Whewell’s Gazette: Vol. 1

Whewell’s Gazette

Your weekly digest of all the best of

Internet history of science, technology and medicine

Editor in Chief: The Ghost of William Whewell


Volume #1

Monday 23 June 2014


After six years the history of science blog carnival On The Shoulders of Giants ceased to exist, going out with style in a superb final edition put together by its founder Dr SkySkull. The reasons for this termination were explained in advance here. However it was obvious from the reception of each edition and the reaction to the news of its demise that quite a few people enjoyed having their Internet history of science, technology and medicine links served up in one big chunk, saving them, as it did, from having to daily check cyberspace for anything new in those fields. As the apparatus for collecting and collating those links was firmly established for Giants Shoulders it has been decided to offer them here in the form of a weekly Gazette under the general editorship of the Ghost of William Whewell, that great Victorian polymath, and historian and philosopher of science.

The format of our Gazette will almost certainly evolve with time and critique and feedback are welcome at all times. If you feel that are highly professional editorial team are consistently overseeing some excellent source of STEM history then please contact our chief sub-editor here. Items for inclusion in the Gazette can also be submitted to the same address or to the chief sub on Twitter. We hope that you, the readers, will enjoy our weekly digest of all the best in Internet STEM history and will continue to return to this well of historical knowledge on a regular basis.

Your Whewell’s Gazette Editorial Team




At The History Vault Felicity Henderson writes about Hooke, Newton and the ‘Missing’ Portrait

Jon Ptak has collected some Quantum Mechanics and Physics Timelines and James Clerk Maxwell’s Library 

History of Science Society: An Iconic Image Not so Newtonian After All by Liba Taub

Daily Breeze News: My Turn: Albert Einstein: Just a neighbour to this little girl

Halley’s Log: Halley’s maritime experience, part 1: Hally a Sayling


From the Hands of Quacks: On Sharing #histmed Images

The New York Academy of Medicine: A History of Blood Transfusion

Open Culture: The Famous Letter Where Freud Breaks His Relationship with Jung


Dittrick Museum Blog: Morbid Matter: Public Health and Public Opinion

Smithsonian.com: The Glory New York City Riot that Shaped American Medicine

Chirugeon’s Apprentice: Public Health & Victorian Cemetery Reform

Early Modern Medicine: Pregnancy and Prostitution

Social History of Science: Wombs, Worms and Wolves: Constructing Cancer in Early Modern England

The Public Domain Review: A Treatise on Adulteration of Food and Culinary Poisons (1820)

DNAinfo New York: ‘Elixir of Long Life’ Recreated from 1800s Bottle Unearthed on Bowery

Dr Alun Withey: ‘Worems in the teeth’: Toothache, dentistry and remedies in the early modern period

Jess Clark: Pimples, Corns, and Correspondence: Remedying Victorian Beauty Dilemma

“A very secure recipe for the cure of all kinds of tertian and quartan fevers”: Medicine and Malaria in Late-Colonial Lima


Letters from Gondwana offers The Late Quaternary Megafauna Extinction: The Human Factor

Yovisto: Barbara McClintock and Cytogenetics

TrowelBlazers: Maria Graham

Welcome Library: Francis Galton: a Victorian polymath

The H-Word: Public engagement with science, Victorian style


Fiction Reboot: Daily Dose On The Invention of Writing

Bletchley Park: No longer the world’s best kept secret

Letters of Note: To a Top Scientist: A schoolboy designs a rocket

Messynessy: The Forgotten Firsts: 10 Vintage Versions of Modern Technology


At least get the facts right says Darin Hayton

Inside the Science Museum: Copenhagen: at the nexus of drama, science and history Interview with Michael Frayn

Imperial College London: Imperial scientists share their life stories in oral history project

Salon: “Why is God telling me to stop asking questions?” : Meet the woman behind Neil deGasse Tyson’s “Cosmos”

On Finding the Grave of Descartes’ Lover, Helena Jans:

Scientific Instrument Makers in the Netherlands: Directory


Forbidden Histories: William James on Exceptional Mental States


23rd June is Women in Engineering day! Stay tuned for our participation. Folllow ‪@WES1919‪@thewisecampaign for more!

Adventures With Technology: A Call for Pitches Historians may also apply!

Radical a history of medicine play in Toronto

One day symposium: White Heat: art, science and social responsibility in 1960s Britain

Freud Museum London: 20 Years of Archive Fever

New Book: Ships, Clocks & Stars: The Quest for Longitude Rebekah Higgitt and Richard Dunn

Registration open for New Directions in Early Modern British History Conference Hull

5-7 September 2014

From Egypt to Manchester: Unravelling the John Rylands Papyrus Collection Manchester 4-6 September 2014

Robert Hooke’s Diary added to UNESCO Memory of the World Register

University of Manchester: Book prize launched to honour world renowned historian of science and medicine

Rebekah Higgitt on Longitude in BBC History Magazine

The 3rd Annual Robert Boyle Summer School: Full programme

British Society for the History of Mathematics: Non-Western Mathematics Day Oxford 27 June 2014

John Thelwell Society: John Thelwall at 250: Medicine, Literature, and Reform in London, ca. 1764-1834 Notre Dame University July 24-27


New Scientist: The war on pain and why we can’t win it

Brain Pickings: Leonardo da Vinci’s Life and Legacy, in a Vintage Pop-Up Book

The Economist: Magician’s Brain: The Newton Papers: The Strange and True Odyssey of Isaac Newton’s Manuscripts by Sarah Dry

Times Higher Education: Notebooks, English Virtuosi, and Early Modern Science, by Richard Yeo


History Of Science at Work Another Jobs Roundup

Department of the History of Science at Harvard University: Tenure track assistant professor in the history of technology sought

That’s all for this week. Come back next Monday for another seven days of Internet history of science, technology and medicine.






Whewell’s Gazette


Your weekly digest of all the best of

Internet history of science, technology and medicine

Editor in Chief: The Ghost of William Whewell

Volume #1                                   Monday 23 June 2014


Appearing weekly on Whewell’s Ghost

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A Concise History of Geological Maps: From Outcrop to the first Map

March 23, 1769 marks the birthday of pioneering stratigrapher William Smith, who is also credited with creating the first useful geological map, however like many other great accomplishments also Smith’s idea of depicting the distribution of rocks on a topographic map didn’t materialize out of nowhere.

Posted in Geology, History | Leave a comment

When Rock Classification was hard…

KRIEHUBER_1832_Friedrich_MohsTalc – Gypsum – Calcite – Fluorite – Apatite – Feldspar – Quartz – Topaz – Corundum – Diamond –  “Mohs Scale of Mineral Hardness ” should be familiar to rock-hounds and earth-science students alike [...]

Posted in General Science, Geology | Leave a comment

A.R. Wallace on Geology, Great Glaciers and the Speed of Evolution

When Charles Darwin published “The Origin of Species” in November 1859 geologists were still discussing the age of the earth. Deep time was an essential prerequisite to explain the recent biodiversity by gradual and slow changes in the remote past.  However the calculations and criticism by physicists of the reconstructed geological age posed a great problem to evolutionists like Darwin and Wallace. Darwin didn’t address this problem in public, but he was convinced that the thickness of the stratigraphical column could only be explained by an ancient earth and the calculations of the physicists were based on wrong assumptions.

A.R. Wallace was also interested in geological time and , much more open-minded to radical new ideas and not afraid to discuss them in public, choose an interesting solution for this problem.

Posted in Biology, Biology, Exploration, Geology, Science | Leave a comment

Newton’s Philosopher’s Stone

the magisterium“the magisterium, our great work, the stone
The Alchemist” Act 1. Scene 4

Today we remember Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) for his contributions to optics, mechanics and astronomy, but as a typical scholar of his time he was also interested in more obscure knowledge, like provided by alchemy. Dedicating himself to this predecessor of chemistry Newton became also involved in early geological research…

Posted in Chemistry, Geology, Metaphysics | 2 Comments

Granite Wars – Episode II

Inside the globe [there] exist mysterious forces, whose effects become apparent on the surface. Eruptions of vapors, glowing lava and new volcanic rocks…[]”
Alexander von Humboldt

At the end of the 19th century and after the victory of “Plutonism” in the great Granite War, geologists accepted the idea that igneous rocks originate from deep inside earth. However the great variability of volcanic and plutonic rocks, from dark basalt to light-colored granite, was difficult to explain, as Earth´s interior was assumed to be relatively uniform.

The “evolutionary tree” of igneous rocks (1954).

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