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Visual Cultures in Science and TechnologyA Comparative History$
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Klaus Hentschel

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198717874

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198717874.001.0001

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Pioneers of visual science cultures

Pioneers of visual science cultures

4 Pioneers of visual science cultures
Visual Cultures in Science and Technology

Hentschel Klaus

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers what it is that makes certain individuals become founders of remarkably visual subdisciplines or fields of science, and whether there is anything that these pioneers of visual cultures have in common, besides being highly creative, motivated and perhaps also a bit lucky at having been at the right place at the right time. First, it discusses a few exemplary visual pioneers in science and technology: the Jesuit astronomer Christoph Scheiner (1573–1650), the polymath Johann Heinrich Lambert (1728–77), the physician, physicist and natural philosopher Thomas Young (1773–1829), and the engineer and industrialist James Nasmyth (1808–90). Differences and a surprising number of similarities between these cases are traced, and then section 4.2 reflects on the sense and nonsense of such bifurcations as iconophile versus iconophobe and logocentric versus iconocentric.

Keywords:   founders, visual disciplines, Christoph Scheiner, Johann Lambert, Thomas Young, James Nasmyth, astronomy, telescopy, color theory, perspectival theory, wave theory of light, elasticity theory, hieroglyphs, steam hammer, painting

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