Most of us encounter science through the the world of popular science: the books, TV shows, museum exhibits, kits, and toys that are packaged for general consumption. Today, we explore the early days of mass-produced popular science, particularly the books written for women and children.
Guest essay – Michal Meyer, “No Place for a Lady”
- Michal Meyer is a graduate student in the history of science at the University of Florida. She is writing her dissertation on Mary Somerville, focusing on the influences of empire and Romanticism on Somerville’s books aimed at a general audience. In a previous life she worked as a journalist in Israel and a meteorologist in New Zealand. You can contact her at michal AT hssonline DOT org.
Host essay – “Fun for the Whole Family”
For further reading:
- Pnina Abir-Am and Dorinda Outram, eds., Uneasy Careers and Intimate Lives: Women in Science 1789-1979 (Rutgers UP, 1987).
- Richard Lovell Edgeworth and Maria Edgeworth, Harry and Lucy; with Other Tales (Harper & Bros., 1842). The original edition of this book was published in 1801.
- Aileen Fyfe, “Reading Children’s Books in Late Eighteenth-Century Dissenting Families,” The Historical Journal 43 (2000): 453-473.
- Aileen Fyfe and Bernard Lightman, eds., Science in the Marketplace: Nineteenth-Century Sites and Experiences (University of Chicago Press, 2007).
- Judith Yaross Lee, “The Feminization of Technology: Mechanical Characters in Picture Books,” in Literature and Technology, ed. Mark L. Greenberg and Lance Schachterle, pp. 206-224 (Lehigh UP, 1992).
- Bernard Lightman, Victorian Popularizers of Science: Designing Nature for New Audiences (University of Chicago Press, 2007).
- Greg Myers, “Science for Women and Children: The Dialogue of Popular Science in the Nineteenth Century,” in Nature Transfigured: Science and Literature, 1700-1900, ed. John Christie and Sally Shuttleworth, pp. 171-200 (Manchester UP, 1989).
- Kathryn A. Neeley, Mary Somerville: Science, Illumination, and the Female Mind (Cambridge UP, 2001).
- James A. Secord, “Newton in the Nursery: Tom Telescope and the Philosophy of Tops and Balls, 1761-1838,” History of Science 23, no. 2 (1985): 127-151.
- Elizabeth Chambers Patterson, Mary Somerville and the Cultivation of Science, 1815-1840 (Martinus Nijhoff, 1983).
- Mary Fairfax Somerville, Personal Recollections, from Early Life to Old Age of Mary Somerville: With Selections from her Correspondence, ed. Martha Charters Somerville (Adamant Media Corporation, 2001).
- Ruth Watts, Women in Science: A Social and Cultural History (Routledge, 2007).
On the shelf:
- Noga Arikha, Passions and Tempers: A History of the Humours (Ecco, 2007).
- For further listening: In Our Time‘s 20 December 2007 episode on the four humors.
All music on this program courtesy of the Podsafe Music Network, except where noted.
- Sunburn in Cyprus, History (intro & outro)
- Happy Gemini 3, Pondering the 10th Planet (transitions)
- during first segment:
- after second segment: Boxed Octopus, Science Boy
- Sound effects courtesy of the FreeSound Project: