Models: The Third Dimension of Science

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Now that ‘3-D models’ are so often digital displays on flat screens, it is timely to look back at the solid models that were once the third dimension of science. This book is about wooden ships and plastic molecules, wax bodies and a perspex economy, monuments in cork and mathematics in plaster, casts of diseases, habitat dioramas, and extinct monsters rebuilt in bricks and mortar. These remarkable artefacts were fixtures of laboratories and lecture halls, studios and workshops, dockyards and museums. Considering such objects together for the first time, this interdisciplinary volume demonstrates how, in research as well as in teaching, 3-D models played major roles in making knowledge. Accessible and original chapters by leading scholars highlight the special properties of models, explore the interplay between representation in two dimensions and three, and investigate the shift to modelling with computers. The book is fascinating reading for anyone interested in the sciences, medicine, and technology, and in collections and museums.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"...this collection of essays [provides] rich food for thought, and [is] a valuable source of material for comparison that goes well beyond the study of three dimensional models and includes, for example, the history of science as material culture, relationships between science and the public, and the relationship between different media in scientific practice."—Social Studies of Science

"This finely focused theme and the historical specificity of each author's contribution sustain and propel the reader through this rich, provocative collection,"—Science Magazine

" . . . [T]he wide-ranging chapters suggest intriguing aproaches to the investigation of objects which readers may wish to emulate."—Rittenhouse: Journal of the Scientific Instrument Enterprise

"...[I]f you are interested in the history of science then Models-The Third Dimension of Science edited by Soraya de Chadarevian and Nick Hopwood is a highly stimulating and thought-provoking book to read."—Acta Zoologica

"This book is wonderful...a real treasure trove."—The American Biology Teacher

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804739726
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/2004
  • Series: Writing Science Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 488
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Soraya de Chadarevian is Senior Research Associate in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge. She is the author, most recently, of Designs for Life: Molecular Biology after World War II (2002). Nick Hopwood is Lecturer in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge. His publications include Embryos in Wax: Models from the Ziegler Studio (2002).
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Table of Contents

1 Dimensions of modelling 1
Pt. 1 Modelling and enlightenment
2 Representing invention, viewing models 19
3 Plastic anatomies and artificial dissections 43
4 Fish and ships : models in the age of reason 71
Pt. 2 Disciplines and display
5 Modelling monuments and excavations 109
6 Monsters at the crystal palace 138
7 Plastic publishing in embryology 170
8 Casting skin : meanings for doctors, artists, and patients 207
9 Molecules and croquet balls 242
10 Mathematical models 276
11 Science, art, and authenticity in natural history displays 307
Pt. 3 New media and old
12 Models and the making of molecular biology 339
13 Secrets hidden by two-dimensionality : the economy as a hydraulic machine 369
14 From model kits to interactive computer graphics 402
15 Three-dimensional models in philosophical perspective 433
16 Material models as visual culture 443
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