Garber, Janet Bell
New Knowledge shared between Tasmania and the English as reported in the Journal of the Tasmanian Royal Society of Science, 1839-1849.
While Governor of Tasmania (1837-1843) between explorations of the Arctic, John Franklin and his wife Jane founded the first Royal Society of Science outside the British Isles, and began to publish its journal. Volume I appeared in 1839, and two more in 1846 and 1849, after the Franklins had departed. The journal is rare today and not widely known. The excitement of discovery is reflected in reports by residents and visiting scientists calling at Hobart who attended meetings of the society. the Ross-Crozier Magnetical Observation Expedition, botanist Joseph Hooker, and ornithologist John Gould were among the visitors. The journal also published studies of their discoveries by experts in London and reports of those discoveries made at meetings of scientific societies at “home”
Drawing a line between Science and Pseudo-Science: Reactions of Amateurs and Professionals to the ‘Flat-Earth’ Campaign, 1850-1880.
The flat-earth campaign is a rich topic, hitherto neglected by historians of science. Largely the creation of quack inventor Samuel Birley Rowbotham (1816-1884), from the 1840s his unorthodox doctrine was expounded in publications and lectures at philosophical societies, atheneaums and mechanics’ institutes throughout Britain. Due to their persuasive and ingenious arguments, Rowbotham and his followers could appear to be credible sources of authoritative knowledge to the uneducated. Indeed, one man of science estimated that ‘thousands’ were duped into believing their ‘gross false statements.’ This paper proposes to investigate the reactions of amateurs and professionals to the flat-earth campaign in the period 1850-1880. It will show that the backlash involved a broad spectrum of individuals united by a common desire to promote the public understanding of science. The responses of eminent men such as Augustus de Morgan, George Biddel Airy, Alfred Russel Wallace and Richard Anthony Proctor will be discussed and compared to those of amateur astronomers, provincial schoolmasters and clergymen. The paper will also illustrate the range of approaches adopted to tackle this direct challenge to scientific authority, highlighting the ways in which knowledge is produced, popularised and contested in a broad social context by a variety of interests.
Spheres of Influence: Illustration, Notation, and John Dalton’s Conceptual Toolbox, 1803-1835.
John Dalton’s landmark work, A New System of Chemical Philosophy (1808, 1810, and 1827) is remarkable among chemical treatises of the period for its liberal use of strange, schematic illustrations representing the objects and processes about which Dalton hypothesized. Most notable among these objects were, of course, atoms, envisioned by Dalton as solid particles surrounded by an atmosphere of heat in the form of caloric. Dalton had a lifelong interest in meteorology, and “atmosphere”, variously understood, played a central role in the development and communication of his system of chemistry. His conceptual use and depictions of atmospheres were just one part of a visual and conceptual toolbox which included analogies, illustrations, three-dimensional models, and a system of chemical notation. While chemists could, and did, pick and choose which parts of Dalton’s atomic theory to accept or reject, his notation contained inseparably every part of his theory, and had to be accepted or rejected wholesale. Dalton’s system of notation was a tool both for reasoning and for disseminating his system to the readers of his publications and to the audiences who attended his numerous lectures. Examining the contents of Dalton’s conceptual toolbox, the way these devices figured in his own thinking, and how they were used publicly in Dalton’s largely unsuccessful effort to have his theory accepted and his notation made standard among chemists, sheds new light on the private and public uses of such representational tools.
Imperial Science at Imperial College, 1907-47.
I am currently working on the history of Imperial College in the Twentieth Century. This paper is on an aspect of the work being carried out in relation to this larger project. Those working at Imperial College took the name of the institution very seriously and undertook research which they believed would be of advantage to the industrial development of the British Empire. But they also took seriously the ‘double mandate’ that their science should be of advantage also to those living in the empire, both colonists and colonized. The paper will show how this mandate was interpreted and what kinds of science were carried out by Imperial College staff, both in the metropolis and elsewhere. It will also show something of the ways in which this kind of applied science was judged and accommodated within traditional learned societies.
Gissis, Snait B.
Interactions between social and biological thinking: the case of Lamarck.
The Lamarckian perspective on change within the organic world, in particular Lamarck’s conception of “la marche de la nature”, also called ‘transformism’ or ‘evolution’, which had crystallised during the last decade of the 18th century and the early years of the 19th, should be viewed as resulting in part from interactions and resonances with, and transfers from, the social thought of the decades before the French revolution and of the revolutionary decade itself - its modes of thinking, ways of conceptualising, its models, metaphors and analogies. Moreover, Lamarck’s involvement with the new institutional frameworks, disciplinary and interdisciplinary activities initiated during the revolutionary period brought him into quantitatively, and possibly qualitatively different, contacts with the then prevalent modes of discourse on things social.
Lamarck in his writings between 1800-1820 had posited a set of questions and had utilised particular resources - philosophical and ‘biological’ - to bear on three issues in particular: a. how do organisms adjust (adapt?) to the environment in which they live?; b. what is the role of the directionality of time in “la marche de la nature”? c. what is man’s place in nature?
His discussions of these questions turned his writings into a reservoir of insights and ideas that continued to be influential and generative for almost a century both in biology and in social thought, particularly in those areas where biology and biological knowledge acquired political social and moral significance.
Recirculating the electric fluid: 20th century reappropriations of Franklinian theory.
Early twentieth century popularizations of electrical science in Britain and America emphasized the direct continuity between the new “electron” theory and Benjamin Franklin’s one-fluid account of electricity dating from c.1748. This was not just a convenient nationalist premise for a distinctively American historiography of electricity, as epitomized in Robert Millikan’s popular treatise, “The Electron” (1917). It was also used by Europeans following the example of the Cambridge Professor J.J. Thomson (often miscast as the ‘discoverer’ of the electron in 1897) to promote his corpuscular theory in the “Popular Science Monthly” in 1901. This paper critiques elitist ‘Maxwellian’ histories of physics for overlooking a long and continuous tradition of Franklinian theory in expositions of electricity to non-experts - indeed even as used by Maxwell himself in his “Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism”(1873). By showing the ubiquitous circulation of Franklin’s rehabilitated theory (albeit transformed from a positive to a negative fluid)in many levels of electrical discourse, I will present a new interpretation that downplays the predominance of “ether” theorizing in both lay and expert understandings of electricity in the contexts of urban and domestic electrification at the turn of the twentieth century.
Circulating Top-Secret Knowledge for the history of H-bomb.
In the histories of the US and Soviet H-bombs there are controversies regarding the authorship of the first full-fledged thermonuclear designs based on the idea of radiation implosion. In American history controversial is the coauthorship of Edward Teller and Stanislaw Ulam in the “Teller-Ulam” design of 1951 (tested in 1952). In Russian history the main controversy is about the independence -- and if so, the coauthorship of Andrei Sakharov and Yakov Zeldovich’s “Third Idea” design of 1954 (tested in 1955). Separately, these two historical controversies have little chance of being settled because of top-secrecy of most relevant documents. But in association, these controversies help to clarify each other. The reason for the association was provided by Klaus Fuchs who in 1948 attempted to circulate his knowledge on H-bomb he acquired and produced because of his involvement in the US nuclear weapon efforts. Fuchs’ opinion (reported to the Soviet intelligence in 1948) was overestimated by the Soviet political leaders and underestimated -- for quite a while -- by H-bomb physicists (both Zeldovich, who was given an access to the intelligence material, and the Los Alamos colleagues of Fuchs, including Teller). Combined consideration of the US and Soviet events in H-bomb history convert two controversies into two co-versions of the important segment in the history of thermonuclear age.
An academy in crisis: The hiring of James Mark Baldwin and James Gibson Hume at the University of Toronto in 1889.
In February 1889, George Paxton Young, the University of Toronto’s philosophy professor for nearly two decades, died unexpectedly. His passing took place in the midst of a public debate led by Canadian nationalists against the president of the university, Sir Daniel Wilson, over whether faculty positions should be reserved for Canadians, and especially for Toronto graduates. The sudden opening of the philosophy position, among the most prestigious in the school, dramatically intensified the stakes and the rancor of the conflict.
A field of over twenty applicants for the philosophy position was rapidly distilled down to two: (1) A former undergraduate student of Young’s named James Gibson Hume who had just completed a Master’s degree at Harvard and (2) a then-relatively unknown American who had recently earned his doctorate under James McCosh at Princeton and was teaching at an obscure Presbyterian college in Illinois. This American applicant was James Mark Baldwin who would soon become a luminary of developmental psychology and evolutionary theory.
The nationalists did their best to pillory Baldwin’s scholarly reputation and personal character in the public press, at meetings of the university administration, and at hearings of the government of Ontario. In the end, their influence was so great that despite Baldwin’s obviously superior academic qualifications, the Premier of the province, Oliver Mowat, was forced to hire both men, giving Baldwin a position in Metaphysics and Logic and Hume a new one in Ethics and the History of Philosophy.
The hiring would have ramifications for decades to come. Baldwin would found at Toronto the first permanent experimental psychology laboratory in the British Empire, but he returned to his alma mater of Princeton in 1893, leaving Wundt’s one-time assistant, August Kirschmann, in charge of the Toronto lab for the next 15 years. After Baldwin’s departure, Hume would head the philosophy department at Toronto for more than three decades, using his position more to promote prohibition than philosophy, and leaving the department in a weakened and somewhat backward state.
Air Pollution as a Threat to Health in the Mellon Institute Smoke Investigations -- Bacteriology, Industrial Exposures and Air Hygiene.
How were concerns about chemically and mechanically induced illness integrated into early twentieth-century bacteriological understandings of disease? Work on air pollution at Pittsburgh’s Mellon Institute (1911-1939) exhibits tensions between bacteriological and chemical, environmental and somatic, and preventative and curative elements of early twentieth-century public health. Mellon Institute health studies first saw pulmonary anthracosis (“Pittsburgh lung”) as a “community disease” in epidemiological studies of disease rates and neighborhood smoke levels. Researchers also conducted animal experiments on the effects of air pollution on tuberculosis and pneumonia, and exposed bacterial cultures to smoke. Results demonstrated ambiguous relations between smoke and disease. Bacteria did not grow well in soot. Anthracosis helped tuberculosis lesions heal, but increased pneumonia incidence. Mellon Institute Pneumonia Studies (1920s) focused on air pollution, but soon turned to the development of an anti-pneumonia serum and of chemical, nutritional and low-frequency-radio-wave treatments. By the early 1930s air pollution researchers were unhappy with this non-environmental emphasis. They fought for institutional support and sought to develop standards, derived from industrial medicine, for “hygienically pure air.” Investigators drew analogies between protection of food and water supplies from bacteriological dangers and protection of the air from chemical and particulate contamination. Nonetheless, standards of “purity” in the two domains, as well as strategies and motivations for meeting them, would continue to develop along diverging historical paths.
Roasting Germs: Bacteriology in the Cremation Controversy, 1874-1900.
In this paper I shall explore attempts to use to the emerging science of bacteriology as a guide for the hygienic disposal of corpses, and particularly as a justification for the new technology of cremation, chiefly through the public relations efforts of the Cremation Society, begun in 1874. I will suggest that despite a few initiatives for careful exploration of spore survival and soil transport, the new bacteriology was much more useful as a rhetorical device.
Forgotten Pioneers: Pasteur Institutes in the USA, 1885-1944.
In late 1885, just two months after Louis Pasteur claimed success for a new inoculation to prevent hydrophobia in persons bitten by rabid dogs, two groups of American physicians made plans to prepare and distribute this revolutionary remedy, announcing the establishment of Pasteur Institutes in St. Louis and in New York City. Their enthusiasm was prompted by the flood of newspaper articles about four boys from Newark, N.J., who had traveled to Paris for treatment. When both cities used the phrase Pasteur Institute, they were not copying Paris. Indeed, they were several weeks ahead. Only later did Pasteur first publicize his ideas for a permanent institution, which would come to bear his name and open in 1888. Over the next three decades, nearly thirty Pasteur Institutes were established across the United States. All provided clinical care for people bitten by animals, and some carried out research. This paper examines the Institutes’ rise, their contemporary reputation, their disappearance, and the amnesia about them. Their history illustrates how the dissemination of new laboratory discoveries and techniques changed both clinical practice and public health. Their story provides an early example of diagnosis-defined entitlement since several state governments had programs to pay for rabies treatments, and it reveals several ways that a singular disease’s peculiar place in public consciousness shaped health-care policies and practice for decades.
Harris, Ben, and Sara Amadon
Transatlantic Popular Psychology: The Americanization of Couéism in the 1920s.
In early 1923 Emile Coué embarked upon a lecture tour of the U.S., bringing his message that psychological suggestion could rid the body of a variety of ills. Hailed by the New York press before he even left France, Coué was a sensation in America, replacing Sigmund Freud as the premier master of the mind and its possibilities. His best known message was an autosuggestion mantra: “Day by day, in every way, I am getting better and better.” What Coué failed to acknowledge was his learning suggestion from a home-study course that he had bought in 1901 from a mail order company in Rochester, N.Y. In our paper we will examine the changes that suggestion and autosuggestion underwent in moving from America to France and back. In the U.S. suggestion first emerged as part of the New Thought movement and later became associated with financial success and self-improvement. Coué’s theory echoed the writing of Henri Bergson more than that Dale Carnegie, however, as he claimed to bypass the human will and draw upon the subliminal imagination.
The other changes that we will describe are institutional. In 1900 America a variety of independent publishers and speakers sought to make a living from mental healing and related arts. Following Coué’s U.S. tour, a new generation of American entrepreneurs capitalized on his fame. We will focus on the mass circulation magazine Psychology: Health! Happiness! Success!, founded in 1923 by Henry Knight Miller, a former Methodist minister, progressivist lecturer and automobile salesman.
The Braggs and X-ray Crystallography: Translation of Scientific Knowledge from Spots to Spectrometers.
The analysis of crystals with X-rays by William and Lawrence Bragg in the early twentieth century involved a translation of scientific knowledge between two different experimental techniques, called the photographic and reflection methods. My paper will show that despite this methodological change, the Braggs worked within the same theoretical framework throughout, allowing them to access the same scientific knowledge to determine the structure of crystals via “spots and spectrometer.” In 1915, this British father and son team was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for the analysis of crystals by X-rays, and the discovery of the Bragg Law for the incidence of X-rays upon a crystal lattice using the X-ray spectrometer. Almost immediately, the reflection method was brought to MIT by the physical chemist Arthur Noyes, and played a large role in shaping the earliest physical chemistry laboratories in the United States. The success of the spectrometer was preceded by the analysis of crystals by the Laue method, involving the analysis of a pattern of diffraction spots created by X-rays on photographic plates. Although the Braggs’ crystal analysis primarily came to rely upon the simpler reflection method, the photographic method was a necessary step in shaping their understanding of crystal structure.
Gerald Heard (1889-1971) and the Religious Psychology of Popular Science.
Gerald Heard was the first professional science broadcaster in the British Isles, yet his career is largely forgotten. Although he authored over twenty books and hundred of articles, he is now relegated to brief mentions in the biographies of his more illustrious friends: Auden, Isherwood and Huxley. Yet Heard’s life and work provides us with rich materials through which we can reconstruct the psychological agenda of early popular science work in Britain and the States. This paper will trace Heard’s ideas on ‘circulating knowledge’ showing their foundational role in his wider project of spiritual self-fashioning.
‘To make men wise’: aims and uses of the history of science in mid-nineteenth century Britain.
Commentators in the mid-nineteenth century recognised that they were witnessing a boom in historical and biographical writing relating to the sciences. The 1840s even briefly saw a number of the authors of such works united under the banner of the Historical Society of Science (the original HSS). Nearly all the major figures in the history of science at this period were men of science, and it is true to say that their primary aims in writing history were the promotion of science and the dissemination of scientific knowledge. However, despite these similarities, their motivations, approach and intended audiences differed widely. I believe that previous studies of the historiography of science in the nineteenth century have tended to overemphasise the role of broad-sweep narratives based on secondary sources, such as Baden Powell’s History of Natural Philosophy (1834) and, especially, William Whewell’s History of the Inductive Sciences (1837). While I will discuss the intentions behind these famous publications, I wish also to examine the motivation behind the more abstruse, archive-based studies and the editions of historical texts that were also produced at this time. The pedagogical or promotional objectives of the authors of such works is far less easy to discern, but can be investigated through statements in their publications, in their criticism of other writers and in their private correspondence. There was, for some, a belief that history of science could fill gaps in the knowledge of the literary and the scientific elite alike, and that society would be benefited if men could be made ‘wise’ rather than merely knowledgeable.
Fraudbusters. Magicians as experts on deception in natural philosophy.
The contrast could hardly be starker: magicians operate with deception, scientists are seeking for the truth. Yet a close look at the 18th century reveals an unexpected alliance between showmen and natural philosophers. At a time when experimental physics was all the rage and even the sky was within reach it became more and more important to distinguish the factual from the fanciful. The enlightened establishment saw the general public in danger of being deceived by cunning charlatans. “Honest” showmen were able to cut out a career for themselves by imitating the tricks in a “transparent” way. This common struggle against superstition and deceit created a genre of books called “Natural Magic”, a compendium of demonstrations from all branches of natural philosophy.
This paper will also show the continuity of this fraud-busting alliance to the present day. In the 19th century magicians such as John Maskelyne and Harry Houdini were instrumental in exposing the tricks of self-acclaimed media such as Henry Slade. It was again by (public) imitation of the tricks of the spiritists, something the scientist said they could or would not do. A point in case in the 20th century is the Canadian magician James Randi always eager to expose spiritual healers and spoon benders.
The exposure of hidden knowledge is indeed a tricky business. Teaching people how to see through tricksters is also a good education for tricksters. And the character of the exposure by means of spectacular presentation is not that different from the shows of the charlatans.
Immunological Research in Europe and North America: The Case of the Panama Blot.
Work in immunology has been broadly characterized as belonging to one of two different theoretical perspectives: the molecular-cellular perspective and the contextual-systemic perspective. The molecular-cellular perspective, deriving ultimately from Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet’s clonal selection theory of the immune system, is the predominant perspective driving immunological research in North America. The contextual-systemic perspective, deriving in part from Niels Jerne’s idiotypic network theory of the immune system, is largely ignored in North American experimental research, though it does motivate some research in Europe. One point of contention between these two perspectives concerns the significance of antibodies that react with an organism’s own bodily constituents. These antibodies known as “natural autoantibodies” may be a normal component of healthy immune systems, but they are widely regarded as either inconsequential or pathological in the North American research climate. A new research tool developed in Europe the Panama blot stands to not only shed light on the significance of natural autoantibodies, but to reshape experimental practice in immunology as a whole. The question is, however, whether these changes in European experimental practice will influence North American experimental practice, as I think they should. Natural autoantibodies, and the Panama blot developed to investigate them, serve as a revealing subject in the study of how scientific knowledge circulates between Europe and North America. However, it may be that the investigation of natural autoantibodies remains a primarily European phenomenon for some time to come.
Transatlantic collaboration and the new scientific history.
Serious British historians claimed, beginning in the late 19th century, that their discipline was a science. They used a rigorous methodology and trained aspiring practitioners in the interpretation and analysis of archival documents. North American scholars espoused a similar rhetoric, often disdaining the general public’s taste for narrative tales from the past. The publishers of history books, balancing cultural/intellectual and commercial considerations as always, had to manage the introduction of this new approach to the reading public. One key commercial consideration was the marketability of authoritative works of history to the English-speaking world. And one key intellectual consideration was the notion that collaboration between properly-trained historians was unproblematic, because scientific: as in the natural sciences, historical knowledge could be replicated in the scholarly laboratory of the seminar room. On both sides of the Atlantic, however, the experience of making a history book, the material object produced in multiple copies for marketing and distribution in the marketplace, demonstrated the limits of disciplinary harmony. This paper will consider James Secord’s theory of “literary replication” (Victorian Sensation), translating it from evolutionary science to another genre, history, and complicating it by introducing the textual and paratextual variations required by transatlantic editions.
The “Ayes” of Fisheries Science: Fishermen and their Relations with Scientists.
Fisheries science owes its origins to fishermen’s concerns about overfishing in the 1870s, concerns with grew over the ensuing decades, but which were originally dismissed by many scientists. The collapse of the Northwestern Atlantic cod stocks in the early 1990s highlighted several major problems dogging fisheries science. Perhaps most haunting was the divergence of opinion between many Canadian fisheries biologists, who maintained that the fish stocks were recovering, and the inshore fishermen, who vociferously argued that the stocks were collapsing. Why did the leaders in the scientific community downplay fishermen’s concerns? This paper will discuss the historical changes in relations between fishermen and fisheries scientists, examining the varying levels of respect, contingent upon the socioeconomic status of different fisheries, the tensions, and the mutual use each community has made of the other. Finally, the paper will discuss the ways in which scientists have enlisted the aid of fishermen as additional “eyes”: observers and helpers for their studies of the scattered stocks of the far-flung oceans.
Prospects for the Newton Project: an integrated research resource for the study of the interconnectedness of Newton’s literary output.
In the last few decades, Newton’s alchemical and theological researches have come to be seen as crucial to his intellectual life. As a consequence, more positivistic divisions between the ‘scientific’ and ‘nonscientific’ parts of his intellectual interests have been largely dismantled by scholars who have sought to show that there were deep connections between all areas of Newton’s work. The majority of these historians, whose expertise invariably concerns his alchemical and theological papers, have argued that Newton’s research as a whole represents a fundamentally unified quest for truth. This paper draws attention to the Newton Project, a monumental effort currently directed towards publishing a fully searchable edition of all of Newton’s writings. It is argued that a broader view of Newton’s own strategies for compartmentalising his work — and as a result, a better understanding of the connections and differences between different areas of all of his research — will be a central result of this project. Practical examples will be given using a live connection to the online Newton Project website (www.newtonproject.ic.ac.uk).
The Shape of Molecules to Come: Algorithms, Models, and Visions of the Nanoscale.
Nanoscientific research has developed under a new regime of scientific practice—a regime marked by the a priori existence of highly functional, relatively inexpensive computers. As an historical fact, nanotechnology research is unthinkable without the computer. Every image of nanoscale object has been generated by a computer—through one process or another. So when we “see” the nanoscale we are, in fact, looking at images generated by computers using algorithms. Given the centrality of these images to nanoscale research, the process of producing them demands examination.
Historically speaking, the development of nanotechnology parallels computational geometry, a research area in computer science that has been closely linked with graphics and molecular modeling. Moving from the modeling of classical biological molecules into the modeling of nanostructures has required computational geometers to shift their orientation from the mathematical description of tree-like structures to diamondoid ones—thus changing the nature of the algorithms which are central. This paper examines the interplay between this branch of theoretical computer science and nanoscale research.
The Structure of Technology Transfer: Comparative Case Studies in the Transfer of Fundamental Knowledge About Computing from the United States to Japan between 1950 and 1980.
It can be said that there are three distinct phases during the early stages in the development of new technological systems, consisting of the initial idea generation, substantive planning, and its subsequent execution. Each phase is driven by distinct processes, most notably that of constructing a technological vision, a viable social agenda, and a concrete technological design. These processes, meanwhile, are not necessarily replicated during the subsequent international diffusion of a technological system. A comparative study of two major computing innovations in the United States, and the manner of their adaptation in the Japanese academic and industrial context demonstrates the varying, intellectual paths to diffusion, where the variation can be understood in terms of national, institutional contexts for research, as well as international networks set in place for the diffusion of specific bodies of expertise. Thus, in the era just after World War II, Japanese mathematicians and engineers were deprived of full access to information on the development of digital computers in the U.S. Though subscribing to a shared vision, they were forced, through the limited availability of information, to construct an independent agenda for digital computers research, which led, in turn to original computer architectures and designs. By contrast, by the 1960s, cross-national networks for computer science research, as represented by international journals and conferences, provided a solid avenue for emerging knowledge about computer networking. However, the very different institutional context for computer science research in Japan, which was not driven by the priorities of the Defense Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), precluded the transfer of the underlying vision that drove American computer networking research. Indeed, the lack of the visionary approach of ARPA, along with the funds it was willing to dedicate to the research, places U.S. research programs at a considerable advantage. Japanese researchers found themselves consistently behind the Americans in formulating new agendas because of their lack of a coherent vision for their research. These different research trajectories can be traced through the publication record of Japanese computer scientists during the 1960s and 1970s.
Lauffer, William D.
The Lost Physics of the Wilkes Expedition, 1838-42.
The Wilkes Expedition’s unpublished volume on Physics demonstrates that experimental results are not always successfully disseminated to the scientific community, even after an enormous effort to obtain those results. Lt. Charles Wilkes, leader of the U.S. Exploring Expedition of 1838-42, undertook a series of ten pendulum experiments around the globe as part of the international effort to determine the shape of the earth. The most impressive of these involved hand-carrying the heavy pendulum assembly up the slopes of Hawaii’s Mauna Loa and then braving six weeks of altitude sickness, gale-force winds, snow, and below-freezing temperatures to perform their science. The Expedition’s proposed volume on Physics, to be written by Wilkes himself, was never published, however, despite an extensive publication program that lasted decades, and Wilkes’ own insistence that it was the most important of all of the Expedition’s works. The results of Wilkes’ pendulum experiments were considered lost until years after his death, and then ignored. They are partially available in the form of manuscripts and printer’s proofs in the National Archives. This paper analyzes Wilkes’ pendulum experiments and demonstrates how his work, if ever published, would have fit into the worldwide set of contemporary work. It also demonstrates how Wilkes’ extremely strong personality, which made it possible to complete the experiments, was the probable reason that his work was never published.
Insides Out: American Patients and Surgical Knowledge.
In the early twentieth century, lawsuits brought by American patients against their surgeons changed some of the ways in which surgical operations were negotiated. Although a far cry from the “informed consent” doctrine after mid-century, surgeons and hospitals increasingly endorsed the practice of obtaining written permission for surgical operations. After the 1914 Schloendorff v. Society of New York Hospital decision, for example, patients at New York Hospital entered their names into ledgers maintained to demonstrate that these procedures took place with the express authorization of patients. The negotiation over permission for surgical procedures created new spaces for explanations about particular surgeries and the patient’s experience of surgery. This development raised several issues: what kinds of knowledge were appropriate to the patient or patient’s family facing the recommendation for surgery? What level of detail would be sufficient and how should this knowledge be communicated, using visuals or written explanations? This paper draws on efforts by surgeons to create lay guides for the surgical patient. It also explores a new genre of American writing about surgery after the turn of the century: the patient’s narrative of his or her surgical experience. These narratives have received little attention, yet they are revealing of the transfer of both expert and experiential knowledge. This paper explores the social, cultural, professional, and legal arenas in which surgical knowledge developed in the United States.
Signs, Symptoms, and Predictive Inference in the Ancient Sciences.
Is prediction possible? How? In various ancient sciences—astronomy, medicine, astrology, and divination, for example—these questions were fundamental to the epistemology of scientific knowledge. This paper explores the range of ancient answers to these questions by breaking the questions down into a tightly-knit set of issues around what were called signs. In ancient science, sign had a much broader meaning than it does now, referring to the raw data used in an inference from a known fact to some unknown state of affairs. Different traditions and practices evolved to find ways of linking observations of signs in the present with predictions for the future. In the Mesopotamian sciences these are embodied in wide range of texts that show important structural and grammatical similarities across a number of genres. In the classical traditions we find some evidence of continuity with these practices, but we also commonly find an added philosophical layer, which looks more explicitly at the relationship between signs and predictions. By Hellenistic times the questions around this relationship have begun to crystallize on three fronts: In Stoic logic, sign-inference is closely related to both the epistemology of prediction and to the physics of predictability. In Galen’s works we find a conscious justification of the connection between observations and predictions. And lastly ancient Sceptics, both Academic and Pyrrhonist, map questions of causation and induction onto arguments about predictive inference from signs.
Phillips’ Experiment and Arakawa’s Trick: Transitions in the Development of Computer Simulations.
The development of climate research as a scientific discipline is intimately connected with the development of computer simulations as a method. Both took place in the decades following World War II, stemming from the Manhattan project and the stimulating role of John von Neumann.
The main topic of my talk will be a case study of the early days of computer-based simulation modeling in climate research. In particular, I shall identify two major changes that shaped climate research as a discipline and at the same time constituted conceptual transitions regarding the epistemic status of computer simulations. The first concerns the quasi-empirical nature of simulation experiments while the second is related to the possibility to simulate a dynamical system without solving its basic equations.
Magical Moments in Early Microscopy: Dalenpatius sees something, that Leeuwenhoek does not see.
In 1677, Antony van Leeuwenhoek had drawn the first sketch of the male spermatozoon, which was copied by Christiaan Huygens and praised by his famous father to be „of as extreme interest as anything that has ever been observed by human eyes or thoughts.” Then, in May 1699, a friend showed him Bernard’s newest edition of the Nouvelles de la République des Lettres. Inside was the extract of a letter by a young colleague named Dalenpatius:. He had been able to grind a powerful lense and use it to watch living spermatozoa. At a first glance, they looked like young tadpoles:
“They move with wonderful speed and, lashing their tail, they make small wavelets (…). Now who would have believed that the human body was locked up in them?
And yet we have seen this with our own eyes. For while we were observing everything accurately, there appeared one which was slightly bigger and had discarded the skin in which it had been enveloped.
This plainly showed both naked thighs, the legs, the chest, and both arms: and the skin, pulled up somewhat higher, covered the head as if with a cap.”
As a proof, Dalenpatius delivered sketches of the homunculus, whom he claimed to have seen with his own eyes.
In my paper I want to discuss the question of ‘deception’ and ‘truth’, which was so crucial to the baroque understanding of scientific discovery. The homunculus debate will be in the focus of my investigation, which deals with the tension between hiding and revealing, seeing and believing, and the mysteries of human generation.
Popular Science, Research Institutions and War: Alexis Carrel and the Transformation of Eugenics during WWII.
In September 1935, a book entitled Man, The Unknown was released in both the United States and France. This was a popularized account of human biology, which called for the use of biology in solving the crucial social problems of the time. The book sold 100,000 copies the first year in each of the two countries. In the US in 1936, it climbed to the top of the non-fiction list. Within three years, it was translated into 13 languages. The author of the book, Alexis Carrel, was a noted physician and researcher from the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, New York, who has won the Nobel Prize in 1912 for his work on vessels surgery, later developed the tissue culture techniques, worked on cancer and, finally, together with Charles Lindbergh, invented one of the first artificial heart. In 1939, he retired from the RIMR and, after the outbreak of World War II, came back to France, his country of origin, where he founded with Vichy government money a huge institute for the “study of human problems”. After the war, part of that institution became the National Institute for Demographic Studies, today one of the leading centers for demographic studies in the world. In this paper, I intend to look at this story focusing on three different lines of transfer/circulation of knowledge, methods and ideas: 1 - the book as a mainstream established scientist appealing to a popular audience; 2 - the French institution as developing (improving?) techniques of organization of scientific work used at the Rockefeller Institute; 3 - the opportunities opened by the outbreak of wars. Based on the particular case of Carrel, my intention is to look after the transformations eugenic claims went through in the late 1930s - early 1940s in both the US and France. The work is based on extensive archival research mainly conducted at Georgetown University’s Special Collections, the American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, and the Rockefeller Archive Center, New York.
Leventhal, Robert S.
The Entropy Effect: Tracing the Impact of the Second Law in the Human Sciences of the late 19th and early 20th century.
This paper seeks to explore one of the most significant intersections of literature and science in the second half of the 19th century, specifically, the impact of the second law of thermodynamics as it was discovered by Carnot, formulated by Clausius, and elaborated upon by Maxwell and others, on the philosophy and literature of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Second Law was certainly one of the most important scientific developments of the 19th century, and philosophers such as Nietzsche and Phillip Mainländer were profoundly influenced by it, as were literary and intellectual figures in early twentieth century Europe such as Rilke, Mann, and Freud who followed in their wake. The relationship between the Second Law and the field of Statistical Mechanics (Boltzmann), the way in which the Second Law becomes related to Information Theory (Brillouin), as well as impact of the Second Law to the Psychophysics of the period (Wundt)take on special significance as both literature and psychoanalysis struggle with the specter of irreversibility, increasing disorder and noise.
In his The Victorian Amateur Astronomer, Allan Chapman has portrayed T. W. Webb as the father of modern amateur astronomy as “a pursuit for serious observers whose principal motivation was pleasure, fascination, or the glory of God, as opposed to fundamental research.” If Webb founded this movement, it was through his activities as a popularizer of science. But what did Webb have to offer the rapidly growing reading audience in Britain in comparison to other popularizers of astronomy of the latter half of the nineteenth century, such as Richard Proctor, Agnes Clerke, or Robert Ball? Webb’s influential role as popularizer of science revolved around his emphasis on observational astronomy geared towards the amateur. Whereas other popularizers of astronomy made their reputations by exploring the exciting revelations of new scientific instruments or by spelling out the social or political implications of new discoveries, Webb maintained the traditional focus on the telescope, rarely strayed beyond the consensus of the astronomical community, and stuck to communicating the results of careful observation. Like other popularizers of astronomy, his view of the heavens was framed by religious concepts drawn from a theology of nature. But his religious beliefs led him to emphasize that astronomers become more cognizant of the need for humility in the face of the divine power revealed—and concealed—by their telescopes.
Depicting Nature, Defining Roles: Visual Images and Female Popularizers of Victorian Science.
This paper will discuss the various ways in which visual images functioned within popular science produced by women in Britain in the latter half of the nineteenth century. During this period women established themselves as popularizers of science in record numbers. Mary Somerville is the best known, but her sisters in science include Jane Loudon, Mary Roberts, Lydia Becker, Anne Pratt, Margaret Gatty, Mary Kirby, Phebe Lankester, Sara Lee, Mary Ward, Elizabeth Twining, Arabella Buckley, Agnes Clerke, Alice Bodington, Eliza Brightwen, A. Giberne, and Marion Newbigin. The development of a visual culture in the 1830’s led to the increasing use of visual images in science and provided female popularizers with a number of opportunities. For some, the inclusion of vivid visual images was a means to presenting science as a form of educational entertainment to the growing reading public. For others, the moral and religious dimension of science and their membership in the maternal tradition within popular science could be enhanced through the incorporation of visual images. Still others could bolster their authority as interpreters of nature by establishing their expertise as guides to reading visual images produced by new scientific instruments such as the camera. Visual images were crucial to these female popularizers of science, struggling to define their role in a scientific community dominated by male professional scientists who frowned upon the participation of women in science.
Prototaxites (Daw.) v. Nematophycus (Carr.): Geologists v. Botanists in the formative period of the science of Paleobotany.
A fossil plant found in the Devonian rocks of the Gaspé Peninsula of Canada provoked a heated debate in the late 19th century. When geologist John William Dawson (Principal, McGill) identified this specimen as an early land plant resembling a conifer (1859), he was challenged by botanist William Carruthers (Keeper, British Museum) who argued it was a giant algae 1872). Most paleobotanists have tended to agree with Carruthers (with qualification) although technically sophisticated analysis (eg. molecular chemistry/electron microscopy, 2000) suggests that neither Carruthers nor Dawson were fully correct in either diagnosis or classification. While a correct identification of the Gaspé specimen is still of importance to paleobotanists, this presentation focuses on a different aspect of the Prototaxites-Nematophycus debate, namely, the role it played in the process of establishing and sanctioning methods within a sub-field of paleontology. In large measure, Dawson and Carruthers disagreed over the identity and classification of this specimen because of their scientific training and areas of special-ization. Botanists argued that the geologists who tended to dominate paleontology knew little about plant morphology and even less about the crucial identifying characteristics of the organs of fruitification. Geologists had provided concepts and methods (eg. stratigraphy, mineralogy, geological time-scale) to paleontology, and were not about to relinquish authority earned in previous decades. In addition to revealing the role played by a geologist and a botanist in the formation of a new inter-disciplinary specialization, the debate discussed in this presentation will illustrate how methodological issues were key to shaping the science of paleobotany.
Modeling and Simulating the Brain.
To get an understanding of how the human brain works creates one of the most challenging enterprises in science. What is the role of models and computer simulations in this enterprise? How are they connected to theory, empirical knowledge and the world? And what is the relation between models and computer simulations?
To examine these questions from the great amount of models and computer simulations which deal with different properties and functions of the brain one model, the so-called Hopfield model, is chosen . In this model the property to complete information from an incomplete input, which is called associative memory is modeled by drawing an analogy to disordered magnetic systems, so called spin-glass systems. When Hopfield did introduce his model in 1982 theoretical physicists working on spin-glass systems became interested in this model and a complex development started in this field. With the guidance of the following questions a closer look will be put on the scientific practice of modeling and simulating connected to this development in theoretical physics: How is empirical knowledge coming from neurophysiology combined with theories, methods and techniques coming from statistical mechanics in the Hopfield model? Why and how became theoretical physicists interested in this model? How did the Hopfield model develop in the field of theoretical physics? How the model and the computer simulations did change their function during this process and how are they interconnected? How were the computer simulations restricted by the development of computer technologies? How are the Hopfield model and the computer simulations are connected to the brain? What did physicists contribute to the big question of how the human brain works by their investigations?
Loring, Philip Davis
The transparency with which a book of today wins its readers’ faith lies in marked contrast to the pervasive suspicions of piracy which characterized the world of print in Early Modern Europe. This insight, however, has not yet been taken to the heart of print technology -- the printed type itself. I trace the story of type-founder John Baskerville’s struggles to make a name for himself in 18th-century England, detailing the ways in which criticisms of his character (he was variously regarded as atheist, adulterer, boor, bourgeois, Francophile) paralleled criticisms of his typeface. By tracking this circulation of critical appraisals forward through his revaluation in the late 19th and early 20th century, I expose a fundamental link between knowledge claims in science and knowledge claims in type design and type-founding. It takes a great deal of work, past and present, to secure the legitimacy of the claim that Baskerville -- the man and the typeface -- both were, and are, a success.
The Albert Controversy: Geology, Industry, and the Law in the Mid-Nineteenth Century Maritimes.
The Albert controversy began as a legal suit over the ownership of a peculiar mineral substance uncovered in Albert county, New Brunswick in 1850. The suit soon blossomed into a series of high-stakes court cases in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia involving the future of a very promising industry (the manufacture of illuminating gas using this mineral). A great deal of money hinged on the opinion of scientific expert witnesses called to testify as to the nature of the substance. If the Albert mineral were coal, the Crown was entitled to it; if it were not, the entrepreneurial geologist Abraham Gesner laid claim to it. For historians, the court cases present an interesting and entertaining opportunity to examine the unarticulated, yet demonstrably influential, assumptions behind the theories and practices of mid-century geology. More importantly, the Albert controversy speaks to the broader issues about establishing and maintaining scientific authority. The expert witnesses found that they themselves were on trial. As the arbiters of scientific fact, they became the subjects of public scrutiny. Fact and truth were inextricably intertwined with trustworthiness, and in this light, the controversy revealed as much about individual competence and honesty as about the role that science, in general, could and should play in legal and commercial matters.
Swimming at the Edge of Scientific Respectability: Sea Serpent Investigations in the Victorian Era.
In the nineteenth century the number of exploratory voyages increased dramatically. Their purpose was not just to chart the seas more accurately, but to collect fauna and flora from all over the world. In addition, they provided a glimpse into the past as paleontologists began dredging up plesiosaurs and other fossil remains. In this environment of exploration and discovery, a dramatic increase in sea serpent sightings also occurred. The sea serpent played a small, but significant role in discussions about the history of life. While Charles Lyell became interested in the serpent to support his steady-state view of earth history, Richard Owen’s attempts to discredit the serpent provided a forum to promote his progressive view of earth history. However, the serpent remained at the margins of science for a variety of reasons. The sea serpent had too many liabilities to be fully embraced by individuals who wanted boundaries drawn between professional and amateur and by the emerging disciplines of paleontology and geology. The nature of evidence, the politics of scientific authority, and Victorians’ anxiety over a society they felt was changing too rapidly are all elements of the sea serpents complex history. Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea provides a window into the serpent’s status at the time. Sea monsters were portrayed as both fictional and real. Verne drew on the Victorian desire to bring phenomena that were regarded as supernatural under the purview of scientific explanation. While scientific developments were in large part responsible for the sea serpent’s popularity and legitimacy, paradoxically those developments led ultimately to its demise as a topic of serious investigation.
MacDonald, Bertrum H.
The Smithsonian Institution as Promoter of Science: The Diffusion of Scientific Information in Nineteenth-Century North America.
In the middle of the nineteenth century both Canadian and American scientists voiced the view that as far as science was concerned the political boundary between the two countries was meaningless. However, the border was important and as the latter half of the century unfolded the significance of the boundary became even more pronounced. Even so, scientific information flowed freely between the two countries and this traffic took on increasing importance with the creation of the Smithsonian Institution. The first two secretaries, Joseph Henry and Spencer Baird, initiated massive collecting efforts which extended into both the settled and frontier areas of Canada. As biological specimens and archeological artifacts were shipped south to Washington, DC, north-bound correspondence carried books and scientific publications to staff members of the trading posts of the Hudson’s Bay Company, to individual naturalists throughout the country, to scientific societies, and to scientists associated with research agencies, like the Geological Survey of Canada. Henry’s and Baird’s extensive correspondence complemented the Smithsonian’s international scientific publication exchange program well documented in Nancy Gwinn’s dissertation. In this paper, I will draw on research conducted, as a Dibner Library Resident Scholar, in the Smithsonian Institution Archives in Washington, DC, coupled with an extensive foray into archival records of Canadian scientists, to show that while the Smithsonian Institution was an American organization its impact on promoting the development of scientific work in Canada through the dissemination of scientific literature was substantial. Although the border between the two countries mattered politically, in the realm of science the boundary could be quite porous to the benefit of both. This paper will underscore the international nature of scientific work.
Sounding the Banks: Fishermen as Marine Scientists and Ecological Indicators on the Scotian Shelf, 1800-1860.
Current research into the history of oceanography and marine environmental history takes for its point of departure the development of formal research organizations and expeditions in the early nineteenth century. In contrast however, archival sources from the Peabody Essex Museum and the National Archives and Records Administration reveal that New England fishermen’s kept daily records of the oceanography, ecology and bathymetry while at sea on fishing voyages to the Scotian Shelf. This “vocational science” helped fishermen navigate the waters in the northwest Atlantic and improve their catches. In addition, as keen observers of their natural world, fishermen not only generated important oceanographic knowledge, but used such knowledge to adapt to ecological changes in their world. Armed with their observations, fishermen changed their grounds in response to perceived declines in stocks of Atlantic cod on the Scotian Shelf between 1850 and 1860.
Consequently, fishermen’s systematic understandings of their marine environment indicate that formal oceanographic research did not fill a void, but augmented knowledge already well established within various maritime working cultures. Furthermore, such observations helped fishermen react to perceived ecological change. Taken together, fishermen’s knowledge production and behavioral changes offer new insights to historians of science and marine environmental historians alike. As reliable observers of their natural world, fishermen used systematic knowledge production to better exploit their position in the northwest Atlantic marine ecosystem.
Mackie, Robin, Gerrylynn K. Roberts, and Anna Simmons
The Circulation of Expertise: British Chemists Abroad, 1890-1939.
During the twentieth century, the British chemical community expanded dramatically, with increasing numbers of academic, industrial and government posts available to trained chemists both in Britain and throughout the world. This paper will explore the ways in which individuals exploited employment opportunities overseas and the significance of this for their careers. Not only did British chemists go abroad and overseas-trained chemists come to Britain, but there was also considerable international movement of chemists and their expertise, particularly around the Empire. It is tempting to analyse this circulation of personnel in terms of centre and periphery, but it is perhaps more appropriate to examine it first in terms of the construction of chemical careers by individuals. Individual actions had implications for the development of the chemical profession in different parts of the Empire, including Britain. In this paper we will use data from our ongoing project ‘Studies of the British Chemical Community, 1880-1970’ to examine the geographical mobility of chemists in order to understand how expertise circulated.
Yesterday’s Hero: T. H. Huxley and the Victorian Left.
In the nineteenth century contest for cultural authority between the Anglican-Tory elite and the liberal middle class, T. H. Huxley was an ardent campaigner for progressive liberal reforms and scientific education. But Huxley was more than just a liberal Darwinian zealot: he was also a dedicated advocate of working-class education and technical training. Huxley had the foresight to perceive the importance of stabilizing the relationship between capital and labour. His penny lectures and his radical views made him a hero to workingmen in the 1860s and 1870s. On the other hand, people change; times change. By the 1880s, a second contest for cultural authority was on the rise: the Victorian Left seized upon a mixture of Lamarckism and Darwinism as a scientific basis for collectivism. Bringing in their own scientific experts, evolutionary and scientific socialists broadcast their anti-capitalist message from the stump, the press, and the meeting hall. Huxley, aware that his workers were drifting to the left, recast Darwinism in a more conservative light in order to meet the threat. He dismissed the Left’s experts and in a series of anti-socialist essays ridiculed their naiveté. Darwin’s heterodox bulldog of the 1860s became part of the entrenched elite defending the establishment against demands for an extension of rights and privileges to the working classes. As a result, Huxley became yesterday’s hero. This paper examines Huxley’s attempt to undermine evolutionary socialism and reinforce the Darwinian view of nature and society.
Printed and manuscript publication of Isaac Newton’s Nachlass.
This paper will consider the extent of Newton’s unpublished work across a variety of disciplines at his death, including papers on mathematics, physics, alchemy, theology and prophecy. It will discuss the publication schemes on which Newton was engaged at the time of his death and the extent to which his heirs sought to bring these to fruition. It will consider the value of Newton’s manuscripts and the identity of those who had access to them after his death. It will also introduce the problems caused by the after-life of copies from Newton’s works made during his lifetime. The aims of Newton himself and his heirs will be discussed in the light of contemporary expectations of the value of publication. Problems generated by the state of Newton’s unpublished manuscript remains, as well as by critical concerns, will be examined. The major role played by the reality of Newton’s heretical beliefs in the fortunes of his manuscripts will be discussed, in particular through a study of the after-life of his letters on the “Two notable corruptions of Scripture”. The importance of patronage and reputation, as well as financial concerns, will be assessed through the comparison of the fate of this correspondence with that represented by the Leibniz-Clarke papers.
The neutrino: from elementary particle to measurement tool.
In this paper I will trace the origin of the neutrino hypothesis in nuclear physics and
how it migrated to other disciplines becoming a measurement tool in particle physics and astrophysics and also how the neutrino physics discipline emerged. In its origin, the neutrino was proposed by W. Pauli in 1930 in such a way that energy would be conserved in beta-decay, later on in 1933 Fermi used it to explain beta-decay. The particle was accepted nonetheless it was not seen. It was until 1956 that F. Reines and C. Cowan, using the Savannah River Reactor detected neutrino-proton reactions. Meanwhile in astrophysics, the neutrino became a very important particle for obtaining information about the universe. And in this context it became a fundamental tool of measurement. The migration of the neutrino from one discipline to another enhanced the use of it as an investigative tool. It also led to the creation of the neutrino physics discipline that stands between particle physics and astrophysics. This allows to see how concepts travel and acquire different meanings.
Historical Verification in Scientific Humanism.
Early twentieth-century scientist-historians studied science with a view to improving science. In fact pioneers like George Sarton or Charles Singer envisaged a comprehensive programme of both scientific and social transformation. In the ‘scientific humanism’ of their generation, commitments to the advancement of historical scholarship combined with the ambition both to secure the advancement of scientific knowledge and to effect social reconstruction. Their stipulation that an ideal scientific education could make a difference to the problems of both modern science and modern society made history its key resource. The historical science pedagogy they created was aimed at a dual audience: to scientifically illiterate pilgrims it promised the gift of scientific literacy, and to scientific expert in the making it offered an antidote to overspecialization. Empirical verification and real demonstration were not a contingent feature of this programme. Rather, empiricity formed the core component in the ideology of the new, scientific humanism. Yet the relations of this humanism with material culture were ambivalent. While empiricism figured centrally in how historical presentations of scientific knowledge came to be promoted, such science communication explicitly promised a virtual alternative to laboratory training, field research, and even museum culture. Didactic history of science operated through books and iconography, not experimental encounter. In it, the stipulation of experimental philosophy that replication mattered translated into the assumption that real scientific experience had to inform the evolutionary narratives historians produced. While the polemics in which this programme asserted its identity vis-à-vis rivalling humanistic projects spoke of the importance of real witnessing in science history, it in fact helped set up the paradigm of the scientist-historian as the mediator and guarantor of experiences generated by the texts he or she created. In many ways the instructed were rendered believers, not knowers. I propose to explore this textual science pedagogy through the recapitulist stipulations that underpinned it and through the visual experiences it offered.
The Contingencies of Communication: European Knowledge of American Natural Productions in a Transatlantic Context, 1760-1810.
Much recent research has established the importance of correspondence networks in the acquisition of knowledge in early modern and enlightenment Europe. This corpus of work explains knowledge acquisition primarily in terms of the power of individuals or states to mobilize factual information from distant locations to centers of authority. Certainly this is the conventional view of how Europeans acquired knowledge of North American fauna and flora during this period. However, this view is based on studies that examine knowledge acquisition independent of its subsequent use, and it exaggerates the power naturalists possessed in securing natural knowledge from distant locations. Even a glance at the works of any of the most important eighteenth-century naturalists, such as Georges Buffon, Thomas Pennant, Georges Cuvier, or William Hunter, reveals the enormous difficulties that all European naturalists faced in obtaining natural knowledge from afar. This paper examines how the naturalists mentioned above acquired knowledge of several large quadrupeds in North America, including the elk, moose, and mammoth, whose identities were surrounded by profound uncertainty. It shows that European naturalists’ ability to obtain specimens of these large animals was restricted both by the physical obstacles that had to be overcome to capture and transport them back to Europe, and the social obstacles that had to be traversed in order to acquire correspondents “on the spot” in North America. The picture that emerges from this analysis shows that European naturalists were far more constrained in their ability to acquire knowledge from North America than has previously been argued, and that the intelligence they did acquire resulted as much from their own efforts as from the agency and labors of others.
Conflating the Pacific: Captain Edmund Fanning’s Construction of Peoples and Oceans in Voyages Round the World (1833).
The paper will examine Edmund Fanning’s Voyages Round the World (1833) to demonstrate the ways in which nineteenth century American maritime literature represented scientific inquiry. The paper asserts the contention that this genre represented a dilletantist view of science in which gentlemen (and women) collectors contributed to the enlargement of scientific knowledge through observations conducted during “voyages of commerce and discovery.” This version of science was one in which writers such as Fanning conflated the Pacific, melding observations of human communities and natural history into a uniform entity.
Morus, Iwan Rhys
Selling Skill: The Magic Lantern and the Presentation of Technical Ingenuity.
The magic lantern was one of the most pervasive of the nineteenth century’s technologies of display. Audiences at magic lantern shows could see the microscopic magnified to gargantuan dimensions. They could see apparitions walk around on stage. They were invited to marvel at such demonstrations as graphic examples of showmanship’s capacities. Magic lantern shows challenged their audiences to see through the technical wizardry and sleight of hand that made these displays of the marvellous possible. Magic lanterns themselves were on show as much as the supposed subjects of the demonstrations. Managing the magic lantern therefore meant walking a fine line between visibility and invisibility—magic lantern operators had to know what to make explicit and what to render tacit about their machines and their performances. This paper looks at the technical culture of magic lantern performances as a way of exploring some of the wider ramifications of the problematics of technologies of display how performers manage the relationship between themselves, their machines and their audiences.
How vacuum travelled in 19th century or how Geissler, Hittorf and Crookes met virtually in Edison’s workshop.
In the second half of the 19th century vacuum and glass technology turned into key technologies that strongly influenced early 20th century experimental physics. In my paper I want to trace some aspects of this development by following its way through laboratories in Germany, England and the United States. The demand for ever better vacuums was pushed forward by researches in gas discharge physics, soon followed by producers of electric light bulbs. My analysis starts in mid 19th century Germany where the instrument maker Heinrich Geissler constructed and sold vacuum tubes and mercury air pumps to a growing community of scientists. His collaboration with German physicists like Julius Pluecker and Johann Wilhelm Hittorf pushed this new technology into a wide use. Geissler’s tubes soon reached England and served as a core for or influenced various research projects. William Crookes’ investigations of radiometer effects will serve as a case study to exemplify how Geissler’s tubes transferred knowledge from one laboratory to another. The proliferation of tubes established a material culture that soon spread into almost every physics laboratory in the world. This will be demonstrated by a last example: Thomas Alva Edison’s laboratory and workshop in Menlo Park in New Jersey where both Crookes’ experimental practices and Geissler’s experiences and skills combine.
From Race Biology to Human Genetics. The Anthropological Survey of the “Swedish Lapps” 1922-1941.
The Swedish State Institute for Race Biology in Uppsala, founded in 1922 and renamed into Swedish State Institute of Human Genetics in 1941, invested nearly all its resources into a vast anthropological survey of the Samí population inhabiting Northern Sweden (the “Swedish Lapps”) in the beginning, collecting a huge amount of genealogical, anthropological, and photographical material. The results were published in two volumes in 1932 and 1941. In the years between, editorship had shifted alongside with the directorship of the State Institute, which went from Herman Lundborg to Gunnar Dahlberg. Both politically and scientifically, Lundborg and Dahlberg held very different views: Lundborg was a right-wing conservative and a leading race biologist and degeneration theorist, Dahlberg a social democrat and a mathematical population geneticist who criticized race biology severely. In comparing the two volumes, I will analyze the anthropological survey on the Swedish Lapps as a case, in which anthropology was not only an expression of certain political views, but in which anthropology reached a dimension as applied and “big” science that made its very substance in terms of the organisation of research political. When Dahlberg therefore criticized race biology as in his “Race: reason and rubbish” (1943) he did not do so to free science of politically imbued value statements, but to change its political nature.
Philanthropy and Physics at the University of São Paulo.
The importance of American philanthropic organizations in the development of the life sciences in Latin America has been well documented. What has been far less examined is the important role which they have also played in the physical sciences. This paper examines the role that groups such as the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations played in the history of science in Brazil by looking at their contribution to the development of a self-sustaining physics community at the University of São Paulo. Beginning in the 1940s Foundation money allowed United States physicists to come into contact with their Brazilian counterparts by subsidizing scientific expeditions to South America. By the 1960s a key form of exchange would be the establishment of post-doctoral fellowships in São Paulo. For the Brazilians these Foundations afforded them the opportunity to come to United States to complete their Doctorate or otherwise receive advanced training. As much or more than government programs, philanthropic organizations facilitated the circulation of physics knowledge between the United States and Brazil.
Neutrinos and the scattering of a team group. Theory and Experiment in the Cavendish laboratory in the 1930s.
In this paper I intend to trace the attempts in the Cavendish, in the early 1930s, to have experimental evidence for the neutrino, a theoretically-proposed particle. It was here that the first such experiments took place, although one may not be able to talk of a systematic research project to search for neutrinos. Once the first results, both theoretical and experimental, strongly suggested that the chances to detect neutrinos were almost non-existent, there was an evident decrease in the interest for the search of such particles in the Cavendish. However, that may not be the only reason for such lack of interest. The laboratory saw major changes in the mid 1930s, mainly due to the appointment of some of its researchers in other universities, and this helped to change the interests in the topics of research. Besides the experiments as such and the light they may throw into the work in the Cavendish just after the major achievements of the years 1932-1933, I think this story may be helpful to better understand the way in which the neutrino was so rapidly accepted even though there was no direct experimental evidence. This may also help to understand the migration of knowledge between theory and experiment in Physics.
Making Physics Psychic: the New Physics and Audiences for the Occult in Britain, 1870-1920.
This paper looks at how scientific knowledge was circulated between physical scientists and audiences for the occult in late Victorian and Edwardian Britain. I begin by surveying the ways in which such widely-read occult periodicals as Light, Borderland and the Occult Review, engaged with physical sciences, including news of strange new radiations and the forays of physicists into the séance. Contributors to these periodicals did not simply appropriate this material to give plausibility to their mystical view of the cosmos or to give credence to occult investigations, but critically and intelligently debated the pronouncements of physicists on such fundamental questions as the nature of matter. These audiences for physics, I show, articulated many of the puzzles in ‘classical’ physics that we tend to think were limited to exchanges in learned scientific journals. The second half of this paper highlights the two-way traffic between physicists and their occult readers. Physical scientists constituted a small but significant proportion of readers of, and contributors to, occult periodicals. They often appeared in these forums to stop confusion and abuse of the claims made in physics, but they also bolstered the dialogic nature of physics and the occult. Keen to represent physics as an enterprise compatible with metaphysics, they frequently interpreted the new physics of matter and radiation using metaphors drawn from the discourses of spiritualism and theosophy.
F. R. Leavis, Literary Criticism, and the Origins of a Critique of Science.
This paper explores an alternative source for the critiques of science, technology, and objectivity that emerged in the 1970s and are generally herded together under the rubric of “postmodernism.” In the disciplines that have come to comprise the field of science studies, those critiques (not to be confused with criticisms) are often understood to have emerged from within out of SSK, the strong programme, and the implications of the work of Thomas Kuhn. This paper examines another source of that critique: the work of the literary critic F. R. Leavis. Leavis had peculiar conceptions of the history of science and of scientific epistemology, and out of those conceptions he derived a thorough critique of the civilization of which science is characteristic. With the advent of “theory” in the 1970s, Leavisian criticism was increasingly marginalized, but at the same time the critique of modern civilization and scientific objectivity that he had wanted to infuse in literary studies was being secured at the heart of the field.
New Wine in Old Bottles: Natural Philosophy in a Period of Transition.
The demise of Aristotelianism is the main theme of many accounts of the Scientific Revolution. Accordingly, the rise of modern science is said to have coincided with and depended upon the rejection of Aristotelianism. Examination of natural philosophy texts from the early modern period, however, calls for a more complicated understanding of the relationship between Aristotelian natural philosophy and early modern natural philosophy. In this paper I argue that although much of the content of early modern physics resulted from profound intellectual changes that involved the replacement of Aristotelian concepts with those associated with Galileo's new science of motion and the mechanization of nature, the framework in which natural philosophers wrote about physics continued to follow the Aristotelian model. This continuity of form was reflected in the definition of physics, certain methodological tenets, and the order in which topics were treated.
The Enlightenment in Process: Leibniz, Voltaire, and Noël Pluche.
This presentation compares conceptions of enlightenment, specifically focusing upon the study of natural history, among the three above-mentioned European authors. It is meant to display a commonality that is rendered in subtly different ways by each author, and that is frequently underrepresented in discussions of the Enlightenment: the appeal to God’s purposes in explanations pursued in natural history and metaphysics. Each author presents interesting and different places for theology and teleology, and the position held by each has much to do with his own social location within the culture of Enlightenment. I will frame the discussion of the other authors within an introduction to Noël Pluche, since his writing is practically unknown today, and because it provides a particularly vivid example of introducing divine purposes into science, through physico-theological argument. Pluche argued positions that would later be reflected in Voltaire’s character, Pangloss: that stones were put by God on earth for use in building, and that volcanoes and earthquakes were provided for our good. Such argument was considered to be worthy of discussion and diagnosis as error in many places by Voltaire, and in the days before Pluche, by Leibniz. It was also part and parcel of a unique and richly detailed conception of human enlightenment that was pursued in the most sought-after popular treatment of science in Voltaire’s time (Pluche’s Spectacle de la Nature, 1732-50). Physico-theology was also pursued in serious geology and geography into the 1750’s, and the occasional, but differing applications of physico-theology by Leibniz and Voltaire further indicates the continuing profound importance of divine teleology for Enlightenment understanding of the world. The earthquake of 1755 at Lisbon provided an important knock to the use of Divine teleology in scientific explanation, but it was not enough to expel it from the general trend of thought, including the views of Voltaire.
Circulating Knowledge, Making Race: Colonial India in Imperial Race Theory, 1820s to 1860s.
This paper explores the circulation of ethnographic and phrenological evidence from India in Britain from the 1820s to the 1860s. I focus on evidence ‘locally’ collected by individuals who simultaneously worked as colonial doctors, administrators, explorers and Oriental scholars in India in the first half of the nineteenth century, and the conversion of the objects collected by them skulls and texts- into discourses on race in the metropolis. I will focus on the works of the Ethnological Society and the Phrenological Society, and specifically, the works of the James Cowles Prichard, author of The Physical History of Man eulogized as the ‘father of Victorian ethnography’, and John Crawfurd, officer in the Indian Medical Service, who, as President of the Ethnological society of London from 1863 to 1868, published over thirty articles on the theoretical and political implications of race. In a similar vein, and identifying the brain as the organ of mind, phrenologists too used evidence from the ‘civil history’ as well as the ‘physical history’ of man. Several articles in the Phrenological Journal published in the 1820s to 40s consider differences in physical features vis-à-vis climate, civilization, and racial intermixture. “Hindu skulls” were read as explanations for Hindu social practices, Hindu law, and thuggee the concept of a criminal community involved in habitual gang-murder neatly combining cultural evidence and craniometrical statistics. With this material, I explore the circulation of texts and objects in British India, and their role in two disparate attempts to understand the ‘races of man’ in the nineteenth century through phrenology and ethnology. Colonial networks, and the circulation of knowledge that this engendered, was crucial in racialist discussions in nineteenth century medical circles.
The Influence of Eastern Philosophies on the Foundational Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics from William James to David Bohm.
There has been a continual buzz about the mystical nature of quantum events in the popular literature, but also in the serious scientific and philosophic literature. The Tao of Physics brought it to the attention of the public, and there have been many other similar works since then. But the buzz is not limited to this genre, since the measurement problem still has not been resolved and we are left looking for a solution in variations of many philosophic themes. Wigner was unusual in being explicit about suggesting that consciousness played a major effective role in physical dynamics, but not many theories of consciousness that would reflect the theoretical and empirical results of tests have been proposed. Some have suggested that a Buddhist perspective could have relevance, while others have suggested that any morphological similarities between Buddhist philosophy and quantum mechanics are not sufficient for meaning. This paper will begin by tracing the substantive influence on Niels Bohr’s formulation of complementarity from Harold Hoffding’s existential roots and William James’ relation to Eastern philosophies. Bohr’s trip to India confirmed his belief in complementarity, while David Bohm’s connection with Krishnamirti informed his. Yet Bohm and Bohr have opposite views in the quantum mechanics foundation debate, so we must ask how both positions could be accommodated by Eastern philosophies. Of course, there are many different Eastern philosophies, and this paper will draw distinctions between them and connections with Western philosophies.
Technological Doublespeak: Metaphors, Public Policy and the Development of the First Domestic Communications Satellite Technology in Canada.
In this paper, I will be examining the language of the internal and external policy debates centering on Canada’s first domestic communications satellite, and will show how certain metaphors and figures of speech were crucial in allowing the government to present a vision of satellites that suited a particular agenda. Specifically, I will highlight a few key phrases and demonstrate how each played a role in determining the following characteristics of the new satellite company: nature of the technological system; ownership; cost and regulation. The goal of my paper is to show how particular language devices (i.e. metaphors, etc...) can impose a vision of a technology by emphasizing certain traits while de-emphasizing others. Ultimately, I will demonstrate that many of the terms used by key players in the debates were often contradictory, and that this eventually hindered the viability of the early satellite corporation.
Specimens of Sportsmanship: British Mammal Collecting in Southern Africa 1870-1917.
In the late-nineteenth and early twentieth-centuries, a diverse network of “sportsmen-naturalists” supplied the mammal collections of the British Museum. Their productions specimen collections, hunting stories, and field notes—stemmed from personal and violent encounters with the animals they described. Hunters’ privileged access to the field, their technical skills and their experience with animals in the wild and in the flesh, gave them a form of expertise on which museum taxonomists and taxidermists depended when reconstructing specimens. The artefacts thus mutually produced—preserved skins and horns, mounted heads and stuffed bodies—were judged simultaneously by the standards of trophy connoisseurship and by more familiar taxonomic criteria. This paper explores the dynamics of this movement of specimens and natural knowledge, focusing mainly on the career and writings of Frederick Courtenay Selous (1854-1917). Originally a professional ivory hunter in Southern Africa, Selous became a paid collector of African specimens for the British Museum (Natural History), and remained well known in hunting circles all his life. His career as hunter and author illustrates some of the ways in which location in the imperial field and participation in sporting mores became a rhetorical resource within natural history at the turn of the last century.
Communicating Popular Darwinism(s): Late Nineteenth-Century Popularisers And Professionals in Print and in Practice.
Throughout the late nineteenth century the meaning of ‘Darwinism’ was constantly reconfigured and reinvented both by elite scientific practitioners and commentators and by their popular counterparts. These debates were often heated, with each group claiming that it alone had distilled the term’s ‘true’ meaning. The content of these rival strains of Darwinism was significantly modified by the material, social and cognitive characteristics of the several media through which they were communicated, whether print, lectures, science classes, correspondence or club activities, and by the contexts in which those media were encountered.
However, there was more at stake in these frequently contentious exchanges than meaning alone. The contest over who held the interpretive rights on Darwinism involved deeper issues. How was scientific authority constructed and who held the right to claim to possess, to interpret, to question and to appropriate it? Was science epistemologically democratic?
This paper will discuss these and other questions through an examination of the multiple strains of Darwinism which were communicated through popular print, lectures, science classes, correspondence and club activities, their origins, and their reception.
It will then focus on the epistemology and content of the Darwinism of the Secularist movement in the late nineteenth century. Their struggle to unify the principles of freethinking with the appropriation of scientific authority, and to claim Darwinism as their own was frequently rehearsed on the debating platform and in print. Thus the movement provides the body of detailed evidence necessary to address the issues that the paper raises.
Dramatic Readings: Uses of Physiognomy on the Victorian Stage.
This paper will examine the ways in which physiognomy was self-consciously manipulated by actors and puppet-makers in nineteenth-century England. I will track the use of physiognomy in stage-directions, costuming, make-up, and puppet construction, focusing on non-verbal methods of communicating personality and character traits. The application of physiognomical principles to stage productions represented a shift in both the medium and the message of physiognomy. The system expanded from written texts designed to help readers uncover hidden information, to physical representations designed to explicitly convey that which lay below surface. As such, the calibrating image shifted; rather than using texts to look up people’s faces, I argue that the faces themselves became the texts, and audiences were expected to already understand that which they represented.
The use of physiognomy in stage productions depended on the audience having learned to see physiognomically, and some consensus on what that meant. However, physiognomy was constantly in flux, its constitution dependent in part on the process by which it was named. The expansion and manipulation of physiognomy in the world of theatre effected a significant change in the nature of the system and the manner in which it was conceived. I will argue that the way physiognomy was seen on stage altered the way it was understood on paper, thereby initiating a new type of physiognomical practice that extended beyond the dramatic theatre to the political one and beyond. As such, theatre-going audiences contributed to the development of new physiognomical systems and understandings.
Needham, UNESCO and international relations of science, 1946-1950.
Just after World War II, a specific division was established within Unesco for the exact and natural sciences. It had no precedent before the war. According to its promoters, particularly Joseph Needham, its first director, the Science Division was intended to inaugurate a revolution in the international relations of science. It was meant to replace the previous “laisser faire” approach with a planned and centrally organized action; to apply a “peripheral principle” for promoting scientific and technical development in the non-industrialised countries, rather than simply meeting the spontaneous scientific exchanges as defined by scientists from developed countries; and to take into account the cultural diversity of the world’s different civilization’s by means of the notion of “ecumenical science”. Needham tried to put into practice the ideas of the “science and society” movements in the 1930s about the social and international functions of science. The paper will mainly examine two Unesco projects in 1947-1950 : the International Institute of the Hylean Amazon, as the first attempt to establish a UN scientific laboratory, and the Field Scientific Cooperation Offices; with in the background, the support to ICSU, and the project of a Scientific and Cultural History of Mankind. Which scientific disciplines and scientists, which kind of science, were redistributed around the world by Unesco projects in this period ? How far Needham managed to break with the colonial and Eurocentrist heritages and to re-orientate the scientific relations ? How his action was limited by his own conceptions about science ?
Porter, Charlotte M.
Natural History and the Skin Trade: William Bartram in East Florida.
This paper will focus on William Bartram’s travels in the English Province of East Florida in 1774. In 1791, Bartram published his Travels through North & South Carolina, Georgia, East & West Florida, the Cherokee Country, the Extensive Territories of the Muscogulges, or Creek Confederacy, and the Country of the Chactaws; Containing an Accounf of the Soil and Natural Productions of Those Regions, Together with Observations on the Manners of the Indians. The last part of this long title to a long book acknowledges Bartram’s attention to human interactions with the natural world. Bartram set out on his travels to collect for a London patron. In the British colonies, science, particularly natural history, involved asymmetrical exchange of specimens, drawings, and information; colonial naturalists sent more data to England than they received in return. Traveling with British skin traders, Bartram participated in another asymmetrical exchange, as Lower Creeks and Seminoles, eager for European goods, depleted animal populations. Bartram realized that the skin trade was destroying Indian cultures, the “manners” of his title, as well as needed “natural productions.” The skin trade, a derivative of the English slave trade in Indian captives, also was destroying a sustainable basis for natural history. Who were the proper stewards? In Bartram’s eyes, the American Revolution brought only a brief reprieve to this frontier conflict of “nature’s economy,” an eighteenth-century idea, and human economies.
Science, Poetry and Popularisation.
Authors of popular science and philosophy, from the 1920s up to the present day, have appealed to Romantic images of poets and poetry in their attempts to turn readers away from images of science as an atomistic, materialist enterprise. In works by A.N. Whitehead, Richard Dawkins and Mary Midgley, for instance, poetry serves a crucial rhetorical role in promoting the holistic and humanistic character of science. Frequently this entails presenting a caricature of enlightenment ideals as self-defeating, leading to crisis in the nineteenth century and giving rise to twentieth-century developments more compatible with the full range of human experience. Literary critics have readily collaborated in the telling of this story; in the later twentieth century caricatures or misreadings of Kuhn’s account contributed a further chapter casting the authority of science as just another myth. This has implications for more recent studies of the relations between literature and science, a growing field which has often been presented as at once dependent on, and further contributing to, anti-realism. Rather than exposing ignorance of literary complexity, the recovery of work done by images of poetry in popular science and philosophy opens up a storytelling process in which the character and potential of both literature and science have become mutually limiting. What effect do these limits have on contemporary literary engagement in the history of science, and what characterises fruitful exchange or collaboration between these fields?
Transforming Fossils: Macroevolution, Paleobiology & Punctuated Equilibria in Europe & North America.
Stephen Jay Gould’s death in 2002 marked an era in the history of paleontology and evolutionary biology. He was an icon of the paleobiology movement in which questions of macroevolution emerged as a distinct locus of evolutionary theory, first in the U.S. in the early 1970’s, then throughout the world. The controversy moved paleontology into a central role as a source of evolutionary theory. The new ideas diverged from the Anglo-American Modern Synthesis --what Julian Huxley called the “true blue Darwinian stream.” I argue against the adequacy of the “eclipse model” in the historiography of evolution, which holds that Darwinian thought was “eclipsed” for some time before the Modern Synthesis. There is no one true Darwinism; the Modern Synthesis was only one of many Darwinian conceptions of evolution, others of which achieved their expression outside England, most notably in the work of early American paleontologists, and German biologists and paleontologists. There was a slightly earlier German Synthesis before the Modern Synthesis. It was led by Otto Schindewolf and Richard Goldschmidt but destroyed by German National Socialism and World War II. Its remnants influenced the paleobiology revolution of the 1960s, and Niles Eldredge and Stephen Jay Gould’s speciation concept, punctuated equilibria. The paleontological revolution merged with the developing fields of evolutionary and developmental biology and genomics in the 1990s to produce a new, pluralistic Darwinian Synthesis in which natural selection, though remaining crucial for adaptation, is not the main force responsible for patterning the history of life on earth. Rather, patterns of biodiversity arise within a mix of complex factors including a random, contingent, and stochastic factors in ecology, mass extinction, and a strong patterning effect from genetic and genomic variation. To quote Adolf Seilacher: “The hopeful monster is an extreme formulation of something that becomes much more acceptable if you do not call it that.” Fossils played a key role in this transformation that united various European and North American national styles of doing science.
Une appropriation sélective et localisée. La circulation en milieu clinique des nouvelles catégories diagnostiques en thérapie du langage, 1985-2000.
L’orthophonie (en anglais “speech therapy”) est une profession paramédicale vouée aux troubles de la communication. En 1980, la majorité des problèmes diagnostiqués chez des enfants par des orthophonistes sont catégorisés et interprétés en termes de psychologie du développement. Après 1985, au Canada et aux États-Unis, la diffusion de nouvelles catégories scientifiques, issues des milieux de recherche, permet aux orthophonistes de diagnostiquer de plus en plus de troubles d’origine neurologique, extérieurs au champ de la psychologie. Rapidement, les troubles neurologiques du langage deviennent une catégorie dominante en clinique. Cette évolution des diagnostics n’a qu’un impact limité sur la forme des interventions elles-mêmes, mais elle permet aux orthophonistes de s’approprier de nouveaux cas et d’accroître leur autonomie professionnelle. Cette communication porte sur la diffusion de ces nouvelles catégories dans les hôpitaux et les centres de réadaptation du Québec, pour décrire leur circulation entre les milieux scientifiques et professionnels, ainsi qu’entre disciplines. Dans une perspective d’histoire des professions, on mettra l’emphase sur le rôle moteur des initiatives locales et des aspirations professionnelles des cliniciennes dans ce processus. D’une part, la diffusion s’opère au plan strictement local, clinique par clinique, généralement du propre chef des cliniciennes elles-mêmes et par le biais d’échanges interpersonnels. Cette fragmentation informelle donne lieu à des interprétations et des pratiques très différentes et parfois même contradictoires selon les milieux et les enjeux professionnels locaux. D’autre part, on voit les cliniciennes s’approprier les catégories et les savoirs scientifiques de manière très sélective, adoptant ainsi les représentations et les tests qui les aident à imposer leurs diagnostics tout en omettant les éléments qui servent moins leur autonomie professionnelle. Pour l’historien, cette perspective suggère des considérations sur la possibilité de prendre pour objet non pas des savoirs qui circulent d’un milieu à l’autre, mais des cliniciens qui sélectionnent et interprètent ces savoirs en fonction d’impératifs spécifiquement professionnels.
Pycior, Helena M.
Bridging Physics and Medicine: Marie Curie and the Medical Applications of X-rays and Radioactivity.
During the twentieth century no professional community commemorated Marie Curie more steadfastly and devotedly than radiologists. Taking this observation as a jumping-off point, the paper studies Curie’s role -- as scientist and symbol -- in promoting the medical applications of x-rays and radioactivity. The paper opens with a brief review of Curie’s radiological publications, most prominently La radiologie et la guerre. Then, analyzing the image of “Madame Curie the healer of cancer” that circulated widely during Curie’s visit of 1921 to the United States, the paper argues that the Marie Curie Radium Fund campaign (led by Marie Mattingly Meloney and a committee of scientists and physicians) used the image of the healer to popularize not only Curie but also radiology and, more specifically, radiation therapy. The celebration of Curie was, then, also a celebration of the promise of radiation therapy for cancer. Pursuing Marie Curie as a bridge between physicists studying x-rays and radioactivity and early-twentieth-century physicians eager to offer cancer patients more effective treatment, the paper helps to explain the striking commemoration of Marie Curie by the radiological community.