[Tyndall Blogged] Early Victorian Mountaineering and the Search for Scientific Knowledge

From the post “Early Victorian Mountaineering and the Search for Scientific Knowledge” on a blog called Victorian History (1 Nov. 2006):

The earliest mountaineers would not have thought of climbing without the encumbrance of scientific paraphenalia, particularly barometers, thermometers and theodolites. Imbued as they were with the Victorian middle-class work ethic, the scientists, amateur or professional, would have seen climbing for the sheer joy of the sport as a kind of moral failure. Pleasure could only be a by-product of the eternal search for knowledge.

Two of the greatest mountaineers of this early period were the scientists James D. Forbes and his great adversary, John Tyndall. Both saw the mountains as their laboratory and it was the scientific study of glaciers that brought both men to the Alps. Yet both were captured by the spell of the mountains albeit in different ways and at different times. For Forbes, the pleasure he experienced was “a satisfaction and freedom from restraint” which would “dispel anxiety and invite to sustained exertion.” Tyndall, whose theories were diametrically opposed to those of Forbes, nonetheless shared his predecessor’s pleasure in the Alps, writing that they “appealed at once to thought and feeling, offering their problems to one and their grandeur to the other, while conferring upon the body the soundness and the purity necessary to the healthful exercise of both.”

Read the entirety of this post here.

Published in: on October 18, 2008 at 8:35 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Tyndall Bibliography

For the past few days, I have been putting together a bibliography of secondary literature on John Tyndall. I share it here:

Barton, Ruth. 1987. “John Tyndall, Pantheist: A Rereading of the Belfast Address.” Osiris 3: 111-134.

– – -. 2003. “Men of Science: Language, Identity and Professionalization in the mid-Victorian Scientific Community.” History of Science 41: 73-119.

– – -. 2004. “Scientific Authority and Scientific Controversy in Nature: North Britain against the X Club.” In Culture and Society in the Nineteenth-Century Media. Eds. Louise Henson, Geoffrey Cantor, Gowan Dawson, Richard Noakes, Sally Shuttleworth, and Jonathon R. Topham. Aldershot: Ashgate, 223-235.


Bellon, Richard. 2001. “Joseph Dalton Hooker’s Ideals for a Professional Man of Science.” Journal of the History of Biology 34: 51-82.


Birchfield, Joe D. 2004. “Tyndall, John (1820-93).” In The Dictionary of Nineteenth-Century British Scientists. Vol. 4. Ed. Bernard Lightman. Bristol, England: Thoemmes   Continuum, 2053-2058.


Blinderman, Charles. 1961. “John Tyndall and the Victorian New Philosophy.” Bucknell

Review 9: 281-290.


Brock, W.H. 2004. “Tyndall, John (1820-1893).” In Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. 55. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 789-794.


– – –, N.D. McMillan, and R.C. Mollan, eds. 1981. John Tyndall: Essays on a Natural         Philosopher. Dublin: Royal Dublin Society.


Clark, Ronald. 1953. The Victorian Mountaineers. London: Batsford.


Conant, James, ed. 1953. Pasteur’s and Tyndall’s Study of Spontaneous Generation. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.


Daub, Edward E. 1974. “The Hidden Origins of the Tait-Tyndall Controversy: The Thomson-Tyndall Conflict,” in Proceedings, XIVth International Congress of the History of Science, Tokyo and Kyoto, Japan, 19-27 August, 1974. Tokyo: Japan Science Council, 241-244.


Dawson, Gowan. 2007. Darwin, Literature and Victorian Respectability. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Eve, A. S. and C. H. Creasey. 1945. Life and Work of John Tyndall. London: Macmillan &           Co., Ltd.


Fleming, Fergus. 2000. Killing Dragons: The Conquest of the Alps. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press.


Fleming, James Rodger. 1998. “John Tyndall, Svante Arrhenius, and Early Research on Carbon Dioxide and Climate,” in Historical Perspectives on Climate Change. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 65-82.


Foster, John Wilson. 2002. “Darwin in Ireland: John Tyndall and the Irish Churches.”      Recoveries: Neglected Episodes in Irish Cultural History, 1860-1912. Dublin: University College Dublin Press. Tyndall is also discussed in the 2nd chapter of this book, “Fieldwork.”


Friday, James R., Roy M. MacLeod, and Philippa Shepherd. 1974. John Tyndall: Natural Philosopher, 1820-1893. Catalogue of Correspondence, Journals and Collected Papers. London: Mansell.


Gieryn, Thomas F. 1999. “John Tyndall’s Double Boundary-Work: Science, Religion, and Mechanics in Victorian England,” in Cultural Boundaries of Science: Credibility on the Line. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 37-64.


Haugrud, Raychel A. 1970. “Tyndall’s Interest in Emerson.” American Literature 41: 507-17.


Hevly, Bruce. 1996. “The Heroic Science of Glacier Motion.” Osiris 11 (1996): 66-86.


Howard, Jill. 2004. “’Physics and Fashion’: John Tyndall and his audiences in Mid-Victorian Britain.” Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science 35 (2004): 729-758.


Jenkins, Alice. 1998. “Spatial Imagery in Nineteenth-Century Representations of Science: Faraday and Tyndall.” Making Space for Science: Territorial Themes in the Shaping of Knowledge. Eds. Crosbie Smith and Jon Agar. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.


Kim, Stephen. 1996. John Tyndall’s Transcendental Materialism and the Conflict Between Religion and Science in Victorian England. Lewiston, Queenston, Lampeter: Mellen University Press.


Libera, Sharon Mayer. 1974. “John Tyndall and Tennyson’s ‘Lucretius’.” Victorian Newsletter 45: 19-22.


Lightman, Bernard. 1987. The Origins of Agnosticism: Victorian Unbelief and the Limits of Knowledge. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.


– – -. 1990. “Robert Elsmere and the Agnostic Crises of Faith.” In Victorian Faith in Crisis: Essays on Continuity and Change in Nineteenth-Century Religious Belief. Eds. Richard J. Helmstadter and Bernard Lightman. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.


– – –, ed. 1997. Victorian Science in Context. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.


– – -, ed. 2004. Dictionary of Nineteenth-Century British Scientists. 4 vols. Bristol, England: Thoemmes Continuum.


– – -. 2004. “Scientists as Materialists in the Periodical Press: Tyndall’s Belfast Address.” Science Serialized: Representations of the Sciences in Nineteenth-Century Periodicals. Dibner Institute Studies in the History of Science and Technology. Eds. Geoffrey Cantor and Sally Shuttleworth. Cambridge, Massachusetts: M.I.T. Press, 199-237.

– – -. 2007. Victorian Popularizers of Science: Designing Nature for New Audiences. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.


Livingstone, David. 1992. “Darwinism and Calvinism: The Belfast-Princeton Connection.” Isis 83: 408-428.


– – -. 1997. “Darwin in Belfast.” Nature in Ireland: A Scientific and Cultural History. Ed. John W. Foster. Dublin: Lilliput Press, 1997, 387-408.


McMillan, Norman, and Ivan Slade. 2005. “Optics, Evolution and Myopia,” in Photonic   Engineering, Opto-Ireland, 4-6 April, 2005, Dublin, Ireland [Proceedings of SPIE – the International Society for Optical Engineers]. Bellingham, WA: SPIE, 679-689.


MacLeod, Roy. 1976. “Tyndall, John.” In Dictionary of Scientific Biography. Ed. Charles Coulston Gillipsie. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 521-524.


Meadows, Jack. 1995. “John Tyndall: Then and Now.” Proceedings of the Royal Institution of Great Britain 66 (1995): 239-249.


O’Gorman, Francis. 1996. “’The Eagle and the Whale?’: John Ruskin’s argument with John Tyndall,” in Michael Wheeler, ed. Time and Tide: Ruskin and Science. London: Pilkington Press, 45-64.


– – -. 1997a. “John Tyndall as Poet: Agnosticism and ‘A Morning on Alp Lusgen’.” The Review of English Studies 48 (1997): 353-358.


– – -. 1997b. “Some Ruskin Annotations of John Tyndall.” Notes and Queries 44 (1997): 348-349.


– – -. 2000. “’The Mightiest Evangel of the Alpine Club’: Masculinity and Agnosticism in the Alpine Writing of John Tyndall,” in Andrew Bradstock, et al., eds., Masculinity and Spirituality in Victorian Culture. New York: Palgrave, 134-148.


Rowlinson, J.S. 1971. “The Theory of Glaciers.” Notes and Records of the Royal Society off London 26 (1971): 189-204.


Sackmann, Werner. 1993. “John Tyndall (1820-93) and his relationship to the Alps and     Switzerland” [in German]. Gesnerus 50 (1993): 66-78.


Sarton, George. 1940. “Faraday to Tyndall.” Isis 31: 303-4.


Sawyer, Paul L. 1981. “Ruskin and Tyndall: The Poetry of Matter and The Poetry of Spirit,” in James Paradis and Thomas Postlewait, eds., Victorian Science and Victorian Values: Literary Perspectives. New York: New York Academy of Sciences, 217-246. This was reprinted in 1985 by Rutgers University Press.


Smith, Arthur Whitmore. 1920. “John Tyndall (1820-1893).” Scientific Monthly 11: 331-40.



Sopka, Katherine. 1972. “An Apostle of Science Visits America: John Tyndall’s Journey of 1872-1873.” Physics Teacher 10: 369-75.


Strick, James. 2000. Sparks of Life: Darwinism and the Victorian Debates over Spontaneous Generation. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.


Sugiyama, Shigeo. 1992. “The Significance of the Particulate Conception of Matter in John Tyndall’s Physical Researches.” Historia Scientiarum 2: 119-138.


Thompson, D. 1957a. “John Tyndall (1820-1893): A Vocational Enterprise.” Vocational   Aspects of Secondary and Further Education 9: 38-48.


Thompson, D. 1957b. “John Tyndall and the Royal Institution.” Annuals of Science 13:9-21.


Turner, Frank. 1973. “Lucretius Among the Victorians.” Victorian Studies 16: 329-348.


Weed, Lyle A. 1942. “John Tyndall and His Contribution to the Theory of Spontaneous   Generation.” Annals of Medical History 4: 55-62.


Wiseman, E. J. 1965. “John Tyndall: His Contributions to the Defeat of the Theory of       Spontaneous Generation of Life.” School Science Review 159: 362-7.


Yamalidou, Maria. 1999a. “John Tyndall, the Rhetorician of Molecularity. Part One. Crossing the Boundary Towards the Invisible.” Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London 53 (1999): 231-242.


– – -. 1999b. “John Tyndall, the Rhetorician of Molecularity. Part Two. Questions Put to Nature.” Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London 53 (1999): 319-331.

Published in: on October 10, 2008 at 5:25 pm  Comments (6)  

[Tyndall Blogged] Leslie Stephen and Mountaineering

From the post “Leslie Stephen and Mountaineering” on a blog called zhiv (1 Oct. 2008):

Tyndall and his study of glaciers raises the important scientific element in the early history of mountaineering. In its specifics this wasn’t very important to Stephen, although he must have been broadly informed on scientific subjects. It was crucial, however, in the way that it placed him in proximity to the larger scientific and religious controversy of the day, and the publication in 1859 of Darwin’s ”Origin of the Species”–if he wasn’t already in the midst of it. I believe that Tyndall, just behind Huxley, was one of the leading proponents of evolutionary theory, and his study of glaciers was an extension of Charles Lyell’s geological studies of the 1830’s, which had started the revision of biblical time in earnest and began the revolution.

You can read more about the English writer and prominent mountaineer Leslie Stephen, and Tyndall, in Fergus Fleming’s Killing Dragons: The Conquest of the Alps (New York: Atlantic Monthly, 2000).

Published in: on October 10, 2008 at 4:27 pm  Leave a Comment