The Making of Modern Science: Science, Technology, Medicine and Modernity: 1789 - 1914 / Edition 1

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Of all the inventions of the nineteenth century, the scientist is one of the most striking. In revolutionary France the science student, taught by men active in research, was born; and a generation later, the graduate student doing a PhD emerged in Germany. In 1833 the word ‘scientist’ was coined; forty years later science (increasingly specialised) was a becoming a profession. Men of science rivalled clerics and critics as sages; they were honoured as national treasures, and buried in state funerals. Their new ideas invigorated the life of the mind. Peripatetic congresses, great exhibitions, museums, technical colleges and laboratories blossomed; and new industries based on chemistry and electricity brought prosperity and power, economic and military. Eighteenth-century steam engines preceded understanding of the physics underlying them; but electric telegraphs and motors were applied science, based upon painstaking interpretation of nature. The ideas, discoveries and inventions of scientists transformed the world: lives were longer and healthier, cities and empires grew, societies became urban rather than agrarian, the local became global. And by the opening years of the twentieth century, science was spreading beyond Europe and North America, and women were beginning to be visible in the ranks of scientists.

Bringing together the people, events, and discoveries of this exciting period into a lively narrative, this book will be essential reading both for students of the history of science and for anyone interested in the foundations of the world as we know it today.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Knight loves science and he loves history. This work is a splendidexample of how to communicate that enthusiasm."
British Journal for the History of Science

"A fine synthesis, the fruit of a lifetime's study andreflection, which should prompt some readers to begin a lifetimestudy of their own."
Times Higher Education

"A superb history of the discipline."
The Diplomat

"A magisterial survey. For anyone who has experienced thedelight of hearing Knight deliver a public lecture, reading thiswill summon up his mellifluous voice as though he were standing inthe same room."

"Replete with insight and astute synthesis. It conveys theexcitement of science and of its history."
Social History of Medicine

"Knight ably discusses the various threads in this complexstory, his description of the people and events which shaped thescientific developments are always interesting, and hisinterpretation of the philosophical and cultural changes are alwaysinsightful. Knight has a lot to offer any reader interested in howthe profession established itself as one for skilled minds ... Thisbook is well researched and well written and is to be recommendedto anyone interested in how science and scientists emerged in the20th century."
Chemistry World

"The book is replete with insight and astute synthesis. Itconveys the excitement of science and of its history."
Social History of Medicine

"David Knight has long delighted his readers with books on thehistory of science that have been both instructive andentertaining. Here he draws on a lifetime's study to explain howscience - as a practical, intellectually challenging, and sociallydiverse activity - gained its cultural importance in the longnineteenth-century. Warmly recommended."
John Hedley Brooke, Andreas Idreos Professor Emeritus ofScience & Religion, University of Oxford

"David Knight's latest book is a glittering magnum opus in whichhe describes the professionalization of science by drawing onexamples from various disciplines. The writing is erudite, lucidand upbeat. The book is a social history, an institutional historyand an internal history all in one, and it is gratifying to seechemistry assuming a rather central position in the story."
Eric Scerri, author of The Periodic Table, Its Story and ItsSignificance

"This book is a pleasure to read: light in style, yet incisive,informative, and even profound. With a few well-chosen words Knightcan conjure up a Huxley or a Faraday, or explain the problemsscientists faced in understanding the variety of human 'races'. Hisexplanations of scientific issues go to the heart of the matter andare never weighed down with detail. I can't think of a better ormore rounded introduction to the history of nineteenth-centuryscience."
Geoffrey Cantor, University of Leeds

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745636764
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 12/8/2009
  • Series: PHSS - Polity History of Science Series, #2
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

David Knight is Emeritus Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at Durham University.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations vi

Preface: The Age of Science viii

Acknowledgements xiii

Introduction: Approaching the Past 1

1 Science in and after 1789 12

2 Science and its Languages 33

3 Applied Science 56

4 Intellectual Excitement 82

5 Healthy Lives 105

6 Laboratories 129

7 Bodies, Minds and Spirits 151

8 The Time of Triumph 172

9 Science and National Identities 195

10 Method and Heresy 217

11 Cultural Leadership 238

12 Into the New Century 264

Timeline 283

Notes and References 289

Index 353

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