Science and Spectacle in the European Enlightenment

Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent, Christine Blondel
Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2008 - 164 σελίδες
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Air-pumps, electrical machines, colliding ivory balls, coloured sparks, mechanical planetariums, magic mirrors, hot-air balloons - these are just a sample of the devices displayed in public demonstrations of science in the eighteenth century. Public and private demonstrations of natural philosophy in Europe then differed vastly from today's unadorned and anonymous laboratory experiments. Science was cultivated for a variety of purposes in many different places; scientific instruments were built and used for investigative and didactic experiments as well as for entertainment and popular shows. Between the culture of curiosities which characterized the seventeenth century and the distinction between academic and popular science that gradually emerged in the nineteenth, the eighteenth century was a period when scientific activities took place in a variety of sites, ranging from academies, and learned societies to salons and popular fairs, shops and streets.This collection of case studies describing public demonstrations in Britain, Germany, Italy and France exemplifies the wide variety of settings for scientific activities in the European Enlightenment.

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The Laboratory the Workshop and the Theatre of Experiment
Technology Curiosity and Utility in France and in England in the Eighteenth Century
Amusing Physics
Experimental Physics in Enlightenment Paris The Practice of Popularization in Urban Culture
Domestic Spectacles Electrical Instruments between Business and Conversation
The Sale of Shocks and Sparks Itinerant Electricians in the German Enlightenment
Between Commerce and Philanthropy Chemistry Courses in Eighteenthcentury Paris
Joseph Priestley and the Chemical Sublime in British Public Science
Chemistry on Stage GF Rouelle and the Theatricality of Eighteenthcentury Chemistry
Honore Fragonard Anatomical Virtuoso
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Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent is Associate Professor at the University of Paris X, Nanterre.

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