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Cavendish: The Experimental Life

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Book Series: Studies 7: Max Planck Research Library in the History and Development of Knowledge ISBN: 9783945561065 Year: Pages: 596 Language: English
Publisher: Edition Open Access
Subject: Chemistry (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2017-03-03 16:09:07
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Two gifted eighteenth-century Londoners, Charles Cavendish and his painfully preeminent son Henry were descendants of paired revolutions, one political and one scientific. Scions of a powerful revolutionary family, they gave an original turn to the duty of public service that attached to their social rank. The English aristocracy knew one of its finest hours when Henry Cavendish gently laid his delicate weights in the scales of the first great precision balance of the century. For this action to happen, it took two generations and two kinds of invention, one in social forms and the other in scientific methods. This joint biography of father and son tells how it came to pass. Henry Cavendish is best known for his researches in chemistry, electricity, and heat, but in truth he worked in every part of physical science, bringing to it his unique combination of experimental precision and mathematical penetration. His accomplishment is likened to the highest example: since the death of Newton, Humphry Davy wrote, England has suffered "no scientific loss so great as that of Cavendish." Through inheritance he became immensely rich. Regarding intellect and fortune, he is called "the wisest of the rich and the richest of the wise." In his exclusive devotion to science, he is compared with "the most austere anchorites," who were "not more faithful to their vows." With reference to his legendary shyness, he is described as a man of "most reserved disposition," of a "degree bordering on disease." He was, to be sure, all of these things: one of the best scientists of his time, one of the richest men in the kingdom, a member of one of the politically most influential aristocratic families, a scientific fanatic, and a person of extraordinary peculiarities. This biography, a major revision of the original published in 1999, offers an enlarged understanding of the eighteenth century world of science and a reevaluation both of the scientific genius and of the remarkable personality of Henry Cavendish. It is a comprehensive study of science, family, and society in the eighteenth century.

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MPRL --- Edition Open Access

The Globalization of Knowledge in the Iberian Colonial World

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Book Series: Proceedings 10: Max Planck Research Library for the History and Development of Knowledge ISBN: 9783945561072 Year: Pages: 322 Language: English
Publisher: Edition Open Access
Added to DOAB on : 2017-03-07 10:37:43
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This volume investigates processes of knowledge formation in the Iberian colonies by attempting to understand the Spanish and Portuguese contribution to the European scientific tradition, and by tracing the origins and history of this knowledge to find out how it was gained. The studies in this volume reconsider our understanding of what scientific knowledge is and introduce a variety of scientific cultures of European and non-European origin. They examine the mixing processes of scientific cultures and the role these cultures played in the colonial situation at the intersection of non-human processes and human action. The volume brings together contributions in the history of botany, art, materia medica, translation in the religious sphere of colonial missions as well as mining as a scientific, juridical and industrial endeavor.

Shifting Paradigms: Thomas S. Kuhn and the History of Science

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Book Series: Proceedings 8: Max Planck Research Library for the History and Development of Knowledge ISBN: 9783945561119 Year: Pages: 397 Language: English
Publisher: Edition Open Access
Added to DOAB on : 2017-03-07 12:55:38
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The publication of Thomas S. Kuhn’s "Structure of Scientific Revolutions" in 1962 stands for a turning point in the history and philosophy of science. The repercussions of this work have rearticulated the theoretical framework of history and philosophy of science and have also generated discussions that contributed to the formation of the communities of historians as well as philosophers of science in many parts of the world. Different approaches to history of science have since emerged and most of them have the "Structure" as their reference point. In October 2012, a conference at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science brought together some of the historians of science whose work has played a decisive role in the ways history of science has evolved as a field of research in the past 50 years, both intellectually and institutionally. This volume gathers reflections by many of these historians on the history of the history of science, based on the presentations and discussions at the conference. The topics covered range from personal recollections of working with Thomas Kuhn to broad overviews of the historical development of the history of science as a discipline in the past half-century. The series Proceedings of the Max Planck Research Library for the History and Development of Knowledge presents the results of scientific meetings on current issues and supports further cooperation on these issues via an electronic platform. The volumes are available both as print-on-demand books and as open-access publications on the Internet. The material is freely accessible online at www.edition-open-access.de.

Spatial Thinking and External Representation: Towards a Historical Epistemology of Space

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Book Series: Studies 8: Max Planck Research Library in the History and Development of Knowledge ISBN: 9783945561089 Year: Pages: 219 Language: English
Publisher: Edition Open Access
Added to DOAB on : 2017-03-07 13:00:16
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Spatial knowledge takes different forms in different societies and at different times in history depending on the spatial experiences accounted for and the available means for the external representation of knowledge. The volume presents and analyses manifestations of spatial thinking in the language and practices of recent non-literate societies, in the administrative institutions of early civilizations, in discursive contexts of ancient Greece and China, in early modern natural philosophy and metaphysics, and in twentieth-century physics, and discusses their historical and structural relations.

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MPRL --- Edition Open Access

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