By Albert E. Moyer
In overdue nineteenth-century the USA, Simon Newcomb was once the nation's so much celebrated scientist and--irascibly, doggedly, tirelessly--he made the main of it. formally a mathematical astronomer heading a central authority enterprise, Newcomb spent as a lot of his lifestyles out of the observatory as in it, appearing as a spokesman for the nascent yet restive medical neighborhood of his time.Newcomb observed the "scientific strategy" as a possible consultant for all disciplines and a foundation for all useful motion, and argued passionately that it was once of as a lot use within the halls of Congress as within the laboratory. In so doing, he not just sparked well known aid for American technological know-how but in addition faced a large spectrum of social, cultural, and highbrow concerns. this primary full-length examine of Newcomb lines the improvement of his religion in technology and levels over issues of serious public debate within the Gilded Age, from the reform of monetary concept to the recasting of the talk among technology and faith. Moyer's portrait of a stressed, keen brain additionally illuminates the bustle of overdue nineteenth-century the USA.
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Additional info for A scientist's voice in American culture: Simon Newcomb and the rhetoric of scientific method
10). The biographical account ends with a brief look at his later years (chap. 11). When Newcomb died in 1909, Robert S. Woodward, president of the Carnegie Institution in Washington, singled out his former colleague for not only his "unrivaled productivity" but also the "unusual clearness" of his prose. " 2 To date, scholars have tapped only a small portion of Newcomb's vast, lifetime output of unpublished and published writings. The Simon Newcomb Papers at the Library of Congress number approximately 46,200 items and occupy sixty-two linear feet of shelf space.
In fact, Newcomb both reflected and helped shape the quickening interplay between, on the one hand, scientific modes of thought and action and, on the other hand, wider intellectual, cultural, and social currents within the United States. He was in the vanguard of Gilded Age "scientism," as Americans increasingly embraced not only the practices of science but also its perceived forms and valuespractices, forms, and values that would come to even fuller flower in the Progressive era of the early twentieth century.
3 Descriptive methodology falls within the purview of scholars with an anthropological or ethnographic bent or the knack to discern often unspoken investigational beliefs and their possible ties to scientists' actions and practices. Inquiry into normative methodology requires primarily the evaluative and analytic talents of philosophers. Ideological methodologyscientists' pronouncements about the methods they uselends itself to scrutiny by historians, sociologists, and rhetoricians. In studying Newcomb, I focus on ideological methodology.
A scientist's voice in American culture: Simon Newcomb and the rhetoric of scientific method by Albert E. Moyer