Between the French Revolution in 1789 and the ‘Chemists’ War’ (1914-18) science became culturally and economically crucial: it seemed pervasive but difficult. David Knight explores how science was disseminated in this period, moving from a time in the late eighteenth century when science was not widely regarded as a necessary tool for investigating the world to the start of the twentieth century when it was crucial.
Asking questions, such as: did scientists have an easily-learned method? Or could the interesting parts of science be communicated in sermons, poems, pictures, lectures, museums, travel books, or journalism? Who was best at communicating it: scientists, popularisers or critics? David Knight examines the history of science to reveal that the successes and failures of our ancestors can help us understand the position science comes to occupy now.