Mapping the Spectrum: Techniques of Visual Representation in Research and Teaching

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Overview

Ever since the boom of spectrum analysis in the 1860s, spectroscopy has become one of the most fruitful research technologies in analytic chemistry, physics, astronomy, and other sciences. This book is the first in-depth study of the ways in which various types of spectra, especially the sun's Fraunhofer lines, have been recorded, displayed, and interpreted. The book assesses the virtues and pitfalls of various types of depictions, including hand sketches, woodcuts, engravings, lithographs and, from the late 1870s onwards, photomechanical reproductions. The material of a 19th-century engraver or lithographer, the daily research practice of a spectroscopist in the laboratory, or a student's use of spectrum posters in the classroom, all are looked at and documented here. For pioneers of photography such as John Herschel or Hermann Wilhelm Vogel, the spectrum even served as a prime test object for gauging the color sensitivity of their processes. This is a broad, contextual portrayal of the visual culture of spectroscopy in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The illustrations are not confined to spectra—they show instruments, laboratories, people at work, and plates of printing manuals. The result is a multifacetted description, focusing on the period from Fraunhofer up to the beginning of Bohr's quantum theory. A great deal of new and fascinating material from two dozen archives has been included. A must for anyone interested in the history of modern science or in research practice using visual representations.

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
Historian of science Hentschel argues that spectrum analysis has always leaned heavily towards the image side of the image-logic dichotomy. He examines the way that scientists working in the area of spectroscopy of visually represented their work, from pencil drawing to photography and beyond. He combines this historical approach with an examination of the interplay between research and printing, on the one hand, and research and teaching, on the other. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198509530
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 5/16/2002
  • Pages: 580
  • Product dimensions: 9.50 (w) x 6.80 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Table of Contents

List of illustrations
List of Tables
1. Introduction
2. The spectrum in historical context
3. The interplay of representational form and purpose
4. Line matters
5. The material culture of printing
6. The rise of photography
7. Photochemical experimentation, infrared exploration, and the turn towards photometry
8. Research applications: Pattern recognition
9. In the classroom laboratory
10. Epilogue
Appendix 1: Survey of maps of the solar spectrum 1802-1918
Appendix 2: Survey of maps of terrestrial spectra 1835-1949
Bibliography
Index

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