Volume 1 of The Correspondence of John Tyndall published

From 2008 to 2010 I transcribed scores of letters by and to John Tyndall, knowing that they were slated for publication eventually. January 2015 saw the publication of the first volume of The Correspondence of John Tyndall, and the second volume will be published soon. And two more in 2016, and two more the next year, and so on. Eighteen volumes in all.


I am happy to share that I will return to working on the project, as a third co-editor for volume six (which will be published in 2017), with Darwin biographer Janet Browne and physicist Norman McMillan. The volume will cover the letters from 1856-1858. I will spend my time as co-editor largely look over the transcribed letters for accuracy with a fine-tooth comb. I’ll enjoy getting back into doing some history since I finished my masters degree in 2010, and am honored to have been asked to participate again.

You can check out the Amazon pages for the first two volumes. Too spendy for a personal library perhaps, but it would be great to request that your university library purchase the volumes, especially if there is a history of science department or emphasis. –> Volume 1 & Volume 2

Published in: on July 1, 2015 at 10:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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BOOK: The Age of Scientific Naturalism: Tyndall and His Contemporaries

Pickering & Chatto has published as part of their Science and Culture in the Nineteenth Century series a collection of papers about the nineteenth-century Irish physicist John Tyndall, who wrote and lectured for the public, was a member of the X Club and Darwin supporter, and vocal critic of religion. Most of the papers are from a conference, held in Big Sky, Montana in June 2012, that brought together historians and students working on the John Tyndall Correspondence Project to present their research. I attended, and presented my MA paper. Unfortunately, for the publication, I did not have the resources necessary to do continued research for my paper. But I am happy to see the publication out, and delighted to see my paper in the book’s very first footnote. If anyone wishes to see my paper – “The ‘efficient defender of a fellow-scientific man’: John Tyndall, Darwin, and Preaching Pure Science in Nineteenth-Century America” – let me know, and I can send you a copy.

Here’s the publisher’s information about the book:

Bernard Lightman and Michael S. Reidy, eds. The Age of Scientific Naturalism: Tyndall and His Contemporaries (Brookfield, VT: Pickering & Chatto, 2014), 272 pp.

Publisher’s description Physicist John Tyndall and his contemporaries were at the forefront of developing the cosmology of scientific naturalism during the Victorian period. They rejected all but physical laws as having any impact on the operations of human life and the universe. Contributors focus on the way Tyndall and his correspondents developed their ideas through letters, periodicals and scientific journals and challenge previously held assumptions about who gained authority, and how they attained and defended their position within the scientific community.

You can view the contents of the volume here, read the introduction here, and read James Ungureanu’s blog post about the volume here. Also, the first two volumes (of at least sixteen) of the The Correspondence of John Tyndall will be published by Pickering & Chatto in 2015.

Published in: on November 14, 2014 at 12:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Two forthcoming books of interest

February will see the publication of Ruth Barton’s The X Club: Power and Authority in Victorian Science, in the Studies in History of Science series from Ashgate. Barton is an historian of science at the University of Auckland, and a participant in the Tyndall Correspondence Project. I assume this book is a culmination of her many published articles on the X Club.

March will see the publication of Ursula DeYoung’s 2009 dissertation-to-book A Vision of Modern Science: John Tyndall and the Role of the Scientist in Victorian Culture, in the Palgrave Studies in the History of Science and Technology series. DeYoung recently received her doctorate from Oxford University. Here’s the summary:

“Ursula DeYoung examines a pivotal moment in the history of science through the career and cultural impact of the Victorian physicist John Tyndall, one of the leading figures of his time and a participant in many highly publicized debates that extended well beyond the purely scientific realm. This book argues that as a researcher, public lecturer, and scientific popularizer, Tyndall had a sizable impact on the establishment of the scientist as an authoritative figure in British culture. As a promoter of science in education and one of the foremost advocates of freeing scientific study from the restraints of theology, Tyndall was both a celebrated and a notorious figure, who influenced areas of Victorian society from governmental policy to educational reform to the debates over Darwin’s theory of natural selection. In contextualizing Tyndall’s varying fields of research and involvement, DeYoung explores many different aspects of nineteenth-century culture, including the development of public science, the role of popular media, and the growth of university research. It engages with the latest scholarship on Victorian culture and the history of science while at the same time exploring the reasons for Tyndall’s heretofore neglected reputation. This book aims to establish John Tyndall as an important and influential figure of the Victorian period whose scientific discoveries and philosophy of science in society are still relevant today.”

Published in: on January 6, 2011 at 9:13 am  Comments (1)  
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Library book sale finds

At two recent library book sales I have come across some Tyndall books. First, I found Hours of Exercise in the Alps (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1896), a collection of writings about mountaineering. Second, as I scanned through the titles on the spines of old books at another sale, the word science caught my eye, then I saw fragments, then the name Tyndall. Thus, I now own a copy of the second volume of Tyndall’s Fragments of Science (New York: P.F. Collier & Son, 1905), which contains articles and lectures regarding religion, prayer, Darwin, evolution, his Belfast Address, and spontaneous generation.

Book sales are so much fun!

Published in: on October 12, 2010 at 9:08 pm  Comments (4)  
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