The Heavens on Earth: Observatories and Astronomy in Nineteenth-Century Science and Culture

The Heavens on Earth: Observatories and Astronomy in Nineteenth-Century Science and Culture

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Duke University Press Books
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The Heavens on Earth: Observatories and Astronomy in Nineteenth-Century Science and Culture

The Heavens on Earth explores the place of the observatory in nineteenth-century science and culture. Astonomy was a core pursuit for observatories, but usually not only one. It belongs to a large group of "observatory sciences" that also included geodesy, meterology, geomagnetism, and even parts of physics and statistics. These pursuits coexisted in the nineteenth-century observatory; this collection surveys them as a coherent whole. It illuminates the observatory's importance to technological, military, political, and colonial undertakings, as well as to the advancement and popularization of the mathematical, physical, and cosmological sciences.

The contributors examine "observatory techniques" developed and used not only in connection with observatories but also by instrument makes in their workshops, navy officers on ships, civil engineers in the filed, and many others. These techniques included he calibration and coordination of precision instruments for making observations and taking measurements, methods of data acquisition and tabulation, and the production of maps, drawings, and photographs, as well as numerical, textual and visual representation of the Heavens and the earth. They also encompassed the social management of personnel within observatories, the coordination of international scientific collaborations, and interactions with dignitaries and the public. Focusing on observatory techniques in settings from Berlin, London, Paris and Rome to Australia, Russia, Thailand, and Unites States, The Heavens on Earth is a major contribution to the history of science.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780822346401
Publisher: Duke University Press Books
Publication date: 01/26/2010
Series: Science and Cultural Theory
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 1,212,020
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.30(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illutrations vii

Acknowedgement xi

Introduction: Observatory techniques in Nineteenth-Century Science and Society David Aubin Charlotte Bigg H. Otto Sibum 1

1 The Astronomical Capital of the World: Pulkovo observatory in the Russia of Tsar Nicholas Simon Werrett 33

2 The Jesuit on the roof: Observatory sciences, Metaphysics, and Nation Building Massimo Mazzotti 58

3 Eclipse Politics in France and Thailand, 1868 David Aubin 86

4 Keeping the books at Paramatta observatory Simon Schaffer 118

5 Training Seafarers in Astronomy: Methods, Naval schools, and Naval Observatories in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century France Guy Boistel 148

6 Astronomy as Military Science: The Case of Sweden, ca. 1800-1850 Sven Widmalm 174

7 Geodesy and Map Making in France and Algeria: Between Army Officers and Observatory scientists Martina Schiavon 199

8 Michelson and the Observatory: Physics and the Astronomical Community in Late-Nineteenth-Century America Richard Staley 225

9 Even the tools will be free: Humboldt's Romantic Technology John Tresch 253

10 "I thought this might be of interest...": The Observatory as Public Enterprise Theresa Levitt 285

11 Staging the Heavons: Astrophysics and popular Astronomy in the Late Nineteenth century Charottle Bigg 305

12 The Berlin Urania, Humboldtian Cosmology and the Public Ole Molvig 325

Biliography 345

About the Contributors 367

Index 369

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