Joseph Banks

Joseph Banks (1743-1820) became a giant in the growing world of British natural history following his voyage with James Cook aboard the HMS Endeavour from 1768 to 1771, though he himself published almost nothing.  He was the informal director of the new botanical gardens at Kew from 1773, and was a powerful president of the Royal Society, serving from 1778 until his death.  The modern historiography of Banks and his milieu was initiated in the 1980s and ’90s, and has become a minor industry in the last fifteen years.  If you are unfamiliar with him, head to Ether Wave Propaganda for a quick primer.

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About Will Thomas

Will Thomas is a junior research fellow at the Centre for the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine at Imperial College London. He is originally from Minnesota, and received his PhD in the History of Science from Harvard University in 2007. From 2007 to 2010 he was a post-doctoral historian at the Center for History of Physics at the American Institute of Physics near Washington, DC. There he developed the Array of Contemporary American Physicists resource. His primary interests are in 20th-century America and Britain, and in the histories of physics and the sciences of policy analysis. He maintains the blog Ether Wave Propaganda, usually posting about the problems of maintaining a constructive historiography, and about argumentative systems in all eras.
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