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The sciences in America, circa 1880

Kevles, Daniel J. and Sturchio, Jeffrey L. and Carroll, P. Thomas (1980) The sciences in America, circa 1880. Humanities Working Paper, 45. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA.

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For many years American science in the late nineteenth century was regarded as an intellectual backwater. This view derived from the assumption that the health of American science at the time was equivalent to the condition of pure science, especially pure physics. However, a closer look reveals that there was considerable vitality in American scientific research, especially in the earth and life sciences. This vitality is explainable in part by the natural scientific resources of the American continent but also in part by the energy given science from religious impulses, social reformism, and practicality. Furthermore, contrary to recent assumptions, the federal government was a significant patron of American science. The portrait of American science c. 1880 advanced in this paper suggests that the nation's scientific enterprise was characterized by pluralism of institutional support and motive and that such pluralism has historically been the normal mode.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
Group:Humanities Working Papers
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20090807-141212060
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Official Citation:Kevles, Daniel J., Sturchio, Jeffrey L., and Carroll, P. Thomas. The sciences in America, circa 1880.Pasadena, CA: California Institute of Technology, 1980. Humanities Working Paper, No.45.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:14873
Deposited By: Lindsay Cleary
Deposited On:10 Aug 2009 23:22
Last Modified:26 Dec 2012 11:09

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