Welcome to Transcribing Tyndall: Letters of a Victorian Scientist

Welcome to Transcribing Tyndall: Letters of a Victorian Scientist, my new blog to go along with a research project I will be working on at Montana State University-Bozeman starting in September 2008. Earlier this year, my undergraduate advisor approached me about joining him to work on the John Tyndall Correspondence Project, the objective being to transcribe and publish all the known correspondence of the nineteenth-century Irish physicist and popularizer of science, John Tyndall. Basically, he said he needed a graduate student (I am starting the history graduate program this fall) to work with him to type out a particular set of Tyndall’s correspondence from digital images of the actual letters previously prepared by historian of science Bernard Lightman, who studies Victorian science and has focused on Tyndall before.

I would like to use this blog to share items I came across about Tyndall’s life and work (online or elsewhere), the information about Tyndall and Victorian science gleaned from the letters I transcribe (which will mostly deal with Tyndall’s time mountaineering in the Alps, and will depend on the approval of those heading the project), and the experience of transcribing the letters itself. Through August I hope to read up on Tyndall a little, so that I am familiar with the man whose letters I will work with. My advisor is currently researching Tyndall himself (hence the reason for him being involved in the project), so I think I will be reading something of his, as well as publications of Tyndall’s, journal articles about him, etc. Hopefully I can post about some of the stuff I read.

A little about me: I am originally from southern California, where I did my general education at a community college, and was an intended biology major at San Diego State University before moving to Montana. I came to Montana State University thinking I was going to study paleontology, but before I even started my first semester I found out about the history of science option through the history department, met a professor who became my advisor, and changed my major. I generally focused on the life and work of Charles Darwin as an undergraduate student, and I also did a minor in Museum Studies, which brought me the opportunity to do a summer internship with a historian in Yellowstone National Park. The paper I wrote for that internship about religious language in descriptions of Yellowstone will be published as a shorter article in Yellowstone Science, I believe, later this summer. I keep a blog about Darwin and the history of natural history in general, called The Dispersal of Darwin. And I am married with a two-and-a-half year old son.

I will be pretty busy this fall, with 20 hours/week working on Tyndall and my three graduate classes. Fortunately the project comes with a stipend, so I won’t have to worry about working during the semester.


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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hi there! I’m actually one of the folks working with Bernie on the project. I still, however, need to gather some funding to have some students work on this.


  2. Hi John – thats great, that I kinda know someone else working on the project. I believe another graduate student here at MSU will be working with me, but I don’t know any details yet…

  3. Michael, glad you’ll be working on this! I knew that MR was up for the grant but I didn’t know that it came through. Excellent.


  4. Good luck with the new blog, Michael. I’ve subscribed to the RSS feed. My favourite blogs are ones dedicated to a very specific subject like this. Looking forward to learning about Tyndall.

  5. […] in the UK. Recognition of his importance and influence is still growing, bolstered by projects like Transcribing Tyndall, and the Tyndall Correspondence Project, along with the work of many different historians and […]

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