Great Victorian Discoveries
Astounding Revelations and Misguided Assumptions
The 19th century saw great breakthroughs in every field of enquiry. Discoveries were eagerly described in the popular press of the day but limited understanding sometimes led to wild and colourful theories. This book, drawn from editions of Cassell's Family Magazine, explores the innovations and advances reported between 1875 and 1895 in subjects ranging from microscopic organisms and the fossil record to the meaning of the apparent canals on Mars.
The End of Discovery
The last few centuries have seen a huge expansion in our understanding of the world around us, but are we approaching the limits of what it is possible to discover? In this summary of the challenges facing modern science, Russell Stannard argues that there are questions, such as the nature of time, the size of the universe or what constitutes consciousness, which we may never be able to fully explain.
Cataloging the World
Paul Otlet and the Birth of the Information Age
Working in an era when 'the closest thing anyone had ever seen to a database was a drawer full of index cards', the visionary Belgian information theorist Paul Otlet (1868–1944) aimed to create a global information network, the 'Mundaneum'. He had amassed some 15 million entries in a 'Universal Bibliography' and over 70,000 boxes of documentary material by 1940, when it was destroyed by the Nazis. Alex Wright introduces this extraordinary figure, his achievements and the legacy that survived.
A Russian Life in Science
Born to a family of priests in provincial Russia, Ivan Pavlov (1849–1936) made his home and professional life in imperial St Petersburg, suffered the destruction of his world during the Bolshevik Revolution, and successfully rebuilt his career in the 1930s. In this definitive biography, Todes reinterprets the physiologist's famous research on conditional reflexes and weaves his life, values and science into the tumultuous period of Russian history between the reigns of Tsar Nicholas I and Stalin.
The Correspondence of John Wallis
Volume II: 1660-September 1668
The second volume of Wallis's correspondence covers a period which saw Charles II's accession to the throne and the emergence of the Royal Society, of which Wallis was an original – and very active – member. He writes regularly to the Society's secretary, Henry Oldenburg, on various scientific matters, and to Robert Boyle, with whom he discusses his attempts to teach a deaf-mute young man to speak distinctly. He also spends much of this period dealing with legal business for the University.