Read by QxMD icon Read

British Journal for the History of Science

Oliver Hochadel
The Sierra de Atapuerca in northern Spain is ranked among the most important excavation sites in human origins research worldwide. The project boasts not only spectacular hominid fossils, among them the 'oldest European', but also a fully fledged 'popularization industry'. This article interprets this multimedia industry as a generator of different narratives about the researchers as well as about the prehistoric hominids of Atapuerca. It focuses on the popular works of the three co-directors of the project...
September 2016: British Journal for the History of Science
Amanda Rees
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
September 2016: British Journal for the History of Science
Amanda Rees
This paper explores how three central figures in the field of British prehistory - Sir Arthur Keith, Sir Grafton Elliot Smith and Louis Leakey - deployed different disciplinary practices and narrative devices in the popular accounts of human bio-cultural evolution that they produced during the early decades of the twentieth century. It shows how they used a variety of strategies, ranging from virtual witness through personal testimony to tactile demonstration, to ground their authority to interpret the increasingly wide range of fossil material available and to answer the bewildering variety of questions that could be asked about them...
September 2016: British Journal for the History of Science
Janis Antonovics, Jacobus Kritzinger
This study presents the first translation from Latin to English of the Linnaean dissertation Mundus invisibilis or The Invisible World, submitted by Johannes Roos in 1769. The dissertation highlights Linnaeus's conviction that infectious diseases could be transmitted by living organisms, too small to be seen. Biographies of Linnaeus often fail to mention that Linnaeus was correct in ascribing the cause of diseases such as measles, smallpox and syphilis to living organisms. The dissertation itself reviews the work of many microscopists, especially on zoophytes and insects, marvelling at the many unexpected discoveries...
September 2016: British Journal for the History of Science
Matthew R Goodrum
Since the nineteenth century, hominid palaeontology has offered critical information about prehistoric humans and evidence for human evolution. Human fossils discovered at a time when there was growing agreement that humans existed during the Ice Age became especially significant but also controversial. This paper argues that the techniques used to study human fossils from the 1850s to the 1870s and the way that these specimens were interpreted owed much to the anthropological examination of Stone, Bronze, and Iron Age skeletons retrieved by archaeologists from prehistoric tombs throughout Europe...
September 2016: British Journal for the History of Science
Paige Madison
A fossilized skeleton discovered in 1856 presented naturalists with a unique challenge. The strange, human-looking bones of the first recognized Neanderthal confronted naturalists with a new type of object for which they had no readily available interpretive framework. This paper explores the techniques and approaches used to understand these bones in the years immediately following the discovery, in particular 1856-1864. Historians have previously suggested that interpretations and debates about Neanderthals hinged primarily on social, political and cultural ideologies...
September 2016: British Journal for the History of Science
Jessica Ratcliff
In 1840 the raja of Travancore, Swathi Thirunal, would offer his government's assistance to the British Association for the Advancement of Science and its plan for a global system of magnetic observations. Over the next thirty years, the two directors of this princely state's observatory, John Caldecott and John Allan Broun, would pursue fundamental terrestrial magnetic research. Their efforts would culminate in the Trivandrum [Trevandrum] Magnetical Observations (1874). In what follows, the history of this publication is used to shed light on how and why a semi-autonomous princely state such as Travancore would engage the scientific community in Europe at this time...
June 21, 2016: British Journal for the History of Science
Jesse Olszynko-Gryn
Despite much excellent work over the years, the vast history of scientific filmmaking is still largely unknown. Historians of science have long been concerned with visual culture, communication and the public sphere on the one hand, and with expertise, knowledge production and experimental practice on the other. Scientists, we know, drew pictures, took photographs and made three-dimensional models. Rather like models, films could not be printed in journals until the digital era, and this limited their usefulness as evidence...
June 2016: British Journal for the History of Science
Gregory Radick
When it comes to knowledge about the scientific pasts that might have been - the so-called 'counterfactual' history of science - historians can either debate its possibility or get on with the job. Taking the latter course means re-engaging with some of the most general questions about science. It can also lead to fresh insights into why particular episodes unfolded as they did and not otherwise. Drawing on recent research into the controversy over Mendelism in the early twentieth century, this address reports and reflects on a novel teaching experiment conducted in order to find out what biology and its students might be like now had the controversy gone differently...
June 2016: British Journal for the History of Science
Tom Quick
Early nineteenth-century zoology in Britain has been characterized as determined by the ideological concerns of its proponents. Taking the zoologist Robert E. Grant as an exemplary figure in this regard, this article offers a differently nuanced account of the conditions under which natural-philosophical knowledge concerning animal life was established in post-Napoleonic Britain. Whilst acknowledging the ideological import of concepts such as force and law, it points to an additional set of concerns amongst natural philosophers - that of appropriate tool use in investigation...
June 2016: British Journal for the History of Science
Jim Endersby
Between 1916 and 1927, botanists in several countries independently resolved three problems that had mystified earlier naturalists - including Charles Darwin: how did the many species of orchid that did not produce nectar persuade insects to pollinate them? Why did some orchid flowers seem to mimic insects? And why should a native British orchid suffer 'attacks' from a bee? Half a century after Darwin's death, these three mysteries were shown to be aspects of a phenomenon now known as pseudocopulation, whereby male insects are deceived into attempting to mate with the orchid's flowers, which mimic female insects; the males then carry the flower's pollen with them when they move on to try the next deceptive orchid...
June 2016: British Journal for the History of Science
Edward Deveson
Biological control of arthropods emerged as a scientific enterprise in the late nineteenth century and the orchard industry of California was an early centre of expertise. In 1900, as the Australian colonies prepared for federation, each had a government entomologist attached to its agriculture department. The hiring of George Compere from California by the Western Australian Department of Agriculture began a controversial chapter in the early history of biological control that was linked to a late, local popularization of acclimatization...
June 2016: British Journal for the History of Science
Allan Jones
Science writer, historian and administrator J.G. Crowther (1899-1983) had an uneasy relationship with the BBC during the 1920s and 1930s, and was regarded with suspicion by the British security services because of his left politics. Nevertheless the Second World War saw him working for 'establishment' institutions. He was closely associated with the BBC's Overseas Service and employed by the British Council's Science Committee. Both organizations found Crowther useful because of his wide, international knowledge of science and scientists...
June 2016: British Journal for the History of Science
Federica Turriziani Colonna
During the early 1870s a young zoologist who worked as a Privatdozent delivering lectures at different Prussian universities invested much of his family wealth and solicited his fellows' contributions to establish a research facility by the sea. The young zoologist happened to be called Anton Dohrn. From the time it opened its doors, the Anton Dohrn Zoological Station - or Naples Zoological Station, as it was originally called - played a crucial role in shaping life sciences as it facilitated research aimed at explaining the mechanics of inheritance...
March 2016: British Journal for the History of Science
Jenny Bulstrode
For geologists and antiquaries of the late 1850s debates over ancient stone tools were frustrated by a lack of accepted criteria. The artefacts were hard to interpret. It was not self-evident how to judge whether they were ancient or modern, natural or man-made; or indeed whether stone tools could pre-date the use of metal tools at all. Antiquary and papermaker John Evans provided a system that offered to resolve these issues. His criteria and his use of re-enactment, making his own stone implements, gained acceptance among flint experts across fluid disciplinary boundaries and enabled authoritative interpretations of the underdetermined objects...
March 2016: British Journal for the History of Science
Noah Moxham
Richard Waller's 'Life of Dr Robert Hooke', prefixed to his edition of Hooke's Posthumous Works (1705), is an important source for the life of one of the most eminent members of the early Royal Society. It also has the distinction of being one of the earliest biographies of a man of science to be published in English. I argue that it is in fact the first biography to embrace the subject's natural-philosophical work as the centre of his life, and I investigate Waller's reasons for adopting this strategy and his struggle with the problem of how to represent an early experimental philosopher in print...
March 2016: British Journal for the History of Science
Dmitri Levitin
This article examines Isaac Newton's engagement with scholastic natural philosophy. In doing so, it makes two major historiographical interventions. First of all, the recent claim that Newton's use of the concepts of analysis and synthesis was derived from the Aristotelian regressus tradition is challenged on the basis of bibliographical, palaeographical and intellectual evidence. Consequently, a new, contextual explanation is offered for Newton's use of these concepts. Second, it will be shown that some of Newton's most famous pronouncements - from the General Scholium appended to the second edition of the Principia (1713) and from elsewhere - are simply incomprehensible without an understanding of specific scholastic terminology and its later reception, and that this impacts in quite significant ways on how we understand Newton's natural philosophy more generally...
March 2016: British Journal for the History of Science
Matthew Adamson
This study explores the origins and consequences of a unique, secret, French-American collaboration to prospect for uranium in 1950s Morocco. This collaboration permitted mediation between the United States and France. The appearance of France in an American-supported project for raw nuclear materials signalled American willingness to accept a new nuclear global order in which the French assumed a new, higher position as regional nuclear ally as opposed to suspicious rival. This collaboration also permitted France and the United States to agree tacitly to the same geopolitical status for the French Moroccan Protectorate, a status under dispute both in Morocco and outside it...
March 2016: British Journal for the History of Science
Sarah A Swenson
W.D. Hamilton's theory of inclusive fitness saw the evolution of altruism from the point of view of the gene. It was at heart a theory of limits, redefining altruistic behaviours as ultimately selfish. This theory inspired two controversial texts published almost in tandem, E.O. Wilson's Sociobiology: The New Synthesis (1975) and Richard Dawkins's The Selfish Gene (1976). When Wilson and Dawkins were attacked for their evolutionary interpretations of human societies, they claimed a distinction between reporting what is and declaring what ought to be...
December 2015: British Journal for the History of Science
Sheila Wille
The parasitic ichneumon fly, discovered by European natural philosophers in the seventeenth century, remained largely unstudied until it captured the attention of Enlightenment-era natural historians. Although this sudden surge of interest has been explained as an effort to understand the natural 'evil' of parasitism, the heyday of ichneumon studies was actually inspired by the political and agricultural context of late eighteenth-century Britain. British naturalists were captivated by this insect for reasons both philosophical and practical...
December 2015: British Journal for the History of Science
Fetch more papers »
Fetching more papers... Fetching...
Read by QxMD. Sign in or create an account to discover new knowledge that matter to you.
Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"