Cabinets of Experimental Philosophy in Eighteenth-Century Europe is an ambitious contribution to the growing interest in how science came to engage the attention of a public outside the academic and professional spheres and how collections of instruments played a formative role in this development.
Collections of physical instruments for research and demonstration appeared throughout Europe in the eighteenth century and the coverage of the book is correspondingly broad. While collections in different cultural and geographical locations had much in common, there were significant local modifications. The essays in this book illustrate how science, sometimes thought to be monolithic and universal, can maintain core intellectual characteristics and practical techniques while adapting to particular sites and circumstances.
Contributors include: Jim Bennett, Sofia Talas, Huib J. Zuidervaart, Hans Hooijmaijers, Ad Maas, Tiemen Cocquyt, Inga Elmqvist Söderlund, Paola Bertucci, Marta C. Lourenço, David Felismino, Ivano Dal Prete, Ewa Wyka, Martin Weiss, and Paolo Brenni.
Jim Bennett is Visiting Keeper at the Science Museum, London. He was formerly Director of the Museum of the History of Science and Professor of the History of Science in the University of Oxford. He is a previous President of the Scientific Instrument Commission.
Sofia Talas is Curator of the Museum of the History of Physics at the University of Padua. Her main research interests are in the history of scientific instruments and the history of physics. She is President of “Universeum” (European Network for University Heritage) and a board member of the History of Physics Group of the European Physical Society.
List of Illustrations
Notes on Contributors
Jim Bennett, Sofia Talas Colour Plates I-XIII
Cabinets for Experimental Philosophy in the Netherlands
Huib J. Zuidervaart Entrepreneurs in Experiments: The Leiden Cabinet of Physics and the Motives of its Founders (1675-1742)
Hans Hooijmaijers, Ad Maas New Light on the Cabinet of Physics of Padua
Sofia Talas The Lost Cabinet of Experimental Philosophy of the University of Oxford
Jim Bennett Failure, Fraud, and Instrument Cabinets: Academic Involvement in the Eighteenth-Century Dutch Water Crisis
Tiemen Cocquyt The Cabinet of Physics at Riddarhuset in Stockholm in the Eighteenth Century
Inga Elmqvist Söderlund Designing the House of Knowledge in Eighteenth-century Naples: The Ephemeral Museum of Ferdinando Spinelli, Prince of Tarsia
Paola Bertucci Between Teaching and Collecting: The lost Cabinet of Physics of Princes José and João of Portugal (1777-1808)
Marta C. Lourenço, David Felismino The Gazola Family’s Scientific Cabinet: Politics, Society and Scientific Collecting in the Twilight of the Republic of Venice
Ivano Dal Prete Collections of Experimental Natural Philosophy in Eighteenth-century Poland
Ewa Wyka “Monuments of Science”: How the Teyler Museum’s Instrument Collection Became Historical
Martin Weiss The Physics Cabinet of the Istituto Tecnico Toscano
Paolo Brenni General Index
Anyone interested in the history of eighteenth-century science, or of recreational education in either domestic or commercial settings, as well as collectors and curators of scientific instruments.