Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

“Nature” and the making of a scientific community, 1869–1939
by Baldwin, Melinda Clare, Ph.D., Princeton University, 2010, 288; 3428545
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation is a study of history of the journal Nature , today perhaps the world's most prestigious scientific journal, from its first issue in 1869 until the onset of World War II in 1939. This time period covers the careers of Nature's first two editors, Sir Norman Lockyer (editor from 1869–1919) and Sir Richard Gregory (editor from 1919–1939). Nature was an important publication not just because of the famous papers published in its pages, but because it was a site where British men of science negotiated the rules and boundaries of their community. During Nature's first seventy years, its editors and contributors found many ways of using Nature to promote both their own work and their visions of science and its practitioners.

The dissertation is divided into five chapters. Chapter 1 focuses on Nature's foundation and its first few years of publication, and discusses why Norman Lockyer, the journal's founder and first editor, was unable to sustain his vision of a science magazine that would be read by both laymen and scientific specialists. Chapter 2 explores how and why a younger generation of British men of science adopted Nature as a primary forum of scientific communication in the 1870s and 1880s. Chapter 3 introduces Richard Gregory, a young science journalist who joined the Nature staff in 1893, and argues that although Gregory lacked the qualifications Nature readers and contributors desired in a man of science, he assumed Nature's editorship after successfully establishing himself as science's spokesman to a wider British public. Chapter 4 argues that although Nature continued to be a thoroughly British scientific institution, focused on serving the needs and interests of the British scientific community, its speed of publication made the journal an invaluable resource for scientists working in the international field of radioactivity. Finally, Chapter 5 explores Nature's place in international science, in particular the journal's relationship with German science and scientists during and after the First World War. Nature's passionate anti-Nazi content would lead to the Nazi Minister of Education, Bernhard Rust, banning the journal from all German universities and libraries in 1937.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Gordin, Michael
School: Princeton University
School Location: United States -- New Jersey
Source: DAI-A 71/11, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Science history, Mass communications
Keywords: Britain, Journals, Nature, Scientific community
Publication Number: 3428545
ISBN: 978-1-124-28015-8
Copyright © 2020 ProQuest LLC. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions Privacy Policy Cookie Policy