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The Penultimate CuriosityHow Science Swims in the Slipstream of Ultimate Questions$
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Roger Wagner and Andrew Briggs

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198747956

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198747956.001.0001

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Science in a Time of Cholera

Science in a Time of Cholera

(p.365) Chapter Forty-Five Science in a Time of Cholera
The Penultimate Curiosity

Roger Wagner

Andrew Briggs

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes the Oxford cholera epidemic in the summer of 1854 and the role of Henry Acland. When he took up the post of anatomy lecturer in 1845, Acland found that the university’s science studies were almost extinct and sought to remedy the situation by proposing the building of a fully equipped centre exclusively devoted to the sciences. His proposal, however, fell on deaf ears. Undaunted he wrote ‘hundreds and thousands of letters’, and in 1849 a new proposal was launched. Opinion in the university was sharply divided; the crucial vote for the new scheme was due to be taken on 11 December 1854. By then Acland had been appointed as consulting physician to the Board of Health and found himself in charge of the city’s attempts to combat the cholera outbreak. In the end, the vote was 68 to 64 in favour of building the Oxford Museum.

Keywords:   Oxford, cholera, epidemic, Henry Acland, science

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