Circling in on Tyndall and Turner: Bernard Lightman and Michael S. Reidy : The age of scientific naturalism: Tyndall and his contemporaries. London: Pickering & Chatto, 2014, 256pp, £60, $99 HB [Book Review]

Metascience 24 (2):219-222 (2015)
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The subtitle of this work surely deserves a place on its cover. John Tyndall was a Victorian scientist remarkable for his experimental abilities, his wide range of interests in physics and his aggressive personality. He fought his way to a scientific career in London from humble beginnings as a surveyor, railroad engineer and schoolteacher. At his height, from the 1860s to the early 1880s, he juggled several different roles in addition to his principal appointment as professor of natural philosophy at London’s Royal Institution, and added to his income with popular lectures and essays. He seems to have relished greatly both his friends and his enemies. This volume of essays particularly highlights these friends, showing the tight-knit and small world of Victorian science. But was this “the age of scientific naturalism”? This title alludes to the term made prominent over a generation ago in the work of historian Frank Turner, who ..



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Katharine Anderson
Carnegie Mellon University

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