By Katharine Anderson
Victorian Britain, with its maritime economic climate and robust hyperlinks among govt and medical businesses, based an place of work to gather meteorological statistics in 1854 for you to foster a latest technological know-how of the elements. yet because the workplace grew to become to prediction instead of information assortment, the delicate technology turned a public spectacle, with its forecasts open to day-by-day scrutiny within the newspapers. And meteorology got here to imagine a pivotal position in debates concerning the accountability of scientists and the authority of science.Studying meteorology as a way to check the old identification of prediction, Katharine Anderson bargains the following an engrossing account of forecasting that analyzes medical perform and ideas approximately facts, the association of technological know-how in public existence, and the articulation of clinical values in Victorian tradition. In Predicting the elements, Anderson grapples with primary questions on the functionality, intelligibility, and bounds of medical paintings whereas exposing the general public expectancies that formed the perform of technology in this period.A cogent research of the amazing historical past of climate forecasting in Victorian Britain, Predicting the elements may be crucial analyzing for students drawn to the general public dimensions of technology. (20051103)
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Extra info for Predicting the weather: Victorians and the science of meteorology
He contrasted these authorities with those of his opponents, sharply dismissing, for example, the witnesses of another scholar, Thomas Lewin. Lewin had cited a railway ofﬁcial’s estimate on the distance from Boulogne to Folkestone or humble French curés with anecdotes about 23. Airy, Essays on the Invasion of Britain by Julius Caesar. ” 24 But natural fact, Airy felt, clearly trumped Lewin’s appeal to local experience. And when Lewin dismissed Airy on the grounds that the Somme was far further than the thirty miles’ distance indicated by Caesar’s description, Airy countered that, before the modern age, all such estimates of distance were unreliable.
This vision seized the imagination of contemporaries to an unprecedented degree, becoming a symbol of national destiny (ﬁg. 1). 29 More directly, however, just as Murchison had made geological predictions about the remote land of Australia, Airy’s project announced that another sort of inaccessible knowledge should become the domain of men of science. In his historical and philosophical writings on scientiﬁc method,Whewell explicitly identiﬁed this key analogy between prediction of past and future events.
To appreciate both these levels, however, it is necessary to understand that religious prophecy in the Victorian period was itself both notorious and very ordinary. Given the range of denominations and theological positions in Victorian Britain, any simple account is bound to distort some aspects of its history. In general terms, prophecy connected the Old Testament with the ﬁgure of Jesus Christ in the New Testament, making Christ the historical fulﬁllment of ancient predictions about a messiah.