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Rare Geoscience Book: Lithographed Signatures...Members... British Association for the Advancement of Science...Cambridge, June 1833.

$250.00

Rare Geoscience Book: Lithographed Signatures...Members... British Association for the Advancement of Science...Cambridge, June 1833.

$250.00
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Book 546-C
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Lithographed Signatures of the Members of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Who Met at Cambridge, June M.DCCC.XXXIII. With a Report of the Proceedings at the Public Meetings During the Week; and an Alphabetical List of the Members. Cambridge, printed at the Pitt Press, by John Smith, printer to the University, 1833. Quarto, (275 x 220 mm), pp. iv, 61 leaves of signatures printed on rectos only; pp. 63-125.

The work is complete and in a contemporary calf and marbled boards, spine is later leather with original gilt label preserved. Binding is tight, boards scuffed, text is clean, small burn hole on title page repaired, owners book plate on paste down, original owners penned signature and 1835 date in title page. In very good condition.

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The British Association for the Advancement of Science was founded in York on the 27th of September 1831. The founding of the British Association resulted from the dissatisfaction with the position of science and the treatment of scientists in Great Britain in the early nineteenth century. ?Although Britain was successful in the Peninsular War, culminating in 1815 with the defeat of Napoleon, the war had left the country in a state of near fiscal and economic ruin with high inflation, high unemployment and a feeling that the Parliamentary system did not represent the majority of the citizens.  The Patent Law hampered scientists by exacting an oppressive tax from inventors. The post-war period saw England lagging behind other European countries and the economic climate and ethos were not conducive to science. Charles Babbage had attended the Berlin meeting of the Deutsche Naturforscher Versammlung in 1828 and saw first hand the vibrant state of science in other European countries. In 1830 he published his  “Reflections on the Decline of Science in England”. The continued crisis in England was to lead to the Reform Bill of 1832 and it was to address this atmosphere of decline that the British Association was founded in 1831. The primary influence came from the scientist David Brewster, Editor of the Edinburgh Journal of Science.
From the start the the British Association meetings and membership attracted the country’s leading scientists, and for many years were the forum at which major advances were announced. For example, Joule’s experiments on the mechanical equivalent of heat in the 1840s, Bessemer’s steel process (1856), the discovery of the first of the inert gases, argon, by Rayleigh and Ramsay (1894), the first public demonstration of wireless transmission over a few hundred yards by Sir Oliver Lodge (1894), and J. J. Thomson’s discovery of the electron (1899). T. H. Huxley attended the Oxford meeting in 1860 in support of an ill Charles Darwin who could not attend and debated Darwinism and Darwin’s “Origin of Species” published in 1859.
By the time of the third, Cambridge, meeting in 1833, the society foundation was firmly in place and the meetings had attracted much support within the scientific community but had also attracted some ridicule from outside the scientific community. For example, J. G. Lockhart, editor of the Quarterly Review, incidentally the journal in which Brewster first reviewed Babbage's book wrote to Murchison before the inaugural meeting - 'I presume you are going to the colt-show at York. Don't make a fool of yourself among these twaddlers.'. Even Charles Dickens ridiculed the early meetings in a series of articles for Bentley's Miscellany during 1837-1839, later collected as the Mudfog Papers - in these he described the meetings of the “Mudfog Association for the Advancement of Everything”, attended by Professors Snore, Doze and Wheezy. This reminds one of some of today’s criticisms of science by uninformed members of the media.?Signatures found in the meeting for 1833 include: G. B. Airy, Charles Babbage, C. Babington, Henry Brooke, William Buckland, Charles, Daubeny, Arnand Dufrenoy, Michael Faraday, George B. Greenough, W. R. Hamilton, John Herschel, Roderick Murchison, Henry D. Rogers, Adam Sedgwick,  There are well over 800 signatures of members who attended the meeting.

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