Philosophy Instruments in Science
by
Joseph Pitt, Steven Mischler
  • LAST REVIEWED: 08 October 2015
  • LAST MODIFIED: 29 April 2015
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195396577-0266

Introduction

Historians of science and technology are well aware of the crucial role instruments play in their respective domains of study and the social implications of their use. Philosophers of science and technology have been slow to recognize their importance, primarily due to the influence of logical positivism with its emphasis on logical structure, ignoring the actual practice of science and completely side-stepping any questions surrounding technology. But as the strong arm of positivism has loosened its grip on philosophical inquiry and with the rise in awareness of the social and ethical implications of technological development, philosophers are slowly turning their attention to technological matters, if not to instruments per se. We hope to provide scholars with a sense of the range of issues instruments pose, if not the complete treatment by the totality of the international scholarly community that would extend beyond the limits set for us. Instruments raise a host of issues ranging over epistemological, metaphysical, ethical, social, economic, political, priority, and gender concerns. Instruments extend our natural abilities to interact with nature and as such touch every part of the human enterprise.

General Overviews

Under examination in the three volumes here are the relationships had between instruments and practitioners. Roberts, et al. 2007 collects a number of papers focused on that relationship during the scientific revolution. Smil 2006 offers a similar period-focused look, with the efforts concentrated on the 20th century. The themes explored here, though seemingly limited by period, will be useful in a wider context of study and are a useful point of entry for beginners. Ceruzzi 2012 is a great resource for those looking to research a field which uses computing technologies.

  • Ceruzzi, Paul. Computing: A Concise History. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2012.

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    This volume provides an accessible introduction to the history and development of computers from the 19th century to the present. A useful starting point for research in fields with computer-based instrumentation.

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    • Roberts, Lissa, Simon Schaffer, and Peter Dear, eds. The Mindful Hand: Inquiry and Invention from the Late Renaissance to Early Industrialization. Amsterdam: Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen, 2007.

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      The notion of a “mindful hand” is thought to be expressive of the important relationship between instrument crafters and natural philosophers. This collection explores that relationship with several historical case studies from the late Renaissance through the period of early industrialization in Europe.

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      • Smil, Vaclav. Transforming the Twentieth Century: Technological Innovations and Their Consequences. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.

        DOI: 10.1093/0195168755.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

        Smil traces the development of a number of important technologies and their impact on social and scientific practices in the 20th century. This volume is a great reference work for those interested in the development of scientific and practical technologies during the 20th century.

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        General History of the Development of Instruments

        The entries collected here offer general accounts of the historical developments of several kinds of instruments at once. Some of the volumes give only historical accounts while other entries additionally offer broad sociological accounts of instrument development. Bedini 1999 and Long 2011 examine the relationship between instrument users, instrument makers, and those who funded instrument development during the scientific revolution. Barrow 2008 examines the history and development of images as tools in science practice. Bourguet, et al. 2002 traces the way in which instruments became a standard tool in scientific practice. Moon 2007 offers an brief history of instrument development coupled with an in-depth look at two particular instrument makers.

        • Barrow, John D. Cosmic Imagery: Key Images in the History of Science. New York: W. W. Norton, 2008.

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          This volume explores the history of the scientific image––that is, pictures of scientific phenomena and pictures used to aid in the understanding of scientific phenomena––and their relation to scientific advances and theory construction. Covers a range of scientific images in a variety of different scientific disciplines.

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          • Bedini, Silvio. Patrons, Artisans, and Instruments of Science, 1600–1750. Brookfield, VT: Ashgate, 1999.

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            This collection of Silvio’s essays is divided into two sections The first is concerned with the relationships which developed between patrons, artisans, and instrument users and the second is concerned with the process of developing instruments and how such instruments became staples of scientific practice during this period (17th and 18th centuries).

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            • Bourguet, Marie-Noëlle, Christian Licoppe, and H. Otto Sibum, eds. Instruments, Travel, and Science: Itineraries of Precision from the Seventeenth to the Twentieth Centuries. London: Routledge, 2002.

              DOI: 10.4324/9780203219010Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              The central focus of this collection is to chart the history of how the use of scientific instruments became the dominant way to practice natural science. The subjects of the articles span several centuries and scientific disciplines.

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              • Long, Pamela O. Artisan/Practitioners and the Rise and the Rise of the New Sciences, 1400–1600. Corvallis: Oregon State University Press, 2011.

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                An accessible volume that addresses the way in which artisans and craftsman influenced the development of empirical methodologies of the scientific revolution. Of special interest is the discussion of “trading zones,” which are instances of knowledge exchanges between artisans and the natural philosophers of the time.

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                • Moon, Francis C. The Machines of Leonardo da Vinci and Franz Reuleaux: Kinematics of Machines from the Renaissance to the 20th Century. New York: Springer-Verlag, 2007.

                  DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4020-5599-7Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                  Moon provides two resources here. First, he offers a detailed analysis of the practice and history surrounding da Vinci and Reuleaux’s machines. Second, he offers a brief history of machine building, which stretches back to early Greek machines, which may serve as an entry point for research on the topic.

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                  Philosophers and Instruments

                  The following two sections differentiate between two subfields of philosophy. The first section caters to those interested in the practice and development of the sciences, so-called philosophy of science. Philosophers of this sort are often concerned with traditional philosophical difficulties as they apply to the sciences. Philosophers of technology, in contrast, are concerned primarily with the ways in which our cognitive abilities are affected by our use of tools, or instruments in the present case. Some of the issues covered in the entries in the following two sections will have overlap, but the different philosophers employ different resources and approaches to analyze those issues.

                  Instrumentation and the Philosophy of Science

                  Of interest are a number of issues concerning the foundations of science, scientific practice, and theories of scientific discovery. Datson and Lunbeck 2011 collects a number of essays that examine the nature of observation as the concept pertains to scientific enquiry, especially as observation relates to instruments used to make observations. Baird and Faust 1990, Chalmers 2003, and Dear 2006 defend variants of the claim that instrument usage is an essential part of our understanding of science and scientific practice. Wilson 1995 examines epistemological issues that arise from engaging with scientific instruments. Gorman, et al. 2004 collects essays concerned with the roles that instruments play in the logic of scientific discovery. Tal 2013 connects instruments to various issues in the theory of measurement.

                  • Baird, Davis, and Thomas Faust. “Scientific Instruments, Scientific Progress and the Cyclotron.” British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 41 (1990): 147–175.

                    DOI: 10.1093/bjps/41.2.147Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                    This essay aims to show that scientific progress is directly linked with the continued development of scientific instruments. Moreover, it is argued that scientific knowledge depends on and consists in technical knowledge of scientific instruments.

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                    • Chalmers, Alan. “The Theory-Dependence of the Use of Instruments in Science.” Philosophy of Science 70 (2003): 493.

                      DOI: 10.1086/376924Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                      The aim of this paper is to see whether or not the use of scientific instruments can be separated out from scientific theory. Chalmers use the case of the electron microscope to draw out the implications of competing views.

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                      • Datson, Lorraine, and Elizabeth Lunbeck, eds. Histories of Scientific Observation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011.

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                        The central theme of this collection is an examination of the history of observation as the key element of the scientific enterprise. It is divided into five sections which include a general history of observation (Part 1), an examination of the epistemology of scientific observation (Part 2), an examination of the different tools and instruments that play key roles in observation (Parts 3 and 4), and, lastly, an analysis of the effect community has on observation (Part 5).

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                        • Dear, Peter. The Intelligibility of Nature: How Science Makes Sense of the World. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006.

                          DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226139500.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          Dear suggests that contemporary conception of science sees science as instrument based and as investigation into natural phenomena. Dear is critical of this view and engages in philosophical discussion concerned with the justification of evidence gained by scientific instrumentation through an examination of a number of contemporary and historical case studies.

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                          • Gorman, Michael, Ryan Tweney, David Gooding, and Alexandra Kincannon, eds. Scientific and Technological Thinking. New York: Taylor & Francis, 2004.

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                            The aim of this volume of essays is to understand the logic of scientific discovery as it relates to experimental and technological methodologies of science as it is currently practiced. Case studies draw on a variety of fields.

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                            • Tal, Eran. “Old and New Problems in Philosophy of Measurement.” Philosophy Compass 8 (2013): 1159–1173.

                              DOI: 10.1111/phc3.12089Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                              Provides a brief introductory survey of the issues involved in the philosophy of measurement. One conclusion Tal draws is that the future of philosophy of measurement will closely adhere to actual measurement practices and how those practices affect what we can know.

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                              • Wilson, Fred. “Empiricism and the Epistemology of Instruments.” The Monist 78 (1995): 207–229.

                                DOI: 10.5840/monist199578215Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                The main line of argument in this paper aims to show that, contrary to what some philosophers think, empiricists can give a compelling account of the epistemology of instrumentation in the sciences. A potentially useful starting point in the debate over empiricism and the epistemology of instruments; Wilson provides a wealth of references.

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                                Instruments and the Philosophy of Technology

                                Philosophers here turn their attention explicitly toward how we engage with scientific instruments and how this may affect the way in which we think about science and even change our thinking in general. Ihde 1991 develops and defends the claim that our instruments are an extension of our cognitive mechanisms rather than ways in which we aid our existing mechanisms. Tomas 2004 is similarly concerned with the relationship scientists have to objects and what that relationship means for discovery. Baird 2004 defends a particular view about where knowledge resides and how it can be recovered or gained. Boumans 2004 and Collins 2010 are concerned with issues of the reliability of instruments and what sort of knowledge can be gained through their use in scientific practice. Rothbart 2007 argues that instruments have not only shaped our scientific practices, but that instruments also shape scientific theories and the ways in which theories are communicated. Song 2001 makes the case for the claim that the tools available for a given practice or fields of inquiry shape the way a given culture conceives of that practice or field of inquiry.

                                • Baird, Davis. Thing-Knowledge: A Philosophy of Scientific Instruments. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004.

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                                  Baird’s central argument is that objects or things are bearers of knowledge. He makes the case for this claim by turning to cases where the development of new scientific instruments, independent of scientific theory, changed scientific practice (e.g., analytic chemistry).

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                                  • Boumans, Marcel. “The Reliability of an Instrument.” Social Epistemology 18 (2004): 215–246.

                                    DOI: 10.1080/0269172042000249309Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                    This paper investigates the assumptions that underpin our thoughts about what makes a scientific instrument reliable. Boumans uses Kalman filter technologies to assess further questions about what makes new technologies reliable.

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                                    • Collins, Harry. Tacit and Explicit Knowledge. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010.

                                      DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226113821.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                      Collins offers a thorough treatment of the epistemology of tacit knowledge. Collins identifies a particular type of tacit knowledge that agents acquire by engaging in social practices (e.g., the habitual practices that come with learning to drive). He argues that strong tacit knowledge (the knowledge of societal practice) is what resists translation to specific knowledge and thus is unable to be codified into machines or instruments.

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                                      • Ihde, Don. Instrumental Realism. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991.

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                                        Ihde analyzes a variety of issues in the philosophy of science as related to the practices of using scientific instrumentation. A chief argumentative theme of the book is that we use scientific instruments in ways that extend our cognitive abilities to reveal natural phenomena, rather than to learn, in a secondary way, from the representations instruments produce.

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                                        • Rothbart, Daniel. Philosophical Instruments: Minds and Tools as Work. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2007.

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                                          Rothbart offers a philosophical history of the scientific instrument. Here he argues, through case studies that range from current instruments to those of the 17th century, that scientific instruments shape the way we apply our cognitive faculties to objects of study. Namely that describing nature in a mechanical vocabulary takes its cure from exploring nature via mechanical instruments.

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                                          • Song, Tian. “A Study of Experiential Technology and Scientific Technology, Exemplified by Chinese and Western Medicine.” Frontiers of Philosophy in China 6 (2001): 298–315.

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                                            This paper aims to state the difference between scientific and experiential technologies. Song looks to the difference between the practice of medicine in China and Western states to illustrate the difference between these two types of technology.

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                                            • Tomas, David. Beyond the Image Machine: A History of Visual Technologies. New York: Continuum, 2004.

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                                              Tomas offers a philosophical and sociological analysis of the relationship between scientific technologies and the individual (the self or individual cognitive faculties). This work is dense, but offers potential research starting points.

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                                              Discussions About Instruments in Particular Domains

                                              The following ten sections survey the literature available on instruments in a variety of different fields of scientific enquiry. A number of disciplines have a long and storied history that is intimately bound up with the use of instruments, namely astronomy, microscopy, optics, and physics. The first five of the following sections chronicle the unique histories, philosophies, and sociologies of instrument use in these fields. The remaining five sections detail instrument use in several other fields, many where instrument use is fairly recent.

                                              The Historical Development of Astronomical Instruments

                                              This first section on astronomical instruments is devoted to the history of the development of these instruments through the 17th century. Evans 1998 offers a survey of the instruments used in ancient astronomic practices. Watson 2005 and Reeves 2008 offer general histories of the telescope. Sarma 2008 offers a look at some non-Western astronomical instruments; specifically surveyed are Indian instruments. Zik 2001 discusses the general development of the telescope in the 17th century. The remaining authors examine some key figures crucial to the development of the telescope during the scientific revolution. Biagioli 2005 and Payne 2012 treat Galileo’s telescopes while McCormmach 2012 treats John Mitchell’s contributions to telescope development.

                                              • Biagioli, Mario. Galileo’s Instruments of Credit: Telescopes, Images, and Secrecy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005.

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                                                This book develops a sociological portrait of Galileo’s scientific practices that challenges standard thinking on the topic. Of particular interest is Galileo’s alleged secretive nature regarding replication of his instruments and experimental conclusions. Biagioli also discusses Galileo’s varied use of astronomical images.

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                                                • Evans, James. The History and Practice of Ancient Astronomy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.

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                                                  The central subject matter concerns the development of astronomy in the ancient world (with much of the focus on ancient Greece). Chapters 3 and 4 contain discussions of sundials and other timekeeping devices and their importance to the study of astronomy during this period.

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                                                  • McCormmach, Russell. Weighing the World: The Reverend John Michell of Thornhill. Dordrecht: Springer, 2012.

                                                    DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-2022-0Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                    A biography of the often neglected astronomer John Mitchell, a resolute Newtonian who speculated the existence of black holes. Of significance here is McCorrmach’s discussion of Mitchell’s attempt to develop a telescope that could capture enough light to enable the detection of black holes. Additionally McCormmach includes an appendix that contains Mitchell’s known correspondences.

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                                                    • Payne, Alina. The Telescope and the Compass: Teofilo Gallaccuini and the Dialogue Between Architecture and Science in the Age of Galileo. Florence: Leo S. Olschki, 2012.

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                                                      Payne makes a substantial contribution to the study of Gallaccuini. She characterizes Gallaccuini as a polymath who had a penchant for brining varying areas of inquiry under the confines of mathematics, allowing for a proliferation of mechanical explanation. The development of his compass and trowel are linked to architectural and astronomical developments.

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                                                      • Reeves, Eileen. Galileo’s Glassworks: The Telescope and the Mirror. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008.

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                                                        Reeve provides a unique history of the development of the telescope that focuses on the history of glass lens development. Another strand of thought throughout this volume traces the idea of the telescope from ancient periods through the 16th century.

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                                                        • Sarma, Sreeramula Rajeswara. The Archaic and the Exotic: Studies in the History of Indian Astronomical Instruments. New Delhi: Manohar, 2008.

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                                                          This volume collects several of Sarmas essays on the history of Indian astronomical and time-measuring devices (grouped into two categories, the “exotic” and “archaic”). The volume also contains a technical guide (with photographs) to a large variety of Indian time and astronomical devices.

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                                                          • Watson, Fred. The Life and Times of the Telescope. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo, 2005.

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                                                            Provides a general history of the telescope. The historical narrative is framed in the general quest of astronomers to have tools that have greater and greater ability to capture light from distant sources (what Watson calls “aperture fever”).

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                                                            • Zik, Yaakov. “Science and Instruments: The Telescope as a Scientific Instrument at the Beginning of the Seventeenth Century.” Perspectives on Science 9 (2001): 259–284.

                                                              DOI: 10.1162/10636140160176143Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                              Examines the relationship between images of objects and description objects. A key focus is how Galileo made the case for using the telescope as a primary instrument in astronomy.

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                                                              Astronomical Instruments through the 21st Century

                                                              This section on astronomical instruments traces their development from the Industrial Revolution up through current practice. Some of the authors included here include commentaries on the cultural and social impacts of astronomical instruments. Hutchins 2008 and Lehti and Markkanen 2010 offer development histories and sociologies of astronomic technologies in particular regions. McCray 2004 offers a history and sociology of telescope use in relation to the recently constructed Gemini telescopes. Morrison-Low, et al. 2012 and Parks and Schwoch 2012 collect a number of papers devoted to analyzing the historical and sociological impacts of satellite technology.

                                                              • Hutchins, Roger. British University Observatories, 1772–1939. Aldershot, UK, and Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2008.

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                                                                A detailed historical discussion of astronomical devices and the sociological context of their use in the British academies during this period. A key issue is the struggle for the university observatories to cope with the changes in the study of astronomy amid administrative and fiscal challenges.

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                                                                • Lehti, Raimo, and Tapio Markkanen. History of Astronomy in Finland 1812–1918. Sastamala, Finland: Societas Scientarum Fennica, 2010.

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                                                                  A detailed history of the establishment of the university observatory in Helsinki. This account focuses on the practice of astronomy in Helsinki, showing in particular how internationally collaborative the Finnish were.

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                                                                  • McCray, Patrick W. Giant Telescopes: Astronomical Ambition and the Promise of Technology. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004.

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                                                                    Provides an account of the recent development and construction of the twin 8-meter Gemini telescopes in Chile and Hawaii. Particular attention is given to the challenges that faced the international team leading the development and the potential challenges of the science, astronomy in particular, in the coming years.

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                                                                    • Morrison-Low, Alison D., Sven Dupré, Stephen Johnson, and Giorgio Strano, eds. From Earth-Bound to Satellite: Telescopes, Skills, and Networks. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2012.

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                                                                      A collection of essays that details the technical workings and designs of telescopes and telescopic image production. Many of the essays connect to wider issues concerning the use of telescopes to solve practical problems.

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                                                                      • Parks, Lisa, and James Schwoch, eds. Down to Earth: Satellite Technologies, Industries, and Cultures. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2012.

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                                                                        A collection of essays whose central link is the critical study of satellites and the effect they have on scientific, political, and social practices. The articles in the first section––“Concepts and Cartographies”––use the tools of critical geography to assess questions concerning the ways in which satellite technologies have shaped the way we think about a broad range of concepts including geographical boundaries, national identity, and space itself.

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                                                                        Microscopes

                                                                        The work collected on microscopes here offers an insight into the history of the development of the microscope as well as some epistemological reflection on how using microscopes have changed the way we think about vision and using vision to gather evidence for scientific claims. Fournier 2003 provides an encyclopedic work that catalogs the histories of microscopes built from the 17th through the 19th centuries. Schickore 2007 offers a history and an epistemology of microscope use during the 18th and 19th centuries. Mody 2012 examines contemporary microscopy instruments and microscopy practice. Pacherie 1995 offers a philosophical discussion of our conception of vision in light of microscopy.

                                                                        • Fournier, Marian. Early Microscopes: A Descriptive Catalogue. Leiden, The Netherlands: Museum Boerhaave, 2003.

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                                                                          A reference work that provides histories of a number of microscopes built from the late 17th century through the early 19th century. The short histories contain, when available, biographies of those involved with development and photographs of the catalogued instruments.

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                                                                          • Mody, Cyrus C. M. Instrumental Community: Probe Microscopy and the Path to Nanotechnology. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2012.

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                                                                            This book explores the recent history of nano-scale observational technologies. The central argument offered here is that a particular community of instrument users (what Mody calls an “instrumental community”), probe microscopists, lead to the refinement and development of nanotechnologies. This is in opposition to the view that technology alone drives changes in scientific practice.

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                                                                            • Pacherie, Elisabeth. “Do We See With Microscopes?” The Monist 78 (1995): 171–188.

                                                                              DOI: 10.5840/monist199578217Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                              Examines the possible ways in which we might differently cognize the contents of our normal visual perceptions versus the contents we see through a microscope.

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                                                                              • Schickore, Jutta. The Microscope and the Eye: A History of Reflections, 1740–1870. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.

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                                                                                Schickore analyzes microscopic practice and epistemology of microscope usage as discussed by the microscopists of the period. The discussion tracks the changes in scientific and epistemological theories and the effects such changes had on the objects surveyed by microscopists.

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                                                                                Optical Instruments

                                                                                The entries in this section are of a historical bent focused on the development of instruments used to study the nature of light. Darrigol 2012 provides a general history of optical instruments and practice. Johnston 2001 provides a discussion of the history of instrument usage in theories of color. Chen 2000 offers an analysis of the role that instruments play when practitioners disagree on theoretical claims; this philosophical discussion is treated as it pertains to the history of optics.

                                                                                • Chen, Xiang. Instrumental Traditions and Theories of Light: The Uses of Instruments in the Optical Revolution. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic, 2000.

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                                                                                  Chen examines the role of instrumentation and experimentation in the study of light. Particular attention is paid to the disagreement among scientists and instrument users about the role the eye ought to play in such experiments (i.e., are instruments aids for observation via the eye or can instruments, in a sense, replace the eye as the primary observational tool).

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                                                                                  • Darrigol, Olivier. History of Optics: From Greek Antiquity to the Nineteenth Century. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

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                                                                                    A general and accessible history of optics. Particular attention is paid to developments made from the 17th through 19th centuries.

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                                                                                    • Johnston, Sean F. History of Light and Colour Measurements: Science in the Shadows. London: Institute of Physics, 2001.

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                                                                                      Johnston provides an analysis of the study of photometry from the 18th century through the 20th. His analysis includes discussions of the instruments that made photometry possible and how technological and cultural pressures allowed for the further development of photometry rather than development following from scientific advancement.

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                                                                                      Instruments in Physics

                                                                                      The work in this section documents the use of instruments in physics from the scientific revolution through the present day. Much of the work here has a special emphasis on particular physicists or sets of physicists. Galison 1997 is a useful introduction to instrumentation and modeling in physics. Meli 2006 and Palmieri 2008 discuss the use of instruments and models to explain the mechanistic natural philosophy of the 16th and 17th centuries; Palmieri gives special attention to the work of Galileo. Galison 2003 and Illy 2012 analyze the methods of physicists and its relation to instrument use; both delve into the work of Einstein in particular.

                                                                                      • Galison, Peter. Image and Logic: A Material Culture of Microphysics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997.

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                                                                                        A useful starting place for the uninitiated on the experimental apparatuses that serve as the testing grounds for the hypotheses of microphysics. Galison also takes note of the culture of physicists and the ways in which they communicate with one another.

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                                                                                        • Galison, Peter. Einstein’s Clocks, Poincaré’s Maps: Empires of Time. New York: W. W. Norton, 2003.

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                                                                                          The central focus here is how the real-world experience, opposed to only the working of pure thought, helped shape the theory of relativity in both Einstein and Poincaré’s work (e.g., Einstein’s obsession with clocks in and outside of where he conducted his research).

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                                                                                          • Illy, József. The Practical Einstein: Experiments, Patents, Inventions. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 2012.

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                                                                                            Illy gives an insight into Einstein’s mechanical aspirations. Chapter 2 highlights the development of Einstein’s various scientific experiments.

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                                                                                            • Meli, Domenico Bertoloni. Thinking with Objects: The Transformation of Mechanics in the Seventeenth Century. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 2006.

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                                                                                              This volume draws upon a number of historical case studies to show how simple machines and instruments paved the way for widespread adoption of mechanical philosophy in the 17th century.

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                                                                                              • Palmieri, Paolo. Reenacting Galileo’s Experiments: Rediscovering the Techniques of Seventeenth-Century Science. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen, 2008.

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                                                                                                This volume offers a contextual analysis of Galileo’s experimental work. Palmieri also provides an appendix with computer recreations of a number of Galileo’s experiments and translations of a variety of Galileo’s experiment notes.

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                                                                                                The Instruments of Chemistry

                                                                                                Thinking about the relationship between instruments and the practice of chemistry is fairly recent. Holmes and Levere 2000 argues that the history of chemistry ought to be refocused around the use of instruments. To a similar end, Powers 2012 and Slater 2002 offer case studies and further arguments in support of furthering the study of instrumentation in the history of chemistry.

                                                                                                • Holmes, Frederic L., and Trevor H. Levere. Instruments and Experimentation in the History of Chemistry. Cambridge, MA: MIT University Press, 2000.

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                                                                                                  The main aim of this collection is to reorient the history of chemistry to better integrate the way in which instruments have made advancement in the discipline possible.

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                                                                                                  • Powers, John C. Inventing Chemistry: Herman Boerhaave and the Reform of Chemical Arts. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2012.

                                                                                                    DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226677620.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                    Powers provides a detailed account of the role that instruments and instrument theory had in the development of modern chemistry at the hands of the medical practitioner Herman Boerhaave. A good starting point for those interested in the history of chemistry and the role instrumentation had in its development.

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                                                                                                    • Slater, Leo B. “Instruments and Rules: R.B. Woodward and the Tools of Twentieth-Century Organic Chemistry.” Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science 33 (2002): 1–33.

                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1016/S0039-3681(01)00024-3Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                      Documents the way in which the practice of organic chemistry was changed by the adoption of spectroscopy instruments, primarily ultraviolet and infrared spectroscopes and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopes. Slater uses the case of R. B. Woodard to illustrate the changes.

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                                                                                                      Instrumentation in the Bio-medical Sciences

                                                                                                      Most of the literature featured here focuses on contemporary developments in computerized technologies of the biomedical sciences. Kusukawa 2012 is, however, an exception to this. Kusukawa analyzes the relevance of images and image production to the study of anatomy in the 16th century. November 2012 offers a historical survey of the use of computing in biomedical fields. Garcíia-Sancho 2012 analyzes the use of computers in developing theories about organic molecules. Joyce 2008 provides an in-depth study of the development of MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) machines.

                                                                                                      • García-Sancho, Miguel. Biology, Computing, and the History of Molecular Sequencing: From Proteins to DNA. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1057/9780230370937Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                        This volume provides a detailed assessment of the technical details of sequencing instruments and technologies. Further, García-Sancho provides a history of recent biological advances through an assessment of sequencing technology.

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                                                                                                        • Joyce, Kelly A. Magnetic Appeal: MRI and the Myth of Transparency. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2008.

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                                                                                                          This volume offers a sustained analysis of the relationship between the development of MRI images and technology and the sociological factors of their development. In later chapters Joyce offers lengthy discussions of how practitioners use MRI machines and how MRI images are generated.

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                                                                                                          • Kusukawa, Sachiko. Picturing the Book of Nature: Image, Text, and Argument in Sixteenth-Century Human Anatomy and Medical Botany. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2012.

                                                                                                            DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226465289.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                            Shows how a group of scholars in the 16th century introduced images and argumentation to the study of medicine and human anatomy and physiology. Part one may be of particular interest as Kusukawa provides a detailed analysis of medical image production during this period.

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                                                                                                            • November, Joseph A. Biomedical Computing: Digitizing Life in the United States. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 2012.

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                                                                                                              A history of biomedical computing. This account traces the postwar conditions that lead to the pervasive usage of computers in the contemporary study of medical and biological problems.

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                                                                                                              The Instruments of Geology

                                                                                                              The two offerings here provide allow one to peer into two very different poles of geological research. Macdougall 2008 facilitates a discussion of the history of radiometric dating, while Edwards 2010 offers a discussion of the methods of climate modeling.

                                                                                                              • Edwards, Paul N. A Vast Machine: Computer Models, Climate Data, and the Politics of Global Warming. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2010.

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                                                                                                                Discusses the current and historical practices involved in climate modeling. The later chapters (6–12) constitute a sustained analysis of the activity and challenges faced by climate scientists when they gather and use data for the production of large-scale climate models.

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                                                                                                                • Macdougall, Doug. Nature’s Clocks: How Scientists Measure the Age of Almost Everything. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008.

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                                                                                                                  The primary concern of this volume is the history of the development of radiometric dating. Macdougall also examines the scientific practice of using radiometric-dating instruments to date objects and produce deep geologic timescales.

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                                                                                                                  Cartography and Instrumentation

                                                                                                                  Though cartography is unlike the sort of sciences listed above, the subject also has a long and storied history, much of which involves the use of a variety of instruments. The use of instruments cataloged and discussed here range from the sort of instruments used to find and draw boundaries to the tools used to produce and print the results. Harley and Woodward 1987– is encyclopedic in its treatment of the history of cartography and is a good place to consult on many issues concerning the field. Buisseret 2003 offers a history of cartography during the Renaissance period, while Cosgrove 2001 offers a look at how satellite technology has shaped current cartographic practices. Harley 2001 and Wood and Fels 2008 get into sociological and philosophical issues surrounding our everyday interactions with maps.

                                                                                                                  • Buisseret, David. The Mapmaker’s Quest: Depicting New Worlds in Renaissance Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.

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                                                                                                                    An introduction to cartography during the Renaissance period. Topics discussed range from the advances and limitations of the method of production of maps during this period to the way in which changes in cartographic technology may have led to changes in ways in which maps represent space.

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                                                                                                                    • Cosgrove, Denis. Apollo’s Eye: A Cartographic Genealogy of the Earth in The Western Imagination. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 2001.

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                                                                                                                      Cosgrove provides an account of how the concept of the Earth as a globe has impacted a variety of different ways of thinking. His cases range from the impact of the globe on religious expression to the impact of the globe on scientific and commercial enterprise.

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                                                                                                                      • Harley, J. B. The New Nature of Maps: Essays in the History of Cartography. Edited by Paul Laxton. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 2001.

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                                                                                                                        This volume collects several seminal papers by Harley, who is credited for drastically altering the study of the history of cartography. Harley’s major contribution was to move the study of cartography from an empiricist project to one that examines the social structure that surrounds any map’s production.

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                                                                                                                        • Harley, J. B., and David Woodward, eds. The History of Cartography. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987–.

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                                                                                                                          An extensive multivolume history of cartography (the first three of these volumes are available in print, portions of the others are available online). The history covers maps and mapmaking techniques in societies the world over. Currently the first three (of a planned six) volumes cover prehistoric cartographic practices through cartographic practices of the Renaissance period.

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                                                                                                                          • Wood, Denis, and John Fels. The Natures of Maps: Cartographic Constructions of the World. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008.

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                                                                                                                            Wood and Fels offer a challenge to the view that maps are objective representations of natural locations. They provide a detailed argument for the claim that cartographers and maps themselves are in a constant state of discussion or argument over the ways in which the natural world is represented.

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                                                                                                                            Instrumentation in Other Fields

                                                                                                                            The above sections treated some of the main fields of scientific inquiry. This section looks at instrumentation in an assortment of other fields. In some cases, scholarly focus may only just be given to the use of instruments in these fields. Sturm and Ash 2005 offers a philosophical look into what instrument used in psychology look like. Chang 2004 looks at the developmental history of technologies used to chart temperature. Heering and Wittje 2011 collects essays on the use of instrumentation as it relates to the pedagogy of science. Wachtman 1999 provides an encyclopedic volume charting the development of ceramic technologies used for scientific investigation.

                                                                                                                            • Chang, Hasok. Inventing Temperature. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.

                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1093/0195171276.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                              Chronicles the history and development of thermometers. Much of Chang’s analysis is wrapped up in philosophical questions concerning the reliability and accuracy of these instruments.

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                                                                                                                              • Heering, Peter, and Roland Wittje, eds. Learning by Doing: Experiments and Instruments in the History of Science Teaching. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 2011.

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                                                                                                                                The articles in this collection examine science as it is practiced through instrumentation and its relation to the teaching of science. Many of the essays engage with particular historical episodes; the editors suggest that the articles in this collection may serve as useful starting points for further research on the impact that scientific instruments have had on the teaching of science.

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                                                                                                                                • Sturm, Thomas, and Mitchell G. Ash. “The Roles of Instruments in Psychological Research.” History of Psychology 8 (2005): 3–34.

                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1037/1093-4510.8.1.3Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                  In this paper Strum and Ash attempt to provide a definition for a psychological instrument. Their discussion also aims to analyze and assess the role of scientific instrumentation as it relates to the study of psychology.

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                                                                                                                                  • Wachtman, John B., Jr., ed. Ceramic Innovations in the Twentieth Century. Westerville, OH: American Ceramic Society, 1999.

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                                                                                                                                    This reference work contains short articles which detail a particular kind of ceramic technology. Those studying instruments may find sections on smart ceramics useful due to their presence in a variety of scientific instruments (e.g., telescopes and microscopes).

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                                                                                                                                    Instruments and the Sociology of Science

                                                                                                                                    Here we turn from a focus on the history and development of instruments in different fields of scientific inquiry to the broad sociological effects instruments have had on scientific culture. Hunt 2010 provides a useful starting point for research in this area. Grob and Hooijmaijers 2006 collects a number of more in-depth papers on the sociology of instrument use in science. Morrison-Low 2007 provides a look at the interplay of science and instrument production during the Industrial Revolution. De Clerq 2000 collects a number of essays on the problems that instrument forgery poses for the study of instrument use in science.

                                                                                                                                    • De Clerq, Peter, ed. Scientific Instruments: Originals and Imitations. Leiden, The Netherlands: Boorhaave, 2000.

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                                                                                                                                      The focus of this collection is on the problems that occur as a result of forged scientific instruments finding their way into museums. A number of the articles discuss the impact of forgeries on collecting and studying instruments, while others focus on the history of instrument crafting in an effort to provide historians with the tools to spot forgeries.

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                                                                                                                                      • Grob, Hart, and Hans Hooijmaijers, eds. Who Needs Scientific Instruments: Conference on Scientific Instruments and Their Users, 20–22 October 2005. Leiden, The Netherlands: Boerhaave, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                        This volume collects papers presented at the 2005 Conference on Scientific Instruments and Their Users. The conference drew together historians of science, historians of instruments, and museum curators. It is split between three central topics: the status of instrumentation in scientific practice, the relationship between the location of an instruments development and its use, and analyses of innovation in the development of instruments.

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                                                                                                                                        • Hunt, Bruce J. Pursuing Power and Light: Technology and Physics from James Watt to Albert Einstein. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                          An accessible starting point for research on the interplay of science and technology. Hunt focuses on two historical figures (Einstein and Watt) and the way in which their use of scientific instruments enabled their discoveries.

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                                                                                                                                          • Morrison-Low, A. D. Making Scientific Instruments in the Industrial Revolution. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                            The focus of this volume is on the history of the production of scientific instruments in industrial Britain. Morrison-Low aims to show how local supply and trade networks enabled scientific discovery and progress.

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                                                                                                                                            Instruments and their Impact on Culture and Society

                                                                                                                                            This section gathers together volumes which plot the impact instruments have had on culture at large. Gooday 2004 charts the impact of the development of electricity and electrical instruments on Victorian society. Leggett and Dunn 2012 charts the social relations between business, the navy, and scientists. McCray 2013 details how pushing the boundaries of space exploration have spilled over into popular culture. Walton 2005 and Wang 2008 get into some of the negative influence science and scientific instrumentation have had on culture at large.

                                                                                                                                            • Gooday, Graeme J. N. The Morals of Measurement: Accuracy, Irony, and Trust in Late Victorian Electrical Practice. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511550690Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                              Documents the social practices of electrical instrumentation in scientific and commercial use during the late Victorian period. Gooday focuses on sociology of trust in scientific technology, specifically on electrical meter reading technologies of the day.

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                                                                                                                                              • Leggett, Don, and Richard Dunn, eds. Re-inventing the Ship: Science, Technology, and the Maritime World, 1800–1918. Surrey, UK: Ashgate, 2012.

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                                                                                                                                                This volume collects a number of essays that analyze the relationship between naval engineers, shipbuilders, and businessmen. This may provide a starting point for research on the interconnection between naval technologies and scientific technologies and advancements.

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                                                                                                                                                • McCray, Patrick W. The Visioneers: How a Group of Elite Scientists Pursued Space Colonies, Nanotechnologies, and a Limitless Future. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2013.

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                                                                                                                                                  McCray details the careers of two prominent American scientists: Gerard O’Neill and Eric Drexler. His analysis examines their detailed plans for new scientific technologies and their effect on the broader scientific culture and practice.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Walton, Steven A., ed. Instrumentation in War: Science, Research, and Instruments between Knowledge and the World. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill Academic, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                                    This collection begins to provide an assessment of the way in which scientific instruments have changed the way in which we think about and engage in war.

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                                                                                                                                                    • Wang, Zuoyue. In Sputnik’s Shadow: The President’s Science Advisory Committee and Cold War America. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                      Offers a dense analysis of the generally skeptical attitudes held by the President’s Science Advisory Committee with regard to scientific technologies. The committee’s technological skepticism is used to explain a variety of its activities and policy recommendations.

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