The Organisation of Science in the 19th Century

  • Geert Vanpaemel
Part of the Science Networks · Historical Studies book series (SNHS, volume 22)


The 19th century was a crucial period in the development of modern science.1 New discoveries and ideas appeared one after the other to feed the bourgeoisie’s increasing appetite for knowledge. Museums put on proud displays of their latest prehistoric finds, from dinosaurs to Neanderthals. The chemical industry brought new dyes on to the market, and farmers learned to use chemical fertilisers. The steam engine, the telegraph and photography were seen as the symbols of modern times. Scientists became public figures: Gay-Lussac, Arago and Berthelot in France; Faraday, Thomson (Lord Kelvin) and Darwin in England; Liebig, Haeckel and Ostwald in Germany. The spectacular advances in microbiology against pathogenic bacteria achieved by Louis Pasteur made him science’s first genuine “superstar”.


Nobel Prize Academic Freedom German Physicist English Science French Science 
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  1. 1.
    A useful exposition of the popular perception of nineteenth-century science can be found in David KNIGHT, The Age of Science. The Scientific World-view in the Nineteenth Century,Basil Blackwell, 1986.Google Scholar
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© Springer Basel AG 1999

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  • Geert Vanpaemel

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