Because women, indigenous people, and their knowledge have been largely excluded from mainstream histories of science, my work on Catharine Parr Traill will contribute to a re-assessment of gender, science, and the circulation of knowledge at/from the “margins” of the British Empire.
The Circulation of Knowledge and the Emergence of a Coherent Discipline: Analyzing Early Developments in Computing as an Ecology of Knowledge.
This paper utilizes the notion of an “ecology of knowledge,” first advanced by Charles Rosenberg, to examine the broad circulation of knowledge that contributed to the articulation of computing as a coherent discipline and body of practice between the early 1900s and the end of World War II. In the early 1900s, computing comprised no unified field, but a loose agglomeration of related knowledge and practices sustained through different institutional niches for commercial accounting, scientific computation, and engineering calculation. Advances in science, new requirements of large-scale industry, along with new practices of accountability instituted through progressive reform contributed to the broad circulation of knowledge about computing. The various practices associated with computing nevertheless continued to assume disparate configurations until the centralizing influence of wartime research during World War II, and the institutional effects of the U.S. science mobilization effort. Especially within the framework of the wartime National Defense Research Committee’s Applied Mathematics Panel, certain research mathematicians came to occupy a vantage point from which they could view computing as a coherent discipline. This paper draws directly on recent advances in the sociology of science to examine the complex linkages that exist between institutions, disciplines, knowledge, practice, and material artifacts. While drawing, in part, on the notion of intercalation advanced by Peter Galison, the paper dies not focus primarily on epistemological constructions of truth, but on a much broader exchange and reconfiguration of the heterogeneous relations that sustain diverse forms of knowledge. By pursuing the account to a certain, contingent closure, sustained at least into the early postwar years, this account also provides an opportunity to examine the social and institutional circumstances that contributes to the crystallization of a coherent body of knowledge.
Amidon, Kevin S.
“A Mighty Fortress of Free Thought...”: The Biological Sciences between Discipline and Public in the 1877-78 Haeckel-Virchow Controversy.
From the time of the earliest development of the concept ‘biology’ in the later German Enlightenment, the various biological disciplines and sub-disciplines have been at the center of public debate. One nineteenth-century biological controversy stands out as particularly revealing: the tension between the evolutionist, morphologist, embryologist, and ecologist Ernst Haeckel and his one-time teacher, the pathologist, bacteriologist, anthropologist and politician Rudolf Virchow. Their disagreements exploded into professional and public view in 1877 and 1878. On the surface, Haeckel and Virchow differed primarily about the importance to biological research and teaching of evolution and its leading theory of mechanism, Darwinian natural selection. Their debate, however, reveals more deeply the biological sciences in their process of becoming aware of their own disciplinary complexity, and of their conflicted intellectual and institutional nature. Haeckel saw the biological sciences under the guidance of Darwinian evolutionary theory as a kind of incipient theory of everything, uniting the earth and its environment, all forms of life, and human activity. He believed that the biological sciences provided a thorough guide to both philosophical understanding and political activity, and spoke radically for scientific (and especially biological) leadership of political, social, and educational processes. Virchow believed that science (and especially biological science) was best served not by dominating and exploiting its links to the public sphere, but by first focusing inward on overcoming intra-scientific controversies and only then presenting the achieved knowledge to the broader public. He thus rejected Haeckel’s monistic philosophy as destructive, because he saw it as attempting to manipulate and dominate the relationship between scientific disciplines and the public, and ignoring the reciprocal relationship between them. The Haeckel-Virchow debate and its public resonance thus point to an understanding of ‘biology,’ as it developed in later nineteenth century Germany, not as a single, monolithically disciplinary ‘science,’ but rather as a dynamic field of disciplines and sub-disciplines linked to one another, to financial and political interests supporting institutions, and to a broader public by a complex and varying set of discursive conventions. The history of German biology in the nineteenth century is therefore also a part of the complex history of the development of the public sphere.
Greenhouses and Body Suits: The Challenge to Knowledge in Early Hip Replacement Surgery.
This paper will deal specifically with infection associated with early replacement surgery in orthopaedics. While much of the knowledge regarding infection was explicit in the majority of operating procedures, there was still an infection rate of approximately 10% in the early hip replacement procedures of the 1950s and 1960s. One surgeon, John Charnley considered the father of hip replacement surgery, augmented the triad system of knowledge regarding infection. He developed innovative methods to understand infection through experimentation and testing, and was able through building his knowledge about infection, design and build new systems which had an impact on operating theatre models in hospitals. This acquired ‘new’ knowledge surrounding infection in orthopaedic surgery lowered Charnley’s rates of infection and altered hip replacement surgery’s structures and procedures. The paper will examine Charnley’s work regarding infection in early hip replacement surgery and ways in which it served to increase knowledge generally surrounding infection and consider the reasons for this. How Charnley managed and used this knowledge will also be a focus as well as the long-term implications for joint replacement surgery. In essence, the paper will discuss ways in which spatial structures and procedures were altered by the reification of knowledge surrounding infection in early hip replacement surgery.
Newton’s ‘Two notable corruptions of Scripture’: the further history of a manuscript.
Most standard accounts of Newton’s research into biblical criticism often focus on one of Newton’s most polished theological texts, the “Two notable corruptions of Scripture.” However, the story generally stops in the year 1692, when Newton urged Locke to halt the publication of his text. This paper would like to suggest that Newton was actually busy with its revision — and possible publication — certainly around the year 1709 and again possibly in the early 1720s. Moreover, very soon after the first printed version of Newton’s English text was made public in 1754, a French translation was published in a London-based French journal, the Journal Britannique, thus ironically fulfilling Newton’s initial plan of having a French text published first. This publication was likely to meet at least two distinct purposes. On the one hand, it reinforced a particular version of Newtonianism. On the other hand, Newton’s aura was used to authorize a nearly heretical version of Christian articles of faith which was central to the careers and/or family biographies of several contributors to the Journal Britannique. Thus the study of the least known aspects of the history of Newton’s manuscript is likely to shed light both on Newton’s own communication strategies and on the construction of a particular branch of Newtonianism which made sense both as a reaction to the rise of deism and to the criticism of rational theology and natural philosophy.
The United Kingdom Childhood Cancer Study Group: Studies in Co-operation.
This paper considers the place of circulation, co-operation, and ‘cure’ in UK paediatric oncology since 1969.
Previous histories of paediatric oncology have exphasised the role of co-operation in the construction of research methods and professional structures. Institutional historians have studied American co-operative groups founded in the middle decades of the twentieth century, groups based in labs and then in clincal research settings, and the innovative programmes they evolved for screening chemicals for their ability to control cancerous growth, and thence combining them in search of a cure for childhood acute leukaemia.
This paper, however, takes as its subject non-elite clinicians who struggled to implement the survival-extending procedures that had been developed by the NCI and its collaborators in the big American institutions. British practitioners of paediatric oncology were witnesses of the successes being achieved by the American endeavours in the late 1960s and 1970s. This paper concerns their efforts at emulating the new model of co-operative clinical research as standard treatment for every child with cancer. British clinicians initially, individually, imported various new American protocols. With the foundation of their own professional bodies, however, they developed their own trial series, maintaining just the mechanism for changing treatment protocols: the co-operative group administering programmes of rolling clinical trials.
Bayer, Betty M.
‘Cognitive Dissonance’-- Circulating Medium for Scientific Psychology, Prophesiers, and Cultural Revolution?
In the mid-1950s in the suburban living room of pseudonymously named Mrs. Keech there congregated in the company of a tiny group of followers of her prophesied messages of the coming end of the world an undercover small group of social psychologists and graduate students. Little could either group have imagined how Mrs. Keech’s living room would become not the launching site of a much-anticipated rescuing spaceship, but rather of two far-reaching and disparate concepts and groups. ‘Mrs Keech’ as the medium of millennialist messages and of cognitive dissonance emblematized U.S. Cold War’s “crossroads zeitgeist” of the rational and irrational, the spiritual and the secular. Since its 1956 publication, the book When Prophecy Fails has left its disciplinary mooring, making its way into numerous other disciplines (religious studies, philosophy of science, economics, political science, legal theory, sociology), as well as into a variety of religious sects and cults (including ufology). It has become the subject of literary fiction and a television mini-series; the concept, a tool of late twentieth century media activism and popular culture, and, most recently, a sign characterizing the dilemma of our current cultural age. This paper offers a cultural history of this compelling original study and its subsequent circulation, an historical telling of a détournement of the modern to postmodern subject, of psychology as scientific to science as cultural, of the revolutionary new view of cognition in social psychology to psychological concepts turned activist tools of revolutionary proportions, and of the everyday as anything but the site of the ordinary.
Beaud, Jean-Pierre, and Jean-Guy Prévost
Circulating knowledge and scientific-bureaucratic cooperation : the 1920 Imperial Conference and its context.
The proposed paper will deal with the debates related to statistical cooperation between units of the British Empire in the early 20th century. At that time, there were proposals (notably from the Colonial Bureau and the 1918 Imperial War Conference) for the development of a truly Imperial statistics (i.e. a classification system which would allow for a harmonization of data collected from the various parts of the Empire) and the setting up, eventually, of an Imperial statistical bureau, in a position to coordinate statistical work done throughout the Empire. A “First Conference of Government Officers Engaged in Dealing with Statistics in the British Empire” was thus convened in London in January 1920. As a specific type of scientific-bureaucratic body of theoretical notions and practical routines that resorted to the universal language of numbers, statistics appears as a knowledge especially prone to circulation. Moreover, statistical bureaus of the commonwealths and other British possessions being in regular contact with the metropolis and drawing mainly on a “British statistical culture,” we have here an ideal case where circulation of knowledge should have (ideally) lead to common views and purposes. Yet, for a number of reasons, on theoretical as well as on practical matters, conflict was the dominant mode of the conference and centrifugal forces (expressed notably by representatives from Canada, Australia and New Zealand) have proved stronger than centripetal ones (expressed mainly by representatives of the metropolis). The purpose of the paper is to examine the complex interplay of scientific stakes, bureaucratic imperatives and geopolitical interests that eventually led to the failure of these proposals, while setting them within the larger international background before which statistics were developing at that time.
Benzaquén, Adriana S.
The Doctor, the Child, and the Mother: The Formation and Circulation of a Medical Science of Childhood in the European Enlightenment.
In the eighteenth century, in particular since the late 1740s, enlightened physicians in different parts of Europe (Cadogan and Armstrong in England, Rosen von Rosenstein in Sweden, Desessartz and Leroy in France, Ballexserd in Geneva) published works on the “management,” “conservation” and “physical education” of children. This paper will examine how these works contributed to the establishment of a medical science of childhood and how the circulation of medical knowledge called into being new roles and identities for the doctor, the child, and the parents (especially the mother). Increasingly troubled by the problem of high infant and child mortality, physicians endeavoured to understand what caused it and put forward remedies for it. Their goal was not just to diagnose and treat the diseases of children but to bring the entire domain of infant and child care under the purview of medical doctors. As they became more involved in the observation of and formulation of prescriptions for the growing infant and child, medical doctors addressed their works to administrators and staff of institutions ministering to abandoned and orphaned children, government authorities concerned with public health issues, medical students, and parents. The medical approach to child care, linked to the late-Enlightenment desire to return to a more natural form of living, assumed that to raise children according to nature it was first necessary to observe nature. Yet it was also predicated on the need to guide growth, to ensure health and wellbeing by interfering with nature. In other words, the means to follow the path of nature was to heed the advice of medicine.
Brownian Motion and Microphysical Reality c. 1900.
This paper focuses on Brownian motion research as an exemplary locus for studying the emergence of what came to be known as ‘modern’ physics and chemistry. Largely thanks to the work of Albert Einstein and Jean Perrin, the relatively marginal topic of Brownian motion was turned in the 1900s into a test case for addressing crucial questions in contemporary chemistry and physics: the nature and structure of matter, the relationship between statistical mechanics, kinetic theory and thermodynamics, and more broadly the validity of mechanical models and hypothesis in science. Brownian motion provides a means of characterising different communities’ ways of apprehending microphysical reality and the fundamental epistemological issues about the nature and practice of science which it raised in a moment of profound transformation of the physical sciences. Specifically, I will examine how Perrin and Einstein deployed theory and experiment to produce for the first time ‘visual’ evidence of the existence of atomic reality and of the statistical nature of the second law of thermodynamics, e.g. how they developed methods to establish a bridge between the micro-and macrophysical realms. The scientific social, and popular significance of Brownian motion research for different scientific communities will be investigated, exploring its role in making two young scientists, Perrin and Einstein, into representatives of the new fields of respectively physical chemistry and theoretical physics.
Boantza, Victor D.
Collecting Airs and Ideas: Joseph Priestley’s Style of Experimental Reasoning and Rhetoric.
It has often been claimed that Priestley was an ingenious experimenter but lacked the capacities to thoroughly analyze his experiments and bring them to a solid theoretical closure. Recent studies, attempting to revise this view, allude to Priestley’s “synoptic” conceptions by making recourse to convoluted analytical frameworks in attempt to link his rhetoric, metaphysics and theology with his science. According to common scholarship Priestley’s voluminous scientific literary style has been either used to interpret him as a “compulsive writer” or instrumentally employed for accusing him of “scientific innocence”. Yet a careful reading of his pneumatic manuscripts reveals a different perspective. By following his early 1770s Experiments and Observations on Different Kinds of Airs, and focusing in particular on his manipulation of nitrous air, I demonstrate that his rhetorical and methodological assumptions, far from being consequences of compulsive writing or theoretical simplicity, are deeply entwined with his chemical practice. A depiction of the way by which Priestley’s experiment, theory and literary style interrelate renders his writing as part of the experimental activity itself and marks his highly invested scientific methodology. Furthermore, by reinterpreting Priestley’s scientific thought in the Baconian-Boylean experimental context, the political-theological influence of his day notwithstanding, his intellectual debt to traditional key categories such as empiricism, skepticism and natural history is substantiated.
Mass Extinctions: Circulating Knowledge and Circulating Debates.
This paper is an investigation of the presentation, both inside and outside of academia, of the on-going debates concerning mass extinctions of life on the earth. Since the early 1980s, shortly following the landmark Alvarez article announcing impact theory, these debates have been addressed to the lay public at the same time as among professionals. This paper looks at this public debate as it has been carried out in various forums, e.g., coverage in popular science journals, full monographs written by “insider” professionals, in popular press. Finally, several concluding remarks are made relating these debates to topics in the philosophy of science.
Writing for Science: Scientists and Popular Science Writing in Early Twentieth-Century Britain.
We are often told that, in contrast with the Victorian era, early twentieth-century scientists were discouraged from writing at a popular level. Both Julian Huxley and Lancelot Hogben were warned that this activity might cost them their FRS. Only established figures such as Arthur Eddington and James Jeans could afford the luxury of writing for the public without risking their careers. In fact, however, it turns out that a large proportion of lesser-known scientists did write at a popular level and seem to have got away with it. There was a demand from publishers for “experts” to write short popular accounts of the latest developments in mass-market series such as the Home University Library and Benn’s Sixpenny Library. And because they had an educational purpose, no stigma was attached to writing in this format, as long as it was not seen to be deflecting the individual author from his (very rarely, her) research. Of course some scientists, including J. Arthur Thomson and, later on, Julian Huxley, did give up “real” science for popular writing, and their status within the professional community suffered accordingly. This paper explores the different strategies adopted by scientists who ventured into the popular science market, and offers some comments on their motivations and on how they interacted with the publishers who wanted to exploit their expertise at this level.
Alligation Alternate and The Composition of Medicines: Mathematics and Medicine in Early-Modern England.
This paper examines medical applications described in practical mathematical literature, up to the end of the seventeenth century in England. The primary mathematical operation expressly to be associated with medicine was called “alligation”, or more particularly, “alligation alternate”. This was originally put forward as a method for merchants to determine certain properties of mixtures. Most commonly the examples used to explain alligation involved grains, metals, wines or spices. While it is possible to find examples in continental arithmetics that show how apothecaries might use alligation, such examples were extremely scarce in English arithmetics. In 1650, however, Jonas Moore’s Arithmetick appeared, featuring not only a chapter on Alligation but a related chapter on “The Composition of Medicines”. Moore highlighted his “Propositions, touching the Quantities, Qualities, Resultments and Rules of Medicines” on the title-page, and in his text he claimed that these propositions were “never to my knowledge written on before”. In my paper, I examine the incidence and contexts of medical applications in earlier English arithmetical literature, and especially in the writings of Robert Record, John Dee and Edmund Wingate, to determine the extent to which Moore’s claims were justified. As it turned out, Moore’s was the first of three interesting mathematical books published in the 1650’s that contained related chapters of this kind. (These other chapters were by John Kersey and by Thomas Willsford.) The subsequent history of alligation alternate and the composition of medicines is the subject of the second half of my paper.
Onderstepoort and the Development of Veterinary Medicine in South Africa c 1908-50.
This paper looks at the contribution made by Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute to disease control in South Africa and beyond. Established on the outskirts of Pretoria in 1908 by the Swiss veterinarian, Arnold Theiler, Onderstepoort demonstrated the importance attached to the livestock industry in the aftermath of the South African War (1899-1902). The intensification of mining capitalism, especially gold extraction on the Witwatersrand, increased the demand for cheap meat to feed the migrant workers, whilst wool and mohair producers wished to enhance their export yields. Cattle also had an important economic and cultural function in African societies. Although the key political rationale behind the research carried out at Onderstepoort was to protect the interests of commercial farmers, as a corollary, veterinary initiatives introduced on settler farms, were replicated in the African locations. Containing contagious and infectious diseases required an ubiquitous veterinary regulatory effort that also extended beyond the country’s political borders.
In the early years of the institution, scientists working at Onderstepoort studied in Europe. They transferred metropolitan ideas about disease aetiology and control to the colonial periphery. Yet the growth of knowledge was not static and environmental factors enabled South African investigators to develop new lines of research. More so than in the temperate north, African tropical and sub-tropical diseases were as much attributable to insects as they were to germs or parasites. Insect vectors spread devastating cattle diseases such as East Coast fever, redwater and nagana, as well as heartwater and bluetongue amongst sheep and horsesickness between equines. By 1950 these diseases were controllable. Scientists at Onderstepoort invented blood vaccines and chemical dips to deal with tick and midge borne infections. South Africa was also the first country on the continent to make extensive use of aerial DDT spraying to eradicate an indigenous species of tsetse fly that was primarily responsible for spreading nagana. These initiatives promoted Onderstepoort as a major centre of research into sub-Saharan stock diseases. Some of the scientists who had worked at Onderstepoort became advisors to governments in other British colonies, as well as in neighbouring Portuguese East Africa and the Belgian Congo. In this way new scientific networks were created drawing upon European medical knowledge and adapting it to suit specific disease environments. Western science was no longer a phenomenon of the Northern Hemisphere; by becoming the politically hegemonic discourse of progress, it became a global knowledge system.
A Hierarchy by Any Other Name: Walter Alvarez and the ‘Spectrum’ of Scientific Disciplines.
Most scientific research occurs within the confines of a single discipline. While adherents of competing theories disagree over which theory best fits the evidence, communication itself is not a contested issue. Scientists of the same discipline share a language, a methodology, and a body of theoretical presuppositions. Rarely, however, an interdisciplinary research program will arise, and scientists from diverse fields must find ways to communicate with others who do not share these same tenets. In a 1980 Science article, a team of scientists including geophysicist Walter Alvarez argued that an asteroid hit the Earth 65 million years ago, causing the mass extinction known to have occurred at that time. This paper spawned a debate encompassing thousands of publications by hundreds of scientists from a multitude of disciplines. Participating scientists faced unprecedented challenges in communicating their discoveries and theories across disciplinary boundaries. Contested areas included the framing of research questions, the standards of evidence employed, and the qualifications of scientists of different fields in evaluating key issues within the debate. The greatest difficulties arose between impact supporters in the physical sciences (including and especially the Alvarez group), and detractors in the historical sciences (particularly vertebrate paleontologists). Alvarez recognized this issue and wrote two articles proposing strategies for surmounting these barriers. I will show that Alvarez’s suggestions, far from bridging the gap, in fact highlight the incommensurability of the physical and historical sciences in this debate, and demonstrate instead his own commitment to the methodological and theoretical presuppositions of the physical sciences. This analysis, drawn from the most interdisciplinary scientific debate of the twentieth century, has important implications for our understanding of how scientific knowledge is created and disseminated.
Mathematics on the Periphery: The Role of the Moscow Mathematical Society in the Creation of a Russian Mathematics Community.
The creation of scientific societies has been one of the primary modern avenues for the dissemination of scientific knowledge. As institutions of science, they have also played a vital role in the formation of specific disciplines. The Moscow Mathematical Society is one example of this. Founded in 1867, the Moscow Mathematical Society grew out of a desire not only to encourage continued scholarship in the field of mathematics, but also as a reciprocal tool to bring together the research of the great mathematics centers of Europe and the more peripheral work being done in the Moscow of Late Imperial Russia. As the first scientific society dedicated solely to mathematics in Russia, it also sought to build a strong cohort of mathematicians in a country which was still, in many ways, a scientific backwater. Many of the society’s founders, including one of the group’s main supporters, Academician Pavel Chebyshev (1821-1894), were certain that mathematics was a scientific field to which Russians had the greatest chance to contribute in a significant way. This paper examines the motivations and goals of those who first organized and founded the Moscow Mathematical Society. It focuses primary on how the society was organized to achieve these goals and the activities it undertook in the first twenty years of its existence. The paper also places the society in the context of the authoritarian Russian state of the late 19th century.
Institutional agendas, correspondence networks and archaeology in the Ohio Valley, 1880-1894.
Arguably the most intensive archaeological work ever performed on the prehistoric mounds and earthworks of the Ohio River Valley occurred between approximately 1880 and 1894. Vast amounts of archaeological data (artifacts, site maps, excavation descriptions, photographs, etc.) were extracted from these sites, much of which ended up at either the Smithsonian National Museum or the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology. How did it get there? Answering this question involves untangling the messy, hierarchical, and unstable nature of “correspondence networks” that were a defining characteristic of post-Civil War institutional archaeology in the United States. These networks allowed institutional centers such as the Smithsonian and the Peabody to acquire archaeological data from a distance. They facilitated the transmission of data from farmer’s fields and private relic collections to museum storage shelves and published reports, and effectively (but sometimes uneasily) linked domains of archaeological expertise with the general public. Correspondents were a heterogeneous lot made up of individuals of different experience levels and they were motivated for many different reasons. Some were paid, others were not. Some were professionals who did archaeology, a few struggled to eke out an existence of any sort, none were professional archaeologists. Correspondents frequently maneuvered about through the networks, from unpaid to paid positions, or from one institution’s network to another. On top of this, Peabody and Smithsonian projects were framed by different sorts of theoretical (and, political) agendas, meaning that correspondents were obliged to produce work that fit the framework.
J G Adami’s Croonian lectures of 1917: a McGill pathologist confronts the biologists of London.
John George Adami qualified in medicine at Manchester and in 1862 was appointed professor of pathology at McGill University. He then worked out a chemical theory of heredity, based upon Paul Ehrlich’s conception of organic molecules with active side-chains. Adami’s theory did not gain wide acceptance. At the invitation of the Royal College of Physicians of London, he delivered the Croonian Lectures in 1917. He chose the title “Adaptation and disease; the contribution of medical research to the study of evolution”. Adami believed that medical work had brought to light important facts about heredity that had not been adequately communicated to biological scientists. He used the lectures to describe this work. In particular, he emphasised findings from medical bacteriology, immunity and toxicology which supported his belief that acquired characters are inherited. At this time the medical audience at Adami’s lectures would have been generally sympathetic to the idea that acquired characters can be inherited, though many leading British biologists were not. Adami had hoped that a concise review of the medical findings would persuade the biologists to his point of view. However, the biologists were not persuaded, and there followed disputes about the inheritance of acquired characters, and other matters. The disputes did not lead to clear conclusions. This is a case of communication without resolution. Adami had been mistaken in thinking that communication of his medical findings would help to bring the differing viewpoints into alignment: something more was needed.
“Secret of Life Unveiled!”: Popular Accounts and the Synthesis of Artificial Life.
From the contested creation of electrical insects in the early nineteenth century to the alleged production of ‘radiobes’ by radium in the early twentieth, claims for the artificial production of life in the laboratory are a characteristic and regularly recurring feature in the history of biology. Intriguingly, however, even as such claims are closely tied to the putatively groundbreaking experiments they aim to interpret, they also remain by and large artifacts of the popular realm, most often expressed in evening lectures, newspaper accounts, and other forms of science journalism. In this paper, I consider these popularized and recurring claims as a phenomenon in their own right, as a particular genre of scientific discovery narratives. I examine what common features span the decades, and highlight what might be learned from these. I also suggest that, as these claims are often inextricably linked with issues concerning the nature and origin of life, such episodes grant new and different insights into contested and changing conceptualizations of life--from life-as-fundamental-unit (cell, protoplasm, gene) to life-as-process (energy, systems). I conclude by recovering some of the forgotten history of the all-too-public “secret of life” trope -- a trope that existed long before DNA -- and offer some possible roots and routes to contemporary usage. Some cases to be considered include: Crosse, Burke, Loeb, Stanley, Miller, Venter.
Charbonneau, Joanne A., and Richard E. Rice
Circulating Scientific Knowledge Between Europe and North America: The Role of Women in Physics and Chemistry Before WWI.
In the forty years prior to WWI, at least ten women from North America traveled to Europe for post-baccalaureate or post-doctoral study in physics or chemistry. Like their male counterparts, but under much more restricted conditions, these women sought advanced training in the European centers of science, primarily in Germany, but also in England and Switzerland. Two of the women studied in Europe after receiving their Ph.D. degrees in the U.S., but of the other women, only two received Ph.D. degrees from European universities as a result of their post-baccalaureate study there. Most of these women eventually received Ph.D. degrees, but they still faced the problem of how to make use of the knowledge and training they brought back with them. Except for women’s colleges, few North American institutions hired women as faculty members, and thus the vast majority of academic positions were closed to them when they returned home. We examine how these women pursued professional careers in North America and how they made use of their advanced training in spite of the obstacles they faced because of their sex.
Engagements and Disengagements: Medical Practices, Bodies and Instruments in Mexico, 1890-1915.
In 1898, a group of Mexican physicians at the National Medical Institute established Mexico’s first laboratory for experimental physiology. By introducing a conception of science as an activity based on, and legitimized by, apparatuses and utensils, this event in effect inaugurated a modern, ‘scientific’ stage of medicine in Mexico. However, some of the instruments and utensils brought from Europe for use in this laboratory could not be made to work, while others produced results quite distinct from those obtained overseas, and many were readapted for different purposes than those for which they were originally designed. By analyzing laboratory practices, especially the rules and forms of local use, this article asks why the majority of Mexican physicians found these instruments only partially useful in terms of establishing accurate standards and knowledge, and why the instrumental practices (handling, procedures) of these physicians “resisted” being dominated by such artifacts. From this perspective, the case reveals how the movement or relocation of medical practices and techniques and of instruments themselves makes necessary certain cultural and political adaptations that, in this context, brought about disjunctives among physicians, the bodies they attended and the instruments they used.
The history of science as an intellectual movement: the 1931 Second International Congress of the History of Science and Technology as a public platform for science.
Charles Singer, President of the Second International Congress held in London in 1931, envisaged the meeting as a public platform inaugurating a public intellectual movement for the history of science. Like Sarton, many of the leading figures at the congress viewed the history of science as the advocate of science in an age of scepticism. The congress was carefully designed and publicized to cultivate scientific support and political support on this basis, succeeding admirably on all counts.
However, one of the first transcontinental flights deposited unwelcome guests, a Russian delegation led by Nikolai Bukharin. His views, along with those of Boris Hessen (and to a lesser extent Rubinstein and Kolman), on the role of the history of science in shaping a ‘self-cognition of science’, linking social, historical and scientific consciousness suggested a far more radical and overtly political project.
A clash of ideas and projects occurred with far reaching and fundamentally centrifugal implications for the history of science. The controversy was public and spilled into British public and political life while the congress sat. It also crossed into scientific life in the ensuing decade. This paper charts the history of the congress, the debate, its public profile and the enduring importance of its themes. It notes the continuous misrepresentation of the significance of the congress and even the course of events in the history of science community and suggests possible reasons for this.
Clark, Constance Areson
The Cave Man, the Strenuous Life, and the Irreverent Funny Pages.
Popular images of cave men proliferated in the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Protean symbols, cave men were easily adapted to Progressive era preoccupations, and by the time of the revitalized evolution debates of the 1920s, had been fixed in a common cultural vocabulary. They acquired new cultural resonance during the evolution debates of the 1920s. This paper will argue that evolution, even for some scientists, was not simply an internal matter of arcane scientific theory. The debate was not simply about whether evolution itself was true. It was a debate about what such truth might imply. And it took place in a context in which the “pictures in people’s heads” carried complex and protean cultural associations. Just as the Scopes trial was not only about evolution, cave men were not only about human prehistory. They conversation they illustrated was about more than simply the content of science; the conversation about the human past served agendas in the human present. Cave men carried significant cultural resonance in the nineteen twenties in part because ambivalence about civilization suffused the decade. Anti-evolutionists, understanding the power and complexity of visual images on evolutionary themes, targeted scientific illustrations and museum exhibits for criticism and ridicule, and the scientists who participated in the public debate found themselves facing challenges not simply to evolution, but to their authority as “scientific men.” Scientists engaged in the public debate attempted with some success to create emended public images of cave men, but they could not control the unruly public relations of the cave man image. Cave men, like monkeys, contained multitudes of possibilities, for humor, for sarcasm, and for cultural criticism from almost every possible point of view.
Connor, J. T. H., and Michael G. Rhode
The United States Army Medical Museum as International Scientific Resource.
The United States Army Medical Museum (AMM) has received little scholarly attention--even in A. Hunter Dupree’s standard history of science and the federal government. However, created by the Surgeon General in 1862 in Washington, DC, the AMM was one of America’s first federally funded scientific institutions, acquiring sophisticated scientific apparatus and conducting innovative medical, surgical, and laboratory work. As well, the U.S. Army’s national system of forts and outposts aided its scientific mission through a network of fieldworkers who collected anatomical, biological, and anthropological specimens. Its close ties with the Library of the Surgeon General led to their merger in 1883. Using correspondence, government and other papers for the period 1860s-1920s, our paper demonstrates how the AMM circulated scientific knowledge locally with the Smithsonian Institution and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as internationally (for example, with medical scientists in Montreal, Berlin, and Vienna). Its publications and national exhibitions not only advanced scientific knowledge but also enabled its curators-all military physicians and surgeons-to attain recognition in surgery, medicine, microscopy, bibliography, photomicrography, anthropology and ornithology. It acted as both repository and clearinghouse by purchasing, loaning and circulating objects as diverse as Native American crania, fluid-preserved specimens, clinical photographs, photomicrographs, microscopical slides, mounted anatomical specimens, and medical instruments. In 1922 the International Association of Medical Museums transferred its Bureau for International Exchange of museum specimens and histological material from Montreal to the AMM in Washington. This paper thus underscores the role of museums as research centers and scientific resources, while illustrating how the exchange of specimens could turn scientific knowledge into a market commodity.
Connor, Jennifer J.
A ‘purely scientific’ Goal: Constructing an International Exchange of Biomedical Literature.
Although American research institutions such as the Smithsonian and Army Medical Museum operated international exchanges of scientific literature and objects, no comparable institution-not even the U.S. Surgeon General’s Office-established a clearinghouse for medical literature. Journals and libraries exchanged literature amongst themselves, but as medicine increasingly became research-oriented its North American leaders decided to form a society to run an exchange. By the mid-20th century, this society, the Medical Library Association (MLA), had developed a large international Exchange. Marking its growth were constant attempts to uphold a ‘purely scientific’ goal. From its formation in 1898 with Canadian and American founders (including William Osler), the MLA adopted an exclusive membership policy: only libraries open to the medical profession and holding a large number of volumes could join and use its Exchange. However, to the 1950s it successively identified specific exclusions: public libraries, sectarian medical libraries (mainly representing homoeopathy and osteopathy), so-called ‘commercial’ libraries (i.e., those of pharmaceutical companies), ‘allied science’ libraries, and the libraries of ‘colored’ medical schools. Through an analysis of society correspondence and records, this paper builds on my book Guardians of Medical Knowledge to examine the ‘purely scientific’ goal of the MLA to advance medical knowledge through a select exchange of biomedical literature to the middle of the 20th century. It demonstrates how decisions to exclude libraries rested on the perceived unscientific-or worse, profit-motive-nature of their collections. It shows how these perceptions were overcome by those excluded, while revealing how the field of medicine adopted broader definitions of its knowledge base through the process of constructing an Exchange of its literature.
Cremiere, Cedric J.
The culture of donation: The international network of naturalists of the Muséum d’histoire naturelle of Paris (Chair of Comparative anatomy) in the XIXth century.
The archives of the Laboratoire d’anatomie comparée (Laboratory of comparative anatomy) of the Muséum national d’histoire naturelle de Paris reveals a strong implication of the institution during the XIXth century in spreading paleontological ideas.
The analysis of the catalogues of plaster cast moulding from 1821 to 1880 shows that more than 7000 casts have been sent by the Laboratory to more than 200 recipients.
The first purpose of this paper is to characterize the great effort made by the institution to become a leading center in the field of Paleontology. Employing two technicians -only for moulding- the Paris Museum managed to make a donation to the naturalists or institutions that asked for all these plasters.
By demonstrating the great diversity of this network (amateurs, professionals, generalists, specialists), I show the importance of exchange of knowledge in the context of a discipline founded on the culture of objects (i.e. the collections).
I then use quantitative and qualitative methodologies to characterize the 7000 casts, and demonstrate that Paleontology remains, in its major part, “cuvierian” until the second part of the century (long after Cuvier’s death). For instance, the request of cranial anatomical casts, massively represented in the studied items, is the reflection of a large adhesion to Cuvier’s laws of correlation of forms and subordination of characters.
My study shows that such a “museum science” as Paleontology is based on a material culture embodied in collection specimens. Thus exchanges and donations constitute an essential material for the understanding of the building of knowledge of Paleontology in the XIXth century.
From Germs to Genes: Scientific authority and eugenic theory in the U. S. Supreme Court.
In 1927, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. delivered one of the most infamous opinions in the history of the United States Supreme Court. Upholding states’ power to compel the sexual sterilization of American citizens for eugenic purposes, Holmes declared that “the principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes.” The principle to which Holmes referred stems from a previous Court ruling reinforcing the constitutional authority of states to contravene individual rights for the purpose of preserving the health, safety, and morals of the broader community,--a doctrine commonly referred to as the “police powers.” In 1905, the Court’s ruling in Jacobson v. Massachusetts had upheld a state’s power to mandate smallpox vaccination during an epidemic. Over twenty years later, Justice Holmes’ opinion reflected the American eugenics movement’s conceptual paradigm likening the perpetuation of dysgenic traits to the spread of contagious disease. For eugenists, an “epidemic” of “feeble-mindedness” raging through certain segments of the American population necessitated a drastic remedy that rode roughshod over individual bodily autonomy in order to protect the health and safety of the general public. This paper examines the evolution of legal doctrine concerning bodily autonomy in the United States from 1900 to 1930, the height of the American eugenics movement. I argue that, although scientific and medical authority remained divided regarding the control of both germs and genes in this period, a series of foundational legal opinions by the U. S. Supreme Court privileged certain scientific theories and disregarded others. Thus, decisions that shaped the law in the early twentieth century served to shape science as well.
Thickening blood: the display of circulation in the eighteenth century.
At the end of the 1760s, two “anatomical machines” were completed in Naples for the nobleman Raimondo di Sangro (1710-1771), Prince of Sansevero. These anatomical machines were lifesize anatomical models that unveiled the circulatory system of the human body. Praised by travellers as masterpieces, the machines contributed to fashion di Sangro both as a Grand Tour icon and as one of the protagonists of the anatomical spectacle that was on offer in the Italian peninsula in the eighteenth century.
Eighteenth-century anatomical modelling has traditionally been located within the scope of the project of the Enlightenment and has accordingly been investigated as part of the process of institutionalisation of enlightened knowledge. As a consequence, little attention has been devoted to the different visual regimes in which anatomical models took their meaning. This paper will situate anatomical models in the context of the pluralism of visual and material practices that characterised the display of the body in the eighteenth century. In particular, it will examine anatomical models as points of intersection between Grand Tour encounters, religious ritual, and the emergence of new apparatuses for viewing and investigating the human body.
A Knowledge That Travels Often But Not Well.
Studies addressing the circulation of psychological knowledge have tended to be of two kinds: Those concerned with “popularization” and those concerned with “internationalization”. These literatures have largely remained distinct, but to do justice to the problematics of the topic one needs a combination of their varying perspectives. Psychological knowledge always traveled, both horizontally across the globe, and “vertically” between professional and lay sub-cultures. These travels were not independent of each other. They have seldom been circular, more often unidirectional. Rarely has any kind of transport left the conveyed knowledge unchanged. Examples and reasons for these observations are discussed in the paper.
Davis, Edward B.
Popularizing Elite Views on Science and Religion: Religious Pamphlets by Leading Scientists in the 1920s.
In February 1922, William Jennings Bryan’s popular assault on evolution went upscale, when the New York Times published his essay, “God and Evolution.” Responding to Bryan, several leading scientists, including two Nobel laureates and five AAAS presidents, joined forces with liberal Protestant theologians and clergy to popularize their “modern” religious views on science through a series of “Popular Religion Leaflets” on “Science and Religion.” Published by a correspondence arm of the University of Chicago Divinity School, the shirt-pocket-sized pamphlets were underwritten by the AAAS and dozens of individual scientists in partnership with John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Although they were sent to every state and federal legislator and every high school principal in the United States and distributed by the tens of thousands to students, clergy, and church members, the pamphlets are virtually unknown today. This paper, which traces the history of the pamphlets, relates closely to the following conference theme: the circulation of scientific knowledge between expert practitioners and public audiences. It focuses on the efforts of a group of elite scientists to publicize widely their views on the relationship between science and religion.
De Young, Gregg
Gerard Of Cremona’s Translation Of Euclid’s Elements In Relation To Its Arabic Antecedents.
Gerard of Cremona (1114?-1187) has been credited with a remarkable number of Latin translations from the Arabic. One of several important mathematical treatises attributed to his efforts is a Latin version of Euclid’s Elements. The text of this translation has been edited and published by H. L. L. Busard. His introduction to the edition, based primarily on comparisons with the evidence of other Latin translations (especially those of Adelard of Bath and Hermann of Carinthia), correctly suggests that Gerard’s translation derives from the Ishaq-Thabit Arabic version, while the other Latin translations seem more closely allied to earlier and now lost Arabic versions ascribed to al-Hajjaj. Preliminary studies indicate that it is nearly impossible to find a one-to-one correspondence between any of the Latin translations and surviving Arabic manuscripts, which all derive from the Ishaq-Thabit version. This study depends on a careful comparison between the published Latin text of Gerard and the surviving Arabic manuscripts and other Arabic materials. It becomes clear that the Arabic foundation for Gerard’s translation is a mixture of the various Arabic manuscript traditions. Thus we are able to offer substantial refinements to Busard’s general conclusions.
An Australian history of the neutron.
The neutron has been chronicled as the history of a discovery between 1920-32 central to the establishment of nuclear physics. Previously unchronicled is the history of the neutron as a vague and changing scientific concept sustained by Australasian physicists between 1899-1950s. The neutron was kept alive and multiplied by acts of geographical displacement, common identity and public interest that characterised settler physics. This invites revision of Australia’s nuclear history in which nuclear physics would not be considered a foreign impost but an Australian export.
Circulating Knowledge Between Natural Philosophy and
Utility in the Scientific Revolution.
Much of the rhetoric surrounding new forms of natural philosophy in 16th and 17th-century Europe stressed the need for practical utility to attend the intellectual work of natural philosophy. This paper examines the ways in which the often-conflicting desiderata of philosophical comprehension and operational capability were sewn together in the philosophical arguments and apologiae of the period.
Double Blind Trust: Experimental Research and Psychotropic Drugs.
In the early 20th century, the unwanted side effects of psychotropic drugs such as heroin induced government interference with the drug market and the condition of experimental proof of efficacy and safety. However, the condition of experimental proof did not only control pharmaceutical industry: It also significantly enhanced its interests. I argue that some shared assumptions of experimental science and biopsychiatry stimulated the dramatic growth of psychiatric problems and the consumption of psychiatric drugs. I also go into a growing countermovement. As the standard definition of ‘true knowledge’ disregards the self reports on depression and on the side effects of psychotropic substances, patients now massively unite on the internet. In correspondences, public diaries, and cartoons they convey their fear and anger about biopsychiatry and experimental science alike.
Double Agents: Knowledge and Knowledge-Producers in Atlantic Circulation.
Entrepreneurial cross-colonial travel and the re-fashioning of knowledge and its bearer are themes in the cultural geography of extra-European science that emerge from the career of Edward Bancroft, a New England physician who journeyed to the British West Indies and lived and worked in Dutch Guiana, before establishing himself in London as a Fellow of the Royal Society in the early 1770s (with some help from Benjamin Franklin). In Bancroft’s case, both knowledge and the knowledge-producer circulated not as the agents of an imperial metropolis, but as free if contingent agents in their own right. The paper explores the interaction between the multiple roles Bancroft himself played (creole plantation physician, colonial natural historian, metropolitan philosopher, novelist and magazine editor, diplomat, spy) and the several uses to which he put his knowledge of Guiana’s nature (experimenting with electric eels, describing and circulating exotic specimens, using dyes and poisons). Rather than a nationally bounded narrative of science and empire, conventionally defined by centre-periphery relationships, Bancroft’s career illuminates the role of commercial and entrepreneurial energies and international itineraries in the circulation of knowledge in the 18th-century North Atlantic, as well as the strategies by which colonial knowledge-producers could ultimately turn their knowledge and themselves to metropolitan advantage.
Della Faille De Leverghem, Dimitri
Representations of Latin America in North American Sociology (1945-1970).
During the Cold War, Social Sciences have been used for many purposes by the US government. Some cases are well documented; they involve sociologists, economists, anthropologists, psychologists and political scientists. As their disclosure provoked controversy, most of theses cases raised important ethical questions. In fact some Social scientists acted as spies or their work was used for anti-insurrectional purposes. On the other hand, the politics of Cold War greatly affected the dynamics of general research in Social Science. After WWII, all the sudden, some parts of the globe, such as Latin America, became an increasing topic of interest for the US foreign policy. In the context of these rising concerns by governmental agencies and private foundations, some fields of study (with their own ways to conduct and envisage research. i.e. Area and International Studies) received large funding; this therefore changed the face of Social Sciences.
In our communication, we will present early results of our study of five scholarly journals in Sociology. We performed computer assisted text analysis on the several thousands of abstracts the American Journal of Sociology, the American Sociological Review, the Journal of Social Forces, the Journal of Social Issues, and the Public Opinion Quarterly published for the period of 1945 to 1970. Our study shows how Sociology represents a region, Latin America, during a period this region has seen international scientific interest fluctuate with the political agenda of the US.
Dennis, Michael A.
Libraries, laboratories, weapons and scientists: history of science goes to war!
World War II saw the destruction of the great historiographic revolution of the 1930s. Where the few practicing historians and sociologists of science had once seen intimate connections between science and war as well as economic development, the postwar era saw the nearly wholesale erasure and condemnation of such work. What happened? This paper addresses the role of the history of science in World War II through an examination of the History Department of the US Office of Scientific Research and Development. The official histories produced by this office remain among the standard works for understanding the role of science in World War II, yet the volumes were not seen as simple chronicles of wartime successes. Instead, the books were part of a political project to transform the federal government into the dominant patron of postwar science and technology. In turn, the volumes produced a set of representations about the practice of science that continue to play a role in the public image of science, technology and warfare.
Instincts and integration: McDougall’s attempt to unify the social sciences.
Instinct psychology, once a thriving and influential school of psychology, has been all but erased from the story of psychology. Such is the extent of its banishment, that even evolutionary psychologists, whose own program is in many ways remarkably similar to that of the instinct psychologists, fail to mention it in their genealogy. Yet instinct psychology was, in the first three decades of the 20th century, a major force in psychology. William McDougall’s Introduction to Social Psychology, the leading exposition of instinct psychology, had reached its 22nd edition by 1931. Instinct psychology however did not survive the rise of behaviorism and the barrage of logical and theoretical arguments that were levelled against it. It became the stock example of a ‘bad psychology’, full of pseudo-explanations and unnecesary mentalistic assumptions. But instinct psychology, in particular McDougall’s version, was also a program to unify the social sciences and ground them in biology. The importance of this task was a central argument for instinct psychology, otherwise poorly supported by evidence. In my paper I will focus on this aspect of instinct psychology and put it in the context of contemporary views on the relations between biology, psychology and the social sciences. I will explore to what extent the Instinct Debate of the 1920’s can be described as one between different disciplinary projects for psychology and the social sciences, rather than as a clash between two schools of psychology.
DeVorkin, David H.
“A monthly classification of the state of astronomy”: Henry Norris Russell’s column for Scientific American.
For over forty years starting in 1900, the Princeton astronomer Henry Norris Russell wrote a regular column on astronomy for Scientific American. He started it while still a graduate student, providing commentary to illuminate a simple star map that guided readers to look for interesting things in the sky. He soon established it as a political platform for discussing contemporary themes and trends in astronomy, ranging from the reality of the canals of Mars to where in the Universe one would have to travel to sense directly the effects of Einstein's physics, to where on Earth astronomers should put new large telescopes. Russell employed his column not only to explain astronomical events and concepts to a broader audience, but also to support programs and efforts at observatories he favored around the nation. As a result, Russell became one of the most “visible” American astronomers of the first half of the twentieth century, and used this visibility to paint a particular portrait of the practice of astronomy. Here I will examine Russell’s picture of astronomy and discuss the degree to which social factors like the source of motivation to do science, preserving and increasing patronage, and regard for the importance of public acceptance, played a part in crafting his portrait.
Digrius, Dawn M.
Seeing More Clearly: Microscopy and European Paleobotany in the Nineteenth Century, 1831-1868.
This paper examines the role of microscopy in the developing science of paleobotany; what was observed in the plant fossils collected; how scientists observed plant fossils; the intellectual and cultural environments in which the practice of paleobotany developed in France, Germany and England. The ultimate goal of this project is to discuss the production, dispersion, and transmission of scientific knowledge within paleobotany and how the social relationships, equipment, and theoretical and methodological paradigms European paleobotanists utilized influenced the practice of paleobotany during the years 1831 to 1868.
The Geometry of the Principia: Understanding Newton’s Public Claims in the Preface.
That Newton’s Principia mathematica contributed to and perhaps even solidified the seventeenth century movement to “mathematize” nature is rarely disputed. At the same time, the precise nature of the mathematics Newton brings to bear on natural motions and forces remains an issue of debate. For even though geometry is touted as the formalism proper to rational mechanics in the Preface to the Principia, scholars continue to search for (and find!) apparent applications of the more advanced formalism of the calculus in the three book work. Without discounting the merits of such projects, it appears that further penetration into Newton’s prefatory remarks concerning the status of geometry will serve us well in our attempts to understand the nature of Newton’s “mathematization.” Specifically, I believe we must turn our attention to those unpublished manuscripts in which Newton provides a more detailed account of how geometry is to be practiced and how it is to be taught in order to more fully appreciate his public remarks on the use of geometry in natural philosophy. Considering in particular those pragmatic aspects of geometrical practice that Newton highlights in the Preface brings us to a deeper appreciation for why Newton believes his “geometrization” of nature is warranted.
Finding Fossils and Building Reputations: John William Dawson, Charles Lyell and the Joggins Fossil Beds.
The Joggins fossil cliffs of Nova Scotia were the scene of a major geological discovery in 1852. Charles Lyell and his local correspondent, William Dawson, found evidence of the existence of advanced animal life during the Carboniferous. This extended the origins of life on Earth to an earlier period than had been supposed and provided support for Lyell’s claims of the antiquity of the Earth which he needed for his uniformitarian geological theory. The Joggins fossils were also the basis of William Dawson’s reputation. His interpretation of their origins laid the foundation for his reputation as one of Canada’s foremost geologists. Dawson suggested that they had been formed when the hollow fossil tree stumps they were encased in had trapped unwary animals, which then died and were preserved inside them. This insight is usually presented as a masterpiece of geological reasoning, inferring successive erosion and deposition cycles. However, Dawson’s inspiration actually derived from a more immediate source, his own subsequent examination of a submerged forest undergoing fossilization. Yet, he did not explicitly use this observation to support his interpretation of this phenomenon in constructing an explanation for the origins of the Joggins fossils. His reticence reveals the relationship between fieldwork, geography and scientific reputation in the international Victorian geological community.
Smashing inquiries: railway accidents and their statistics in mid-19th century Britain.
My paper examines railway accidents in Britain in the period 1850-1875. In particular, I am interested in showing how the generation of accidents statistics was crucial in defining the railway in Britain. While past studies of accidents have focused on the traumatic effects of crashes on the bodies and minds of 19th century travellers, I emphasize the development of statistics as a tool for transforming exceptional ruptures into categorizable events. Railway accidents provide rich source material. Detailed coroner’s inquest proceedings were reported in local and national newspapers, railway companies were required to report their own accident returns, and Board of Trade accident inquiry reports were filed for hundreds of accidents a year. I use these sources to provide close comparative readings of several accidents. These sources do not support a simple story of a new form of knowledge-making (the government report)supplanting an old one (the inquest). Instead, I identify a negotiation between idioms in which moral and technological causes were sorted according to different criteria. While undoubtedly traumatic, accidents were also constitutive of the very systems they seemed to threaten, providing vivid glimpses into the changing nature of responsibility in mid-19th century Britain.
George Allman (1812-1898): Protoplasm and the Individual.
In his presidential inaugural address to the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1879, Allman chose to discuss the concept of protoplasm as the basic unit of biological function. While the presentation was a review of current thought on the nature of the vital essence, Allman’s interpretation can be traced to his observations on the colonial hydroids, particularly his work on Agloaphenia pluma (Lamarck 1758) fifteen years earlier. His attribution of amoeboid movement to protoplasm of the nematophores was based on a conceptual and empirical error, the failure to recognize nematophores as defensive members of the colony. This paper will trace Allman’s observations on “protoplasm” and the influence of his concept of the individual on his observations. The historiography of laboratory observation to public lecture will be presented in the context of the debates about the nature of life and the individual in the emerging biology of the mid-nineteenth century. Studies such as Allman’s on the colonial hydroids yeilded rich observations on the individual and generated questions about the nature of the organism that resulted in public debate about the biological and social aspects of individuality.
Science, Spectacle, and Fears of Contamination: Mesmerism in Mid-nineteenth Century Britain.
In the 1830s and 40s, the aspiring science of mesmerism (a precursor of hypnotism) had attracted the interest of a variety of people in Britain: medical practitioners, scientific gentlemen, traveling lecturers, and performers. These different groups wanted to experiment with mesmerism and find practical applications that would benefit them professionally and/or monetarily. They disagreed, however, about what kinds of experiments were acceptable and who was qualified to perform them. The major reason for this dispute was not the differences in their scientific theories. Rather, mesmeric practitioners who hoped for respectability in the eyes of their scientific colleagues feared that the study of mesmerism could be contaminated by popular demonstrations and lectures: they felt that association with public spectacle would compromise the purity of their own experiments. Medical practitioners and scientific gentlemen who were interested in mesmerism, feared that unscientific public experiments performed by uneducated or unqualified mesmerists could contaminate their scientific pursuits in many ways: by associating mesmerism with inept scientific experiments, with greed, or with the deception and charlatanism that was often linked with entertainment. They argued that premature public experiments could ruin mesmerism’s reputation, because the failure of one experiment due to miscalculation or lack of preparation might lead the public, and, more importantly, the scientific community, to condemn all aspects of the aspiring science. They argued that if mesmeric lecturers or performers profited from mesmerism, then mesmerism’s reputation could be contaminated, because the public and scientists would judge mesmerists to be interested. They especially feared that mesmerism’s reputation would be ruined by commingling science and entertainment, arguing that entertainers who meddled in the medicine or science were always charlatans.
Economou, Pete N.
Emil Kraepelin’s Textbook of Psychiatry and the Circulation of Scientific Knowledge.
Emil Kraepelin (1856 1926) is regarded to be the “grandfather” of clinical psychiatry and experimental psychopathology (Zubin, cited in Kraepelin, 1987, p. vii) with the “focus” of his work residing in the detailed descriptive nosology (classification) and diagnoses of “psychiatric clinical syndromes” (Hippius, Peters & Ploog, 1983, cited in Kraepelin, 1987, p. ix). In 1883, he was encouraged by Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920) to write a small handbook, Compendium der Psychiatrie. Zum Gebrauche für Studirende und Aerzte (Compendium of Psychiatry for the use of Students and Physicians). Kraepelin, who had studied physiological psychology (experimental psychology) with Wundt, and worked in his laboratory in Leipzig (1982-83) (Kraepelin, 1987), “attempted to do for mental disorders what Wundt attempted to do for sensations classify them” (Hergenhahn, 1992, p. 439).
This paper is intended as an elucidation on how this small and reluctantly written handbook contributed to both the history of psychology and psychiatry by introducing the premise of Wundtian experimental psychology into the clinic (Zubin, cited in Kraepelin, 1987) as a “major scientific tool” to understand and delineate mental disorders (experimental psychopathology) (Berrios & Porter, 1995), bringing order to a chaotic mass of nineteenth-century clinical observations (Thompson, 1987) and standardizing the categories of mental disorders into universal scientific knowledge by making communication about them more precise (Hergenhahn, 1992). Kraepelin’s Compendium der Psychiatrie. Zum Gebrauche für Studirende und Aerzte expanded into the largest and most influential textbook of Psychiatry, which went through nine editions between 1883 (380 pages) and 1927 (3048 pages). In other words, because of its “simplicity, coherence and homogeneity” (Webber & Engstrom, 1997, p. 375) it was a clear and informative presentation of the field of psychiatry (Kraepelin, 1971/ 1919) or arguably the psychologically best-founded introduction to the field of psychiatry (Meyer, 1926) having a strong impact on the development of European clinical psychiatry and a far reaching influence in the era of psychiatric prognosis and prophylaxis in North America (Winchell, 1991).
The Multiple Circuits of Eighteenth-Century Cartographic Knowledge: Colony/Metropolis, Manuscript/Print, ‘Private’/Public.
Manuscript maps have generally been treated as the poor relations of printed maps. They have been construed as the first, unrefined stages of geographical images which are destined to be printed and, potentially, disseminated far and wide. In terms of the eighteenth-century mapping of the North American colonies, such presumptions have given rise to a simple model of information flow across the Atlantic, from manuscript maps prepared in the colonies to printed maps prepared in the metropolitan centers of London and Paris. It is evident, however, that this model is quite simplistic when we examine closely the practices whereby geographical maps of the colonies were produced, circulated, and consumed on both sides of the Atlantic. Then, three intersecting domains of geographical practice can be discerned, each characterized by particular social and material conditions. In the governmental domain, administrators commissioned “mathematical practitioners” to prepare maps for precise administrative purposes; such commissions generated the majority of new geographical representations. In the intellectual domain, individuals with a private interest in geography prepared and shared maps within a small circuit of like-minded fellows, often drawing on maps made originally for government purposes. Both domains functioned in manuscript, but their participants were also significant consumers of the third, public domain of printed geography. In the public domain, the marketplace connected the craftsmen who printed maps to the government officials, educated gentry and professionals, and the general public who consumed them. This presentation explores these domains and their interrelations on both sides of the Atlantic, through the particular case example of the mapping of colonial New England. It first examines the government domain, identifying precise circuits of manuscript mapping on either side of the Atlantic, connected by the flow of some manuscripts from the colonies to the metropolis, and by a shared consumption through the marketplace (such as it was in colonial North America) of printed maps. It then explores the hesitant trajectory taken by a particular geographical image — William Douglass’s Plan of the British Dominions of New England — from the government domain and into the intellectual domain in Massachusetts Bay, and then into the intellectual and public domains in London (where it was published in mid-1755). The result is a complex picture of the circulation of knowledge, the particular circuits being regulated by their own logic but with utterly contingent interconnections between them.
Eigen, Joel Peter
Delusion’s Odyssey: Charting Victorian Psychiatry’s Journey in the English Courtroom.
Although the concept of delusion has been part of Western medicine since at least Aristotle, only in l800 did the notion of circumscribed derangement a fatal misreading of sensory stimuli restricted to a particular subject make its entrance into the common law. In time, delusive belief would become the term most frequently invoked by the evolving profession of forensic psychiatry; its claim to ‘pierce the smokescreen of sanity’ was in fact a centerpiece of Victorian medicine’s assertion of a unique understanding of madness. As medical witnesses participated in ever-increasing numbers in the English insanity trial, however, the traditional medico-legal conception of delusion began to chafe. Judicial attitudes continued to embrace insanity as a cognitive error (only); medical opinion, on the other hand, broadened its scope to include an array of infirmities - irresistible impulse, ‘lesion of the will’ - that left intellectual faculties in tact. Courtroom efforts to restrict medical witnesses to perceptual and cognitive errors increasingly confronted professionally adventurous medical witnesses who managed to align delusion with an array of affective states of derangement, appearing to honor the law’s criterion of delusion while at the same time introducing into testimony the more ambitious categories of emotional upheaval and autonomous reflexes. These defects of volition directly engaged wider cultural phenomena associated with mesmerism, somnambulism, and animal magnetism. The proposed paper will examine a series of insanity trials in London’s central criminal court, the Old Bailey, which illustrate the changing uses to which delusion was put in the pivotal years just before and just after the celebrated McNaughtan trial (l843). Analysis of verbatim courtroom narratives will illustrate how delusion so pivotal to forensic medicine’s initial acceptance as a form of expert testimony - was refashioned by an array of medical witnesses to incorporate the Victorian era’s metaphors and images of automatic behavior and a loss of self-control. In the process, delusion came to be seen not only as an idée fixe but as altered temperament, paving the way for a conception of doubled personality.
Questions incarnate: exemplar invertebrates and mid-century Victorian biology.
In British anatomical and physiological researches of the 1830s, 40s and 50s, as well as in textbooks of that period, there recur accounts of specific invertebrates. These include tapeworms and earthworms, leeches and naids, sertularian polyps and planarians. These accounts often featured the interaction of a past researcher with these organisms: thus Charles Bonnet and his experiments on “virgin-birth” aphids; Adelbert von Chamisso and his observation on salps; Antoine Dugès and his mutilation of regenerating leeches and planarians; and, most frequently, Abraham Trembley and his mutilations of the freshwater polyp (<i>Hydra</i>). It was explicitly assumed that competent naturalists would be familiar with these researcher-animal interactions; indeed, certain authors would apologize if they felt it necessary to describe a particular interaction in detail. This paper is unconcerned with what “actually happened” between the original (usually foreign) naturalist and the organism; instead it examines how these accounts were used as <i>resources</i> by British researchers and educators. As these accounts were told and re-told, not only did they act as lessons, but they also became a sort of shorthand for particular physiological or morphological problems. Certain exemplars therefore became a useful place for rising researchers to make their reputation: the exemplars could often be reinterpreted and be turned into shorthand for <i>different</i> physiological or morphological perspectives. My examples include T.H. Huxley’s 1850s reinterpretation and dissemination of two such exemplars. Where the salp and the aphid initially represented only the problem of compound individuality for researchers, in Huxley’s retelling these two organisms also became instances of a developmentalist, “palaetiological”, view.
The Vagaries of a Rafinesque: classifying naturalists in early nineteenth-century America.
This paper deals with the life and posthumous reputation of Samuel Constantine Rafinesque (1783-1840), the Turkish-born American naturalist renowned for his “eccentricity”. It examines why and how Rafinesque became a by-word for bad -- and even mad -- classification over the century following his death, by asking who needed to portray Rafinesque as being of unsound mind and why. To understand Rafinesque’s work and its fate, it is important to situate it within the ferment in natural historical classification systems that was going in Europe at the time, while simultaneously understanding Rafinesque as a patriotic American naturalist resisting metropolitan claims to hegemony over the North American flora and fauna.
Alfred R. Wallace’s Evolutionary Philosophy: The North American Connection—William James and Charles Peirce.
This paper will focus on Alfred Russel Wallace’s central role in the circulation of knowledge between North America and Europe during the late Victorian period, with emphasis on the knowledge flow between science and other cultural domains and between expert practitioners and public audiences. Wallace is central in these processes since he had an active correspondence with prominent North American thinkers on subjects ranging from evolutionary biology, philosophy, and sociopolitical reform.
Wallace also made a one-year tour of America and Canada from 1886-1887, during which he lectured both formally and informally to expert as well as lay audiences. This paper will explore relatively little-known, but important, links between Wallace and Charles Sanders Peirce, William James, and the political radical Henry George. It will be demonstrated that Wallace’s integration of evolutionary biology, theistic teleology, and a passion for improving the human condition by radical changes in the social and political landscape was shared by many individuals on both sides of the Atlantic.
This paper will also suggest that the very reasons that Wallace’s eclectic and broad view of human evolution attracted many followers in the late Victorian period, caused his reputation to suffer among historians of science in the twentieth century—who felt that such admixing of ostensibly discrete domains of knowledge made Wallace an example of how a “professional scientist” should not behave. The paper will conclude with some remarks on why the contextualist history of science of the past two decades has created a renewed, and growing, interest in Wallace’s multi-faceted approach to the question of humans in nature and society.
The Circulation of Scientific Practical Knowledge : Photographic Skills in Scientific Practice in France, 1870-1900.
Since the publication of the daguerreotype by François Arago in 1839, photography had been described as a promising instrument for the production of scientific knowledge. At the beginning of the Third Republic, equal enthusiasm was shown, limited though by the acknowledgement that the word “promising” had still to be used. Lamenting scientists’ lack of interest in photography, its promoters tried to foster the idea that the teaching of a comprehensive body of knowledge, “photography science”, had to be founded by the state. As a result, they tended to overlook that photography was already circulating among scientists informally, if not in the shape they wished for. Photographic prints, correspondence, published reports provide evidence of exchanges not only within laboratories or research fields, but also among members of scientific expeditions and laboratories working in different disciplines. In order to understand how some scientists came to use photography in their everyday work, it seems useful to explore the structures where these exchanges took place and to assess the role of different factors in the enhancement of the circulation of practical knowledge : the building of new teaching and research facilities, the introduction of practicals into courses and the growth of doctoral studies, the development of scientific expeditions and of a specific training in fieldwork methods, without omitting the spread of amateur photographic practice. More generally, this paper explores how the knowledge necessary to use a new technology which does not exclusively belong to the scientific sphere circulates among scientists and how teaching and research methods, amateur and professional practices interact in this process.
Fleck, Christian, and Werner Reichmann
A collective biography (prosopography) of German-speaking sociologists.
Authors who focused on the development of sociology in Germany in the 20th century agreed that sociology came to an abrupt end with the Nazi takeover in 1933 and the forced emigration of practically all well-known and productive sociologists. Nevertheless we know that some German sociologists remained at home. Studies about the refugee scholars seldom differentiate between former Austrians and former Germans. The paper examines both refugees and remainders from Austria and Germany with regard to their background and their received recognition.
Common readers and intelligent laymen? Penguins and Pelican specials in mid-20th century Britain.
The notion of the ‘common reader’ or the ‘intelligent layman’ had its final flowering in mid-20th century Britain. The idea formed a convenient shorthand for publishers, authors and others concerned with the presentation of science to a non-specialist audience. Debates about the decay of reading, both in the 1930s and later, served as much to emphasize widespread assumptions about the existence of an audience who were both interested in and able to comprehend complex scientific questions, for example, about the nature of atoms and the latest atomic research, so long as they were clearly expressed in non-technical language. This paper will explore aspects of the construction of the idea of the intelligent layman through an examination of paperback books on science, in particular Penguin books. Penguin’s Pelican series was conceived as the intelligent person’s guide to specialist subjects or to troubling moral and political questions at a time of international crisis. The role of science in the series has however received little attention. The paper will examine how scientific subjects and their authors were chosen and treated; and explore shifts during and immediately after the Second World War when questions surrounding atomic physics began to dominate scientific debate. The idea of the intelligent layman may have been a convenient fiction, but can also serve as a means of examining the thorny problem of reader-response and the place of popular science writing in the mid 20th century.
The Order of Nature and the Order of Language: Thomas Reid on the Semiotics of Perception.
From early in the Inquiry into the Human Mind (1764), Reid argued that the operation of the external senses did not give rise directly to a perception but rather that the external senses provided suggestions that were taken as perceptions. The term “suggestion” appeared early in the Inquiry, and in subsequent discussion, the term tended to appear in conjunction with the term “sign”. Signs were identified with sensations. Sensations qua signs not only “signified” external objects but also “suggested” perceptions. Reid claims that there are “artificial signs” or signs of language and “natural signs” that are signs of causal relations, human intentions and original perceptions of the primary qualities of matter. Many Reid commentators have traced the origins of Reid’s account of signs to the work of John Locke and George Berkeley, but this paper argues that there also may be a Stoic influence on Reid’s account. The Stoics’ explanation of sign-signified relationships was that signs corresponded to rational perceptions (logike phantasiai) that were sayable (lekta). The paper argues that understanding Reid’s account of signs in Stoic terms leads towards an interpretation of Reid in which there is a semiotic or linguistic relation between signs and the external world, and between signs and perceptions in the mind.
From Dartmouth to Paris and back: the birth and development of AI and Structuralism.
The paper will examine a specific instance of knowledge circulation that occurred in the 1950s and involved two different research programs based, respectively, in North America and France. On the one hand, the research in Artificial Intelligence that originated with (especially) H. Simon and A. Newell, and on the other, the Structuralist program in anthropology that originated with Cl. Lévi-Strauss. My contribution will provide an account of how both programs fashioned their basic conceptual tools through the different appropriations of a shared set of a broad, and largely overlapping scientific background which included (beyond formal logic and structural linguistics) game theory, abstract algebra, communication theory, and cybernetics.
These two programs are usually considered to have little in common because: (1) Structuralism is viewed as a rationalist “philosophical” endeavour that strives to provide a general understanding of “Man,” while AI is considered a technical discipline fully focused on the production of artefacts (in fact, a branch of computer science); (2) AI’s main formal ingredients came from formal logic (esp. A. Church) and theory of computation (Turing 1936, 1950), while Structuralism’s only formal antecedent was de Saussure’s linguistic theory (de Saussure); and (3) that AI’s research is conducted in close collaboration with research in philosophy (and especially in the philosophy of mind), while Structuralism has always had a very antagonistic relationship with philosophy (Lévi-Strauss 1962, 1963, Foucault 1966).
On the contrary, I intend to show that (1) AI and Structuralism shared a wide set of assumptions about their respective goals, insofar as they both began as essentially non-technical research efforts that strove to constitute general theories of human rationality and human nature; and (2) that the undeniable difference between their respective paths to goal depended, to a large extent, on the interaction between their local philosophical context and the application of the formal tools they both relied upon.
Where Are The Neutrinos? The Early History of the Solar Neutrino Problem.
In this paper I will discuss the early experiments whose results led to the “solar neutrino problem,” the fact that the observed number of solar neutrinos was far less than that predicted by the Standard Solar Model. The history begins with the 1968 Homestake Mine experiment of Raymond Davis and collaborators, which initially found a neutrino flux approximately one third that predicted by what became the Standard Solar Model calculated John Bahcall and collaborators. Over the next twenty years, despite improvements in both the experiment and the theoretical calculations, the discrepancy remained. At about this time three other experiments using different techniques, the Soviet-American Gallium Experiment (SAGE), the Gallex experiment, a European collaboration, and the Japanese Kamiokonde experiment, all confirmed the problem. I will begin by briefly discussing the early history of the neutrino, including the experiments in France, England, and Germany that led to its suggestion by Pauli, the early indirect evidence for it, and the first experimental demonstration of its existence by Reines and Cowan in the United States. As one can see it was the collaborative work of scientists in many countries that led both to the proposal of the neutrino and to the “solar neutrino problem.”
Bringing British popular science to America: the role of technology in the negotiations of W&R Chambers.
The Edinburgh publishers, W&R Chambers, were pioneers in the use of new publishing technologies to print cheap works of popular science (and other non-fiction subjects) for a working-class audience. As they expanded their ambitions from Edinburgh, to Scotland, to the United Kingdom, to the colonies, it was not surprising that they also considered the possibilities of the large English-speaking population of the United States. Yet, in the absence of any Anglo-American copyright law, negotiating with American publishers was a tricky business. Chambers had to rely upon American publishers’ judgements about what would sell, and in what format, even though they differed from Chambers’s own thoughts. This paper examines the first decades of Chambers’s American networks (1840s-1850s), and places particular emphasis on the role of technologies (e.g. of transport, of printing) in aiding and hindering the attempt to bring British popular science publications to the American market.