Edward Morley, Community, and Radical Ideas in Nineteenth-Century Science
Author: Ralph R. Hamerla
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
An American Scientist on the Research Frontier is the first scholarly study of the nineteenth-century American scientist Edward Williams Morley. In part, it is the long-overdue story of a man who lent his name to the Michelson and Morley Ether-Drift Experiment, and who conclusively established the atomic weight of oxygen. It is also the untold story of science in provincial America: what Hamerla presents as science on the "American research frontier". Hamerla carefully and usefully directs our attention away from more familiar sites of scientific activity during the nineteenth century, such as Harvard, Yale and Johns Hopkins. In so doing, he expands and reframes our understanding of how—and where—important scientific inquiry occurred during these years: not only in the Northeastern centers of elite academia, but also in the vastly different cultural contexts of Hudson and Cleveland, Ohio. This important examination of Morley’s struggle for personal and professional legitimacy extends and transforms our understanding of science during a foundational period, and leads to a number of unique conclusions that are vital to the literature and historiography of science. By revealing important aspects of the scientific culture of the American heartland, An American Scientist on the Research Frontier deepens our understanding of an individual scientist and of American science more broadly. In so doing, Hamerla changes the way we approach and understand the creation of scientific knowledge, scientific communities, and the history of science itself.
The Autobiography of Gabor A. Somorjai with Mitch Jacoby
Author: Gabor Somorjai
Category: Juvenile Fiction
As a young man, Gabor Somorjai couldn’t have known he would one day be forced to flee his native Hungary. But upheaval in Europe during and after World War II led him to the U.S. where he immersed himself in science and soon began building a research group at one of the powerhouses of scientific discovery. The timing couldn’t have been better. The Sputnik wakeup call that triggered the huge influx of government support for scientific research in the second half of the 20th century bolstered fundamental research programs like the one Somorjai established at the University of California, Berkeley, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Key discoveries in his field—surface science—led the way to advances in catalysis know-how that underpin today’s energy storage and transformation technology and safeguard the environment. By revealing the unique ways microscopically thin layers of atoms and molecules control the chemistry and physics of surfaces, modern surface science also spawned rapid development in microelectronics, high-power computing, and communication and information technology. But the scientific impact of the field that Professor Somorjai shaped doesn’t end there. Key discoveries in surface science also supported the development of new medical instruments for non-invasive investigation of the human body, as well as tools and techniques for repairing organs and bones. These discoveries have helped increase our life expectancy and vastly improved our quality of life. Through a fascinating account of his life story, Gabor Somorjai leads us through the dramatic changes in science and technology that took hold during the last half century and are sure to influence our lives in the years to come.
George Daniels studies the 56 scientists most published in the 16 scientific journals identified as national during the period 1815 to 1845 and shows how American scientists emerged from a disorganized group of amateurs into a professional body sharing a common orientation and common goals."
This volume is a brief anthology of the most influential writing by American scientists between 1800 and 1900. Arranged thematically and chronologically to highlight the progression of American science throughout the nineteenth century – from its beginnings in self-taught classification and exploration to the movement towards university education and specialization – it is the first collection of its kind. Each section begins with a biography, putting human faces to each time period, and introducing such notable figures as Thomas Jefferson and Louis Agassiz.