Aspects of Scientific Practice/Organization Janskerkhof 2-3, Rm. 013 Organized Session
25 Jul 2019 01:30 PM - 03:30 PM(Europe/Amsterdam)
20190725T1330 20190725T1530 Europe/Amsterdam Matters Above and Below: Natural Philosophy and Natural History in the Eighteenth Century

The long eighteenth century saw changes in ideas of order not only in politics and society, but also in philosophy, the arts, and natural science. In the aftermath of the seventeenth-century Scientific Revolution, the Aristotelian two-sphere cosmology, which for millennia divided a geocentric universe into the earthly and heavenly realms, gave way to a unified and (semi-) mechanized universe. This had momentous and well-studied implications for astronomy and mechanics. Despite this collapse, the eighteenth century inherited old classificatory schemes-e.g. four ancient elements, three kingdoms of nature, subterranean and terrestrial realms-whose boundaries and aims had to be redefined, especially in experimental and natural historical pursuits. This panel examines some of these processes of conceptual, practical, and institutional renegotiation, and the way they played out in some of the most prominent domains of eighteenth-century scientific inquiry like experimental physics, chemistry, pneumatics, geology, and zoology. The papers assembled here, which span the years 1699–1812, examine British, French, German, Dutch, and Russian case studies to show both why old schemes were still useful in organizing and presenting scientific knowledge but also why and how they had to be revised. We explore shifts in classification before and after Linnaeus's binomial system; the development of early atmospheric and meteorological studies; Lomonosov's mineralogical science in the context of 'mining Enlightenment'; and the relations between collections, classificatory systems, and commercial publishing at the close of the eighteenth century.

Organized by Victor D. Boantza

Janskerkhof 2-3, Rm. 013 History of Science Society 2019 meeting@hssonline.org

The long eighteenth century saw changes in ideas of order not only in politics and society, but also in philosophy, the arts, and natural science. In the aftermath of the seventeenth-century Scientific Revolution, the Aristotelian two-sphere cosmology, which for millennia divided a geocentric universe into the earthly and heavenly realms, gave way to a unified and (semi-) mechanized universe. This had momentous and well-studied implications for astronomy and mechanics. Despite this collapse, the eighteenth century inherited old classificatory schemes-e.g. four ancient elements, three kingdoms of nature, subterranean and terrestrial realms-whose boundaries and aims had to be redefined, especially in experimental and natural historical pursuits. This panel examines some of these processes of conceptual, practical, and institutional renegotiation, and the way they played out in some of the most prominent domains of eighteenth-century scientific inquiry like experimental physics, chemistry, pneumatics, geology, and zoology. The papers assembled here, which span the years 1699–1812, examine British, French, German, Dutch, and Russian case studies to show both why old schemes were still useful in organizing and presenting scientific knowledge but also why and how they had to be revised. We explore shifts in classification before and after Linnaeus's binomial system; the development of early atmospheric and meteorological studies; Lomonosov's mineralogical science in the context of 'mining Enlightenment'; and the relations between collections, classificatory systems, and commercial publishing at the close of the eighteenth century.

Organized by Victor D. Boantza

Edward Lhwyd’s 1699 Lithophylacii Britannicii Ichnographia [British Figured Stones]: Old and New ClassificationsView Abstract
Organized Session 01:30 PM - 02:00 PM (Europe/Amsterdam) 2019/07/25 11:30:00 UTC - 2019/07/25 12:00:00 UTC
The Lithophylacii Britannicii ichnographia [British figured stones] (1699) by Edward Lhwyd, the second keeper of the Ashmolean Museum, was the first illustrated field guide to English fossils. This paper analyses the book’s physical creation—the collection of specimens, fieldwork sketches and their engravings—with an eye to understanding its use and reuse in eighteenth-century editions and collections that were in the transition to binomial taxonomy. Focusing on the Lithophylacii’s illustrations of fossils, this paper begins by examining how the specimens of crinoids, ichthyosaur teeth and vertebrae, sea urchin fossils, and ‘piped waxen veins’ or fossilized wood were collected in the field by Lhwyd and hired searchers. We then examine the role of these specimens in subsequent editions of the book, demonstrating to what extent the relationship between them influenced collectors like Sir Hans Sloane and Daniel Solander from ca. 1680 to 1760. Finally, we will demonstrate how Ashmolean Keeper William Huddesford repurposed the illustrations in Lhwyd’s book for his own eighteenth-century edition of the Lithophylacii (1760), incorporating new classificatory schemes. Our account provides insight into how a late seventeenth-century book of natural philosophy was used, revised, and repurposed by natural historians and collectors before and during the development of Linnaean taxonomy. We will concentrate upon the implications of migration of natural knowledge from one medium to another, from object to drawing to printed image, as well as its circulation and the establishing of credibility and taxonomic type characteristics in scientific (visual and textual) discourse and illustration.
Presenters
AR
Anna Marie Roos
University Of Lincoln, UK
Fluid Cosmologies, Pneumatics, and Atmospheric Studies in the Early Eighteenth Century View Abstract
Organized Session 02:00 PM - 02:30 PM (Europe/Amsterdam) 2019/07/25 12:00:00 UTC - 2019/07/25 12:30:00 UTC
Boyle’s mechanistic interpretations of fire and the ‘spring of air’ are relatively well known. The elusive link between these two branches of his science—in particular his sustained and original work on the nature of fluidity—remains understudied, partly due to Newton’s long shadow in the history of fluid mechanics. This paper explores some early eighteenth-century ramifications of these subjects, epitomized by Roger Cotes’s 1708 comment that “hydrostaticks and pneumaticks have in nature so near a relation to each other, that they ought never to be separated.” Building on Boyle and Newton, the first half of the eighteenth century saw the rise of what I call ‘fluid cosmologies’—broad explanatory frameworks constrained by experimental results—combining themes and methods we associate today with geophysics, meteorology, chemistry, and physiology. Two prominent examples appeared in 1727, in Herman Boerhaave’s New Method of Chemistry, which included a famous treatise on fire (one of his four elements-instruments), and Stephen Hales’s Vegetable Staticks, best known for its new analysis of air. Situated in the context of fluid cosmologies, we see how old elements were still employed while being reimagined as universal agents of change. They straddled and marked new natural boundaries and entities, like activity vs. fixity and solution vs. cohesion; the subterraneous, terrestrial, and atmospheric spheres; and material vs. immaterial bodies and environments. More generally, we gain insights into the relations between natural philosophy and natural history as well as pneumatic matter theory after Newton but before Joseph Black and Antoine Lavoisier.
Presenters
VB
Victor Boantza
University Of Minnesota
"A Place for Human Inquiry": Lomonosov’s Mineral Science View Abstract
Organized Session 02:30 PM - 03:00 PM (Europe/Amsterdam) 2019/07/25 12:30:00 UTC - 2019/07/25 13:00:00 UTC
While polymath and first Russian member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences Mikhail Lomonosov’s research interests were famously broad, he began and ended his career as a mineral scientist. After initial study and work in mining science and mineralogy, he dropped the subject, returning to it only 15 years later with a radically new approach. This paper asks why Lomonosov went back to the subject and why his approach to the mineral realm changed. It argues that he returned to the subject in answer to the needs of the Russian court for native mining experts, but also, and more significantly, because from 1757 to his death in 1765 Lomonosov found in mineral science an opportunity to engage in some of the major debates of the Enlightenment. Through his late mineralogical writings, Lomonosov debated the role of religion in scientific inquiry, outlined a vision of science in service to the state, and defended the philosophical tradition of Gottfried Leibniz and Christian Wolff against the attacks of French philosophes in the wake of the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755. This paper concludes by situating Lomonosov in a ‘mining Enlightenment’ that engrossed major thinkers, bureaucrats, and mining practitioners in Central and Northern Europe as well as Russia.
Presenters
AG
Anna Graber
Program In The History Of Science, Technology, And Medicine, University Of Minnesota
Classification and Gentlemanly Capital: Thomas Pennant and British Zoology, 1766-1812 View Abstract
Organized Session 03:00 PM - 03:30 PM (Europe/Amsterdam) 2019/07/25 13:00:00 UTC - 2019/07/25 13:30:00 UTC
One of the most successful natural history publications of late eighteenth-century Britain was British Zoology, authored by the Welsh naturalist, Thomas Pennant (1726–98). This book, that met four major editions between 1766 and 1812, was produced in a range of different formats and contains numerous copper-plate images based on specimens from Pennant’s natural history collection. Pennant used two main systems of classification in British Zoology. The first, which he used for quadrupeds and birds, was that devised by John Ray in the late seventeenth century. The second, which he used for aquatic organisms, such as fish and shells, was the system developed by Linnaeus from the 1730s. Pennant’s decision to use these alternate classificatory systems was influenced by his different approaches to observing terrestrial and marine animals in the field. Whereas he tended to classify aquatic creatures according to their physical characteristics, in the case of birds and quadrupeds he took into account the sounds they made, their social attributes, and preferred environment. This classificatory divide shaped the physical makeup of the book, which Pennant distributed to ‘every country gentlemen’, utilizing commercial publishing markets. However, Pennant was careful to adhere to gentlemanly etiquette, ensuring that he never directly profited from his publications, showing how natural history collecting and debates regarding classificatory practices were intertwined with the late eighteenth-century commercial publishing industry.
Presenters
ER
Edwin Rose
University Of Cambridge
University of Lincoln, UK
University of Minnesota
Program in the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine, University of Minnesota
University of Cambridge
University of Lincoln, UK
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