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By Denise Phillips

Although the various useful and highbrow traditions that make up smooth technological know-how date again centuries, the class of “science” itself is a relative novelty. within the early eighteenth century, the fashionable German observe that might later suggest “science,” naturwissenschaft, was once no longer even integrated in dictionaries. by way of 1850, even though, the time period used to be in use in all places. Acolytes of Nature follows the emergence of this crucial new classification inside of German-speaking Europe, tracing its upward thrust from a mere eighteenth-century neologism to a defining rallying cry of recent German culture.

Today’s suggestion of a unified normal technology has been deemed an invention of the mid-nineteenth century. but what Denise Phillips unearths here's that the belief of naturwissenschaft acquired a well known position in German public existence a number of a long time past. Phillips uncovers the evolving outlines of the class of typical technological know-how and examines why Germans of various social station and highbrow commitments got here to discover this label helpful. An increasing schooling process, an more and more vivid client tradition and concrete social lifestyles, the early phases of industrialization, and the emergence of a liberal political flow all essentially altered the area during which trained Germans lived, and likewise reshaped the way in which they labeled knowledge.

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In another publication, he noted that the successes of applied mathematics (by which he meant things like Newton’s mechanics) had led some of his predecessors to treat mathematics and natural philosophy as if they were one and the same thing. Karsten considered this approach outdated. Advances in chemistry and natural history, he thought, made a solely mathematical natural philosophy untenable. Furthermore, applied mathematics, though valuable, was a field that not all students of nature needed to master.

83 Science and nation building were indeed sometimes linked, but the former category was not the projection of the latter. The ways in which the following story is a “national” one are more complicated than that, and they have to do with a shared set of conditions that pertained within German-speaking Central Europe, not a conscious common effort to forge a unified nation through the 23 INTRODUCTION creation of a unified science. It was the complex interplay among cosmopolitan, national, and other regional loyalties that gave the German context its particular cast.

89 Though less commercially powerful than its neighbor Leipzig, the Saxon capital was 24 INTRODUCTION also home to a number of thriving economic enterprises. Widely recognized as an important artistic center, the Saxon court city had an active literary and philosophical life, one that included both polite salons run by aristocratic women and less well-heeled circles of radicalizing young liberal men. From the early nineteenth century forward, Dresden also had a well-regarded medical academy and technical school.

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