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George Howard Darwin and the "public" interpretation of The Tides.

  • Rose, Edwin D
Publication Date
Feb 29, 2024
Apollo - University of Cambridge Repository
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Peer reviewed: True / Processes of adapting complex information for broad audiences became a pressing concern by the turn of the twentieth century. Channels of communication ranged from public lectures to printed books designed to serve a social class eager for self-improvement. Through analyzing a course of public lectures given by George Howard Darwin (1845-1912) for the Lowell Institute in Boston and the monograph he based on these, The Tides and Kindred Phenomena of the Solar System (1898), this article connects the important practices of public lecturing and book production-two aspects of knowledge dissemination that tend to be studied as separate entities. Darwin, Plumian Professor of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge and son of the famous naturalist, relied on a diverse material culture when lecturing and producing a book. Giving a new account of Darwin's scientific work through exploring his adaption of it for broader audiences, this article connects the diverse material culture Darwin employed in talks to the practice of producing a published book. The content of objects demonstrated and the lantern slides projected during Darwin's lectures evolved to form a book designed to engage broad sectors of society in Europe and the United States. Darwin's lectures were attended at full capacity, while The Tides was soon printed in numerous English editions and translated into German, Italian, Hungarian, and Spanish.

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