Academic journal article Transactions of the American Philosophical Society

Foreword

Academic journal article Transactions of the American Philosophical Society

Foreword

Article excerpt

THE HISTORY OF SCIENCE is neither just the history of ideas, nor of laboratory practice, nor of social context. Among its other focal points is the craft tradition, from the prehistoric quartz flake to the strings and ceiling wax in J.J. Thompson's laboratory and beyond. But the craft tradition is often difficult to catalogue because artisans have in general handed down their skills orally, and rarely in writing. We have little beyond the surviving products of their craft. The study of these objects was an antiquarian occupation for much of the twentieth century, but in recent decades it has become an integral part of mainline research in the history of science.

In the case of the telescope, its history has been well illuminated for generations, but its prehistory has remained somewhat of a mystery until very recently. Its origins clearly lie in eyeglasses, but too little was known about their history, especially in the Renaissance. In his book Renaissance Vision, from Spectacles to Telescopes, Vincent Hardi gives a massive inventory of early spectacles and considerable insight into the industry of spectacle-making. In his many articles, Sven Dupré has illuminated the research context of practical optics in the sixteenth century, while in her recent book, Galileo's Glassworks, Eileen Reeves has shed light on the social and political context of optics during this period. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.