Nationalism and Internationalism in Science, 1880-1939: Four Studies of the Nobel Population

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Overview

Elisabeth Crawford's new study departs from the commonly held notion that universalism and internationalism are inherent features of science. Showing how the rise of scientific organizations around the turn of the century centered on national scientific enterprises, Crawford argues that scientific activities of the late nineteenth century were an integral part of the emergence of the nation-state in Europe. Internationalism in science, both theoretical and practical, began to hold sway over scientists only when economic relations and transportation and communication facilities began to cross national boundaries. The founding of the Nobel prize in 1901 confirmed the internationalization of science. The workings of the Nobel institution rested on an international community of scientists who forwarded candidates for the prizes. Along with the candidates and eventual prizewinners, they constituted the Nobel population, which, in the fields of chemistry and physics between 1901 and 1939, numbered more than a thousand scientists of greater and lesser renown from 25 countries. Crawford uses the Nobel population for prosopographic studies that shed new light on national and international science between 1901 and 1939. Her four studies examine critically the following problems: the upsurge of nationalism among scientists of warring nations during and after World War I and its consequences for internationalism in science, the existence of a scientific center and periphery in Central Europe, the effective use of the Nobel prizes in an organization whose primary purpose was to further national science, and the elite conception of science in the United States and its role in the success of the national scientific enterprise. Two introductory chapters provide necessary background by discussing research methodology, and national and international science between 1880 and 1914.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...takes a step toward breaking through to the large-scale categories of historical analysis that are commonplace in the mainstream historical community but have been lacking among historians of science." Kathryn M. Olesko, Science

"In none of her studies does Crawford shy from considering developments in scientific theory and experiment, the peculiarities of the Swedish scientific community and the goals of the Nobel prize committees. Such a historical understanding must supplement any quantitative analysis of sociological variables if we are to appreciate how the prizes reflect national and international scientific relations. It is for this reason that her book is such a success." Diana Barkan, Nature

"...departs from the commonly held notion that universalism and internationalism are inherent features of science. Showing how the rise of scientific organizations around the turn of the century centered on national scientific enterprises, Crawford argues that scientific activities of the late nineteenth century were an integral part of the emergence of the nation-state in Europe.

"...much more than a mere history of these prizes. She questions the assumption that science is and always has been universal. Scientific internationalism, science as an activity and a social institution, is often confused with scientific universalism, science as an abstract method for establishing universally valid knowledge....Crawford demonstrates that the similarities between American Nobel laureates and nonwinning candidates outweigh the differences, and she rejects the argument that Nobel Prizes constitute objective measures of social stratification in science." Mark Walker, ISIS

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521403863
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/1992
  • Pages: 169
  • Product dimensions: 6.26 (w) x 8.03 (h) x 0.71 (d)

Table of Contents

List of tables and figures
Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
Pt. I Conceptual and Historiographical Issues
1 Methods for a social history of scientific development 11
2 First the nation: national and international science, 1880-1914 28
Pt. II Critical and Empirical Studies
3 Internationalism in science as a casualty of World War I 49
4 Center-periphery relations in science: the case of Central Europe 79
5 National purpose and international symbols: the Kaiser-Wilhelm Society and the Nobel institution 106
6 Nobel laureates as an elite in American science 125
Bibliographical essay 147
Index 151
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