By Katharine Anderson
Victorian Britain, with its maritime financial system and powerful hyperlinks among govt and clinical companies, based an place of work to gather meteorological information in 1854 as a way to foster a contemporary technology of the elements. yet because the place of work grew to become to prediction instead of facts assortment, the delicate technological know-how turned a public spectacle, with its forecasts open to day-by-day scrutiny within the newspapers. And meteorology got here to imagine a pivotal position in debates concerning the accountability of scientists and the authority of science.Studying meteorology as a method to ascertain the historic id of prediction, Katharine Anderson bargains the following an engrossing account of forecasting that analyzes clinical perform and ideas approximately proof, the association of technological know-how in public lifestyles, and the articulation of medical values in Victorian tradition. In Predicting the elements, Anderson grapples with primary questions on the functionality, intelligibility, and limits of medical paintings whereas exposing the general public expectancies that formed the perform of technology in this period.A cogent research of the notable background of climate forecasting in Victorian Britain, Predicting the elements should be crucial studying for students attracted to the general public dimensions of technology. (20051103)
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Additional info for Predicting the weather: Victorians and the science of meteorology
21. Roderick Murchison to William Whewell, February 19, 1852, quoted in Stafford, Scientist of Empire, 39, original emphasis. 22. Stafford, Scientist of Empire, 31–39. 22 c h a p t e r o n e between his geological researches, economic development, and national glory. In 1846, he was the one of the ﬁrst scientiﬁc men in the nineteenth century to be knighted for his work, a reward he energetically sought by bringing his international honors before government ﬁgures of the day. At the geological section of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1848, he presented geology as the science of the industrial age, and Britain as leaders of both.
49 Its argument was straightforward. ” 50 For Victorians, prophecy was a familiar subject, whether encountered in liturgy or theology, history or travel. Under the inﬂuence of historical criticism of the Bible, while discussions of prophecy continued to raise questions about testimony, evidence, and natural law, they turned increasingly to the signiﬁcance of the person of the prophet. Two cases exemplify this transition. Second, an essay of the noted liberal theologian William Robertson Smith on prophecy illustrated the same recognition in quite a different way.
28 Airy’s hobby was an assertion of the power of science. The head of British astronomy was claiming judgment over historical questions that lay at the heart of Britain’s imperial identity, its link to Roman glories. In what sense was this exercise a demonstration of prediction? It is ﬁrst helpful to note as an aside that the study of Roman glories connected Airy’s investigation to the most famous prediction of the Victorian era: Thomas Babington Macaulay’s brief description of a Maori tourist of the distant future contemplating the ruins of London, thrown off in an essay on Rome and the Papacy.