An unpublished satirical work, writtenc.1848–1854, provides fresh insight into the most famous scientific voyage of the nineteenth century. John Clunies Ross, settler of Cocos-Keeling – which HMSBeaglevisited in April 1836 – felt that Robert FitzRoy and Charles Darwin had ‘depreciated’ the atoll on which he and his family had settled a decade earlier. Producing a mock ‘supplement’ to a new edition of FitzRoy'sNarrative, Ross criticized their science and their casual appropriation of local knowledge. Ross's virtually unknown work is intriguing not (...) only for its glimpse of theBeaglevoyage, but also as a self-portrait of an imperial scientific reader. An experienced merchant seaman and trader–entrepreneur with decades of experience in the region, Ross had a very different perspective from that of FitzRoy or Darwin. Yet he shared many of their assumptions about the importance of natural knowledge, embracing it as part of his own imperial projects. Showing the global reach of print culture, he used editing and revision as satirical weapons, insisting on his right to participate as both reader and author in scientific debate. (shrink)
These proceedings of the International Conference for the History of Science in Science Education (ICHSSE) 2012 offer a snapshot of the work and conversations at an increasingly busy intersection: history of science, museum and science center staff, and science educators.
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 .. (shrink)
ABSTRACTThe torsion balance, an instrument that was first developed to demonstrate the high precision of physical science in the laboratory became a different sort of demonstration instrument in its brief vogue in the 1920s. This article considers intersecting stories of acquiring and testing the torsion balance as a field instrument in Canada, Britain and Australia. It examines the purchasing trip and fieldwork of A. H. Miller of the Dominion Observatory in 1928–1931, testing conducted by the British Geological Survey in 1926–1930, (...) and finally the Imperial Geophysical Experimental Survey of 1928–1930 in Australia. These different stories produce a kind of collective biography, illustrating well the variety of material and textual records that accrete around instruments, especially expensive ones. But the trials and travels of the torsion balance also point to large themes. By comparing the different ways an instrument becomes valuable, and to whom, these micro-histories reveal significant features of the developing identity of geophysics. They also show the interaction of different forms of scientific internationalism in the inter-war period. (shrink)