The connections between science and education, disciplines which are usually considered separately, were particulary strong in the U.S.A. in the early decades of the nineteenth century. Many American scientists at that time were employed as educators, and interested in matters of pedagogy. Like educators they were interested in popularizing their subject, and promoting it into a profession. The overlapping of science and education was especially evident in the area of apparatus. The philosophical apparatus that American scientists were acquiring at a (...) great rate might be considered scientific. In fact, it was often used for public demonstrations of natural philosophy, and seldom used for the advancement of science. In many instances this apparatus was indistinguishable from that developed for the educational reform known as object teaching. The proliferation of this apparatus was furthered by a growing apparatus industry operating within a growing consumer culture. (shrink)
Summary Americans import large amounts of sugar, levy a stiff tariff on it, and base this tariff on the saccharine content of each sample, and thus the assessment of sugar quality for tax purposes was enormously important. It was also among the most difficult challenges of a scientific or technical nature facing the federal government in the nineteenth century, and the issues it raised would often recur as science-based quality control became an essential feature of industry.
Since military planners must know the size and shape of the earth if they hope to track earth-orbiting satellites and to target missiles on distant lands, geodesy was an important concern of the two superpowers during the Cold War. The most important geodetic product in the United States was a series of increasingly powerful World Geodetic Systems, the first of which was published for the Department of Defense in 1960. Although WGS 60 was created because of intense international rivalries, it (...) reflected the intense rivalries between America's Army and its Air Force, and it introduced the notion of 'political geodesy'. My attention to American events does not indicate a lack of interest in the Soviet story; rather, I hope that historians with better language skills and better access to Soviet documents will examine geodetic research on the other side of the former Iron Curtain. (shrink)