Science post-1900


First public higher education system of land-grant colleges


Mainly for practical teaching, ie agriculture, science and engineering. Introduces new general scientifically trained graduates to the US

Claude Bernhard


French physiologist with first to have idea of homeostasis, as opposed to Pavlov works on his own in laboratory in Paris

The Cavendish Laboratory


Shared laboratory space in experimental physics, teaching and research but when degrees awarded in 1895 increasing number of researchers (also from abroad, ie Germany) and a boom in research. 1897 J.J. Thomson discovery electron.


  • First practical incadescent lightbulb --> dominate market electrica products and electrity production (also generated by him, Edison Illuminating Company 1880) BUT competition from George Westinghouse producing AC motors
  • All recognise importance standardisation electrical power--> cross-patenting etc together --> by 1910 national standars in the USA and cheaper electricity and outpour of electrical goods (even MORE competition patents etc)

Francis Galton

  • Coins term eugenics and evolutionises concerns of heredity (although worries about heredity already present in 1840s) --> are we selecting humans in the best possible way for evolution?
  • Eugenics not new since already worried about intermarriage in colonies and worries about marrying into lower class etc. --> new front for widely held prejudices
  • Sceptical reception since attempting to challenge conventional beliefs and religious doctrines AND not enough known about laws inheritance BUT by 1900 more popular as concerns about national degeneration reign (differential fall in birthrate --> concerns racial suicide, although can be white/human.Britons) and interest in positive AND negative measures increase. BUT majority of UK scientific community argues against eugenics since this works on assumption 'blended inheritance' whereas geneticists were working with Mendelian recessive genes etc which you can't get rid of by sterilising etc. --> eugenics semi-scientific

Agricultural Experimentation Stations


Graduates public colleges could jobs here after graduation. Ran by state for practical teaching and sopport local state agriculture. Funded by taxes and at mercy universities and keep farmers happy by providing short-term solutions (Q&A centre local farmers) BUT meant that little research freedom. In 1890s and after, William Henry of Wisconsin and Eugene Davenport amongst other ask for government funds for specific research by persuading them of the importance of basic research, persuading good people to come in because less time spent teaching than at university, forming alliances with businessmen+politicians and finding mid-way research such as Mendelian genetics and running short courses for farmers to show importance. Partially as results 1880's wheatcrisis. Professionalisation has benefits economy+agriculture+scientists

Marine Biology Laboratory


On Cape Cod, example of new biological institutes and laboratories

Pasteur Institute

  • Shift away from experimental physiolgoy and more towards control since just listening no longer enough --> new research programs in microbiology, bacteriology etc make labs prominent at the end of the 19th C
  • Big new institutes such as Pasteur for medical research linked to highly publicised new discoveries

Charles Booth

  • After comment political party goes to research poverty in London with cousin and others and showed that 35% people in London lived in poverty and popularized term 'poverty line' and publishes this in Life and Labour of the People (alongside running shipping business!!)
  • Example of systematic study through surveys and observation
  • Close interaction private (philanthropic) surveys and parliamentary initiatives, ie social science without academic institution AND shows relationship social science/social policy -Later also Rowntree in York --> last book in 1951 but published a couple looking at changes and shows that poverty AND show that view that poverty something particular to London that was held at the time was not true

Pavlov at the Imperial Institute of Experimental Medicine

1891 - 1925

Russia's largest and best-equipped laboratory, research into function organs including digestive system by surgically altering dogs. Justified and funded because potential medical understanding. Special organisation of research and adaptation to audiences

The First Atomic Age

1896 - 1945

-Coined by the historian Lavine
-Discoveries of X-Rays and radioactivity related since both involved emission of radiation BUT x-rays continued to be broadly used and researched whilst material for radioactivity was too rare so only researched in a couple of centres such as in Paris by Marie Curie who won Nobel Prize in 1903 -->first time big in the news --> both very promising in good AND bad ways (medicine/new energy vs. destroying --> radium watch dials vs. radium girls 1938 BUT also positive side destroying cancer etc) SO dialogue damage/healing and fear/hope from beginning

Jacques Loeb

  • One of best known scientist early 20th c
  • Work involved sea urchins and artificial asexual reproduction --> in headlines newspapers that he created life
  • Set context for more coverage of related research
  • Gets even more attention when he becomes head of division Experimental Biology at the Rockefeller Institute in 1910 --> high expectations due to funding philanthropists with clear claim

General Electric Research Laboratory

  • Established out of worries falling behind on competitors and patents on lightbulbs were about to run out, ie market competition
  • Chemist Willis R. Whitney first director --> exemplifies belief difference research and industry and hires people by promising greater freedom and greater funds --> gets William Coolidge (tungsten as lightbulb filament) and Irving Langmuir (Nobel Prize chemistry)
  • Labs proof usefulness quickly and other companies follow example
  • New category of scientific professional BUT less prestigious (stigma) so need to emphasise freedom

Institutionalisation biology

Approx. 1900
  • Origin unitary science living beings dubious but institutionalised, mainly through education, around 1900
  • Civic Biology (1914) by George W. Hunter and Elemnatry Biology (1919) by Benjamin Gruenberg in NYC used to train children to adapt to life in industrial cities etc --> framework progressive (rather than human) evolutionism and 'urban biology'
  • Expanding public schools and mandatory state-funding encouraged raframing botany, zoology etc into biology textbooks in USA
  • In univeristy department more generally oriented biology departments instead --> autonomy from medical/agricultural roles BUT at same time general science of life forms also more specialisation into for instance experimental embryology and endocrinology

Ernst Haeckel

  • Most notorious/famous German scientist (zoologist)
  • Worked out phylogeny/pedigrees for humans amongst others--. important in geology
  • 1868: history of Creation -->Darwinist system --> accepted by life scientists BUT evolutionary morphology is challenged in 1880's by physiological approaches
  • Controversial due to rejection limits science and monism --> critics see as form materialism as molecules have a soul etc -1899 The Riddle of the Universe --> 10x as many sold as former book --> talks about monist philosophy, make anti-church argument (and sets of German Monist League in 1906 with 1907 Kepler League in response harmonising Christianity and science) AND demands more science teaching after biology ban of 1882 --> can even explain feelings with physical phenomena
  • Lenin says the 'Riddle a weapon in class struggle' --> form of government 'subordinate question'

Biology at the turn of the century


Experimental biology takes over from observational biology in Cambridge although continue alongside each other, for instance Michael Forster teaching physiology

Inaugural Congress of Physics


In Paris, organised by the French Physical Society. Opening speech by physicist Alfred Cornu, who says that pure science is always profitable to humanity and that it is more important than competition between nations. Although clearly patriotic displays in same building etc., but compare to later!

Rediscovery Mendel's experiment on peas


Experiment done in 1866 but picked up then since Mendel had a special law for hybrids but these biologists wanted GENERAL law --> typical for this time when biologists make very general claims from looking at very specific species. This also results of that by '30s people specialise whole career on one organism BUT also still those wanting breadth of course. Also rhetorical importance of experiment although mainly still analysis in reality

Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research


New form public support --> philanthropic funding by people with wealth to redeem their reputations and create a root for future and fame

Karl Pearson


National Life from the Standpoint of Science --> argues that population should be homogenised so have common interest etc --> in wake depression etc.etc.

Eugenics Record Office


Eugenics Laboratory as part of UCL led by Karl Pearson --> statistics to correct+extend Galton
Use data to classify and select

Binet-Simon Scale


Intelligence test for schoolchildren developed in France, later taken into the US where Lewis Terman, Henry Goddard and others apply to immigrants and later on committees suggest to apply to soldier recruitment since not know them BUT using on new audience makes it shift emphasis to detect highly intelligent rather than feeble-minded. Post-war popularisation testing for many different things



Annus mirabilis papers, 4 articles said to radically change physics BUT narrative overstated since already ideas out there AND was already part of physics community. Worked in patent office on patens coordination clocks in electrical network so problem simultaneity time well-known to him and he gave new foundations to not new ideas by combining current ideas on electromagnetism and thermodynamics. Already read Poincare who says no absolute time and who looks at simultaneity. Product modernity, need for telegraphs, trains etc and status symbol military etc BUT Einstein takes out master clock. Audiences

Sigmund Freud


Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality after other works about dreams etc --> later on expanded by many others in psychoanalytic movement ESPECIALLY after WWI when shell shock etc AND break-down pre-war values etc so instinct becomes appropriate Freud becomes celebrity
- Psychoanalytic movement helped by market therapies
- Adding sex to Darwinism

Eugenics Education Society


Mostly middle-class professionals and many women, incl. H.G. Wells, Keynes, Churchill, Marie Stopes etc. BUT never more than 800 members and not very succesful: no decrease birthrate lower classes, report for feeble-minded incl. voluntary sterilisation AND mental deficieny act but not much new

Frederick Soddy


Wrote The Interpretation of Radium based on lectures given --> talks about possibilities if manage to control the production of energy --> compares to fire and says might be able to create changes as radical as fire

Alexis Carrell

  • At Rockefeller institute --> example of scientist who due to new funding structure of mainly private was expected to deliver in public to keep funding going etc. BUT not first public scientists since for instance Louis Pasteur also 'theatre of proof' for rabies etc. AND after war emphasis on scifi etc away
  • Cultivated cells outside the body --> get chicken cells to beat in culture and keep on dividing --> reported in terms new immortal life!
  • Example 1900 optimism that life will soon be immortilised etc. BUT by '30s recognize complexity BUT still think human biology will transform life as exemplified in the writing of Brave New World (Huxley) and other BUT also exmplify fears (scientists as heroes and frankensteins...)
  • Nobel Prize and high public profile BUT media often misrepresented work saying heart alive AND he wanted to experiment on humans but this wasn't received very well

John B Watson

  • Publishes 'Psychology as the Behaviorist Views It' --> pro cpomletely emulating natural science and being objective and against any kind of subjective interpretations --> partially to help reputation up from its inferior stance in society (he's American)
  • Wundt in Germany similar view

Medical Research Council


Government body UK but made decisions funding independently of the government

World War I

1914 - 1918
  • New weapons such as gas warfare and submarines BUT more importantly works scientists to maintain supplies critical resources --> scientists as disciplinary patriots (
  • Scientists initially mainly valued as solidiers (Henry Moseley UK and Karl Schwartzschild Germany) BUT scientists like H.G. Wells want greater role for scientists --> eventually advisory boards set up even though already military innovation etc.
  • Importance aritallry (5m deaths versus 3m small guns) so important for science to improve aims, precision etc. BUT didn't make huge difference since both sides did

Manifesto to the Europeans

  • Scientists as cultural warrios --> civilisation more important than national interest, compare to fall ancient Greece
  • Einstein, Nicolai and Forster
  • In response to German sacking of Belgian Louvain library BUT backlash as cilvil linked to military as many start to boycot German scientists BUT Nobel Prizes in opposite direction to try to resuscitate Germany

H.G. Wells


Writes The World Set Free in which he, inspired by Soddy, explores the possibilities of an 'atomic bomb' --> not remarkable anticipation BUT instead creating a cultural environment in which bombs could be possble

UK Department for Scientific and Industrial Research

  • State managing science more directly than before
  • Primary aim production useful goods but also investments in pure science

Naval Consulting Board


In US, run by Edison and dominated by commercial investors. Antisubmarine research BUT also NAtional Research Council organised by the National Academy of Sciences utilising physicists and mathematicians and using info UK+France

The Mechanism of Mendelian Heredity

  • Book by Thomas Hunt Morgon who was professor at Columbia --> wrote book with junior colleagues chromosome theory of gene and also making first genetic maps BUT grounded in practical imperative of chosing organism, engineering organism and use technologies sustaining culture of workplace
  • Use Drosophila since good for students and D. Melanogaster for experiments on evolution--> breed reactor as part of discussion what natural selection can/can't change
  • Now quantitative mapping based on standard fly with emphasis no longer on Mendelian classification based on organs but on interlinkages between groups etc.
  • New ways of working --> open community with culture exchange et which fits the idea of mapping bUT this does mean that need to control environment, engineering and papers precisely.

Weber's Science as a Vocation


Scientists provide expertise but are NOT a source of values

Eclipse Expedition

  • By Arthur Eddington, to test Einstein theory light rays. Earlier attempts by Freundlich failed due to confinement in Russia and bad weather (1914) and by US people in Washington also failed due to bad weather (1918). Wants to promote co-operation+pacification (Quaker background etc) and show UK that can be friend with Germany and not all bad etc. --> control press response (want to work with Germans despite bad reputation, Einstein image made then)

Scopes Trial

  • Otherwise known as monkey trial
  • Against Butler act to teach anything other than creationsim but teacher Scopes from Dayton taught from Hunter's Civic Biology
  • Whereas in early 20th c wide consensus evolutionism, later protestant fundamentalism and biblical literalism
  • Butler Act to ease passage general education bill when expansion north to south of urban biology to rural south
  • Large media-event --> Dayton trying to get attention as old industrial town etc.
  • Framed as science vs. religion, with Scopes as symbol
  • Dayton as failed industrial town and civic biology saying progress through industrialisation etc --> par tof wider socio-political protest


  • Create division for 'fundamental' research
  • Hire Wallace Carothers who by 1930 demonstrates that polymers are single molecules (fundamental question that had been puzzling chemists) AND developed two polymers that turned out to be useful (synthetic rubber and synthetic fiber ie nylon)
  • Seen as proof that 'linear model' of innovation (research --> development --> production --> marketing) works BUT were already working in relevant/interesting area AND it took a loooong time AND purposefully hired scientists who'd want this/be good at this

Louis Rapkine

  • First helped refugees coming to France to get funding --> then helps those in danger out of France in 1940 --> helps set up exchange with especially UK after WWII to build up sciences in France again
  • Rebuilding sciences here in general international aid projcet --> partially helped by Rockefeller Foundation grants for equipment AND conferences (ie collaboration)

Yakov Frenkel


Collectivism important in soviet agriculture BEFORE Frenkel developed his collective understanding of atoms --> use collectivism as a metaphor going from the social to the physical --> valance electrons becomes free of particular atoms and can glide to the other AND ions can exchange
places with a hole moving through the solid
- Other Soviet example is Mach (use for creativity)

Frederick Bartlett


Psychologist at Cambridge rejecting use statistics and mathematics and embracing mental states and other less quantifiable phenomena --> Still succesful!

Compulsary Sterilisation Law in Germany


Schizophrenia, deafness --> courts of genetic health, more than 375,000 sterilized

Leo Szilard


Anticipated possibility neutron induced chain reactions (unlike Fermi who didn't enough inspiration) --> took out a patent in 1936 assigned to British Admiraly for secrecy --> persuades Roosevelt via Einstein to be warned that Germany might be making a bomb --> helps stimulate US project
- Szilard often refers to H.G. Wells books in talking about the potential of bombs!
- Atomic bombs had to be naturally but also culturally+ technically possible --> all come together at some point!!

Gregory Pincus


In-vitro fertilisation of rabbit eggs --> in newspapers depicted as Bokanovsky, the cloning scientist in Brave New World BUT he also received public critique which prevented him from staying at Harvard --> Public profile thus not always good for people!

W.M. Stanley


Achived chrystallisation of tobacco mosaic virus at Rockefeller institute as well at same time Carrel's glass heart BUT he didn't receive media attention (wins nobel prize in 1942 though)

Action T4

1939 - 1941

Kill those who are 'incurably sick' at extermination camps -->

The Discovery of Fission

  • In Berlin and Scandinavia by Otto Hahn and Fritzstrassman and Lise Meitner and Otto Frisch respectively --> influence war there since Lise first worked with Otto --> training shapes imagination BUT also scientific community fragmented by political events

Agricultural Research in WWII

1940 - 1945
  • Emergency Rubber Project after rubber supplies cut off due to war with Japan in 1942 --> more than 1000 people, again multidisciplinary trying to find way to grow domestic rubber --> best-funded project ever
  • Manzanar Guayule Project --> humanitarian project by Caltech to use Japanse-Americans in camps in California to work most promising rubber plant --> turned showers etc. into labs (as opposed to immigrant like Szilard who were welcomed with open arms!)

A.J. Muste

Approx. 1940
  • Pacifist and example of early critic of science and its relationship to the military --> criticised scientists who criticised the war since they themselves actively helped in creating all the badness.

Biomedical Sciences during WWII

1940 - 1945
  • Penicillin --> developed in UK but needed more resources which were provided by warfare programs in the USA --> example war contirbutions to pharmaceutical infrastructure+collaboration scientists/industry+science good for war
  • Nuclear medicine --> new need for atomic medicine as workers at MP exposed BUT also after project since labs permanent and whole populations were exposed AND also more opportunities for nuclear medicine (cyclotrons and artificial radioisotopes for distribution) due to increased infrastructure --> also influence ecology, etc by using radioisotopes to track so profound impact all of biology --> AGAIN war is good for science BUT Atomic Energy Commission also uses this medicine to show the GOOD side of a BAD scientific discovery
  • Cohn at Harvard Medical School --> already doing research into protein structures in blood but then turns basic laboratory into lab to find out about blood transfusion --> national well-known but unlike others did not want to turn back to basic research (compare to George Beadle at Stanford with biochemical genetics program)

The Manhattan Project

1942 - 1945
  • Before this many countries looking into atomic weapons according to normal academic procedures, incl. US BUT in 1942 things change
  • Manhattan Project is under complete military control + industrial model research (incl usual problems scientists within that) + extraordinary level government funding + interdisciplinary working of physicists and chemists
  • Compartmenetalized project led by committee incl. Grover, BUsh and Conant BUT ready to change organisation at any point
  • Physicists and chemsits involved but later government makes it sound as physicist war since convey basic physics after dropping the bomb but do NOT tell people chemistry/metallurgy --> believe physicists war because government wants us to
  • MAterials produced at Oak Ridge, TN and Hanford, WA
  • Bombs produced at Los Alamos Laboratory

Vannevar Bush

  • The Endless Frontier report published
  • Example of scientist who has learned political strategies BUT also promoting general feeling wanting to continue state funding but without strings attached --> uses evidence wartime successes basic science (nuclear) to advocate for basic science by promoting the 'linear model' of how science ought to be funded (also align with free enquiry in capitalist society!)

Politicalisation of Science

  • Paddy essay, three main points of politicalisation: 1) America providing funding to help re-build European scientific traditions BUT obviously with its own political agenda in their head 2) Scientists after Hiroshima and Nagasaki setting up organisations arguing against secrecy, for the internationalisation of information and international control of weapons. Examples of these organisations were Atomic Scientists of Chicago, Association of Oak Ridge Scientists. They lobbied directly with politicians and through radio programs etc. BUT not very successful and even critiqued because went against Cold War atmosphere etc --> 'un-American' or communist 3) Molecular biologists capitalised on same political narratives of the time by appealing to political nature of wartime physics.Say stuff like the the 'physics of life' instead of death and in the same way as 'Atoms for Peace' use politically charged image of the atom to emphasise the importance for biology etc.
  • Stafford Warren (inventor mammogram) used radio to publicise work
  • Walter Schmitt spoke of Manhattan Project of Disease
  • Evans --> atom could save more lives than it killed

Baruch Plan


US proposal to the UN for an international atomic regulatory body and elimination of atomic weapons BUT Soviet Union not up for this because UN was mainly US and its allies and could thus not be trusted --> arms race but soviet nuclear weapons by 1949 --> more global political instability incl. Civil War in China and the Korean War which all added to cold war tensions

Project RAND

  • Research ANd Development organisation --> operations research model taken over from physical sciences and put into social sciences!
  • Focus on systems analysis and game theory with key figures Robert McNamara and Herman Kahn, posing theory of mutually assured destruction based on this game theory, but also delivering information on public health etc.
  • By 1950s mainly economists and less physicists/mathematicians and total of more than 200 employees

Berkeley Oaths

1949 - 1951

Physicists working at Berkeley had sign an oath saying there were not members of the communist party. Robert Oppenheimer was charged related to past associations with communists and also lost his security clearance because of it in 1954

US National Science Foundation

  • Continued organisation for state patronage of science base don aim to supprot basic research and decisions made in peer community BUT not only agency at the time and in general most money still to military, medicine etc. specific things (ie others more mission-oriented)
  • Similar outcome in Britain with 1944 Royal Society report

Atoms for Peace


Eisenhower speech at the UN --> idea provide access nuclear technologies without having other countries become atomic powers themselves (ie stockpile fissionable material etc.)
--> using science and technology as political tool (remnant from wars use of science as tool? --> in space race but also in collaboration European institutions etc)
- NOn-military atomic development BUT still part of military strategy --> better image US abroad, distract Russians from own project, gather technical/scientific information through 'open' exchange

Operation Castle Bravo


American drop hydrogen bomb on remote pacific atoll BUT fallout effects people on nearby island as well as Japanese fishers on the Lucky Dragon --> diplomatic tensions and resulting mediastorm --> criticism need for nuclear weapons
- Additionally around the same time also public disagreement AEC and geneticists about whether radiation causes a risk for public health
BUT critique not taken seriously really and even scrutinized and most scientists enjoyed extra funding etc. and power to advise government through AEC etc.

The Washington Scientists


Baby teeth

International Atomic Energy Agency


Also international conferences etc.

Baby Tooth Survey


Women activists concerned about Strontium-90 in 1956 BUT only undertook action when Committee for Nuclear Information was formed in St Louis Washington --> showed that there was strontium-90 in milk --> campaigns to stop nuclear testing due to health concerns

DNA Discovery


Other things going on

1960 - 1980

Science movement only part of a larger movement of anti-war protests, civil rights movement (including feminists) and general unrest after the assassination of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King

Project Plowshare


Project from government to demonstrate peaceful uses atom at home and abroad --> use in infrastructure projects and clearing projects

Dwight Eisenhower

  • In farewell address wars against policy becoming captive to scientific elite --> part of wider critique of the increasingly intimate relationship between politics and science without many public statements etc. --> influence undemocratic
  • Histoiran David Hollinger as well as Winston Churchill later on (right wing so wider worry!) worry about this as well

Collective Monitoring, Collective Defense

  • Mao project to monitor earthquakes since many in that decade BUT part of a larger political program: 1) Against elistism --> oppress scientists and prevent uprise AND send lay people into labs and elitist into rural areas to equalise 2 Very little infrastructure for science etc. BUT do have this massive resource of people 3) Use of indigenous knowledge (snakes etc) and pure numbers, educate them all through intense propaganda in which all being heroes and helping the state 4) At the same time nation building --> gender equality, no more elitism, incentives from labour circumstances 5) Importance Engels essay in which talking about importance labour in evolution --> progress made through labouring of masses AND search for history of human beings would give justification for the political actions at the time SO palaeontology one of the biggest sciences under the reign of Mao --> very large scale due to large involvement 6) Succes questionable but Haicheng earthquake in 1975 seen as success since many people were evacuated (again also used as propaganda to show power state and how people who didn't go died)
  • 'Science walking on two legs'
  • Both projects show the importance of the science for political ideology and of political ideology for science!!

March 4th Movement

  • Based at MIT, stike and protest that was soon taken up by 30 other universities going against the Vietnam war and the involvement of science in that and more in general is politics and war.

Union of Concerned Scienctists


Alongside E F Schumacher, thought that science and technology could be a force for social good (as opposed to for instance the Science Action Coordination Committee who were very skeptical about technology in American society in general). Also includes Whole Earth Catalogs

Science for the People


Most famous protests movement in the '70s against individual scientists and institutions, especially MIT for it's military involvement. Gave out Dr Strangelove awards to Edward Teller and Glenn Seaborg for helping to commit heinous crimes. However they, as well as the Jason scientists, kept claiming that they were producing --> NOT all scientists against what doing AND movement includes scientists, politicians, students etc

Cohen and Boyer


Universities filed for a patent on the method of transferring plasmid DNA from one bacteria to the other --> example of commercialisation of biotech and science more in general (also seen in rise biotech companies)


1981 - 1989

President --> cut on a lot of research etc --> part of the reason for increased industrialisation in 80s as precentage government funding GDP goes down and industrialistion up --> now even more private funding than governmental