Scientists and Swindlers: Consulting on Coal and Oil in America, 1820-1890

Scientists and Swindlers: Consulting on Coal and Oil in America, 1820-1890

by Paul Lucier
     
 

In this impressively researched and highly original work, Paul Lucier explains how science became an integral part of American technology and industry in the nineteenth century. Scientists and Swindlers introduces us to a new service of professionals: the consulting scientists. Lucier follows these entrepreneurial men of science on their wide-ranging

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Overview

In this impressively researched and highly original work, Paul Lucier explains how science became an integral part of American technology and industry in the nineteenth century. Scientists and Swindlers introduces us to a new service of professionals: the consulting scientists. Lucier follows these entrepreneurial men of science on their wide-ranging commercial engagements from the shores of Nova Scotia to the coast of California and shows how their innovative work fueled the rapid growth of the American coal and oil industries and the rise of American geology and chemistry. Along the way, he explores the decisive battles over expertise and authority, the high-stakes court cases over patenting research, the intriguing and often humorous exploits of swindlers, and the profound ethical challenges of doing science for money.

Starting with the small surveying businesses of the 1830s and reaching to the origins of applied science in the 1880s, Lucier recounts the complex and curious relations that evolved as geologists, chemists, capitalists, and politicians worked to establish scientific research as a legitimate, regularly compensated, and respected enterprise. This sweeping narrative enriches our understanding of how the rocks beneath our feet became invaluable resources for science, technology, and industry.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801890031
Publisher:
Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date:
09/19/2008
Series:
Johns Hopkins Studies in the History of Technology Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
448
Product dimensions:
6.90(w) x 10.00(h) x 1.50(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Trained as a geophysicist, Paul Lucier holds a Ph.D. in history from Princeton University. His work as a historian of science and technology specializing in the earth and environmental sciences and the mining industries has received numerous prizes and has been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Science Foundation.

Johns Hopkins University Press

Table of Contents

Introduction Money for science 1

Ch. 1 Geological enterprise 11

Ch. 2 The strange case of the Albert mineral 41

Ch. 3 The American sciences of coal 69

Ch. 4 Mining science 108

Ch. 5 The technological science of kerosene 143

Ch. 6 The kerosene cases 162

Ch. 7 The rock oil report 189

Ch. 8 The elusive nature of oil and its markets 208

Ch. 9 The search for oil and oil-finding experts 244

Ch. 10 California crude 273

Epilogue Americanization of science 313

Notes 325

Essay on sources 397

Index 411

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