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The Ascent of John Tyndall


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Table of Contents

A note on words Introduction 1: Irish Beginnings (c. 1822-1844) 2: Railway Mania (1844-1847) 3: Queenwood College (1847-1848) 4: Marburg (1848-1850) 5: Making a Name (1850-1853) 6: Clash of Theories (1854-1856) 7: Glacial Explorations (1856-1857) 8: Storms over Glaciers (1858-1860) 9: Radiant Heat (1859-1862) 10: Heated Exchanges (1862-1865) 11: The X-Club (1864-1866) 12: Eyre Affair and Death of Faraday (1866-1868) 13: Prayer, Miracles, Metaphysics, and Spirits (1865-1880) 14: Mountaineering in the 1860s (1860-1868) 15: Clouds of Imagination (1868-1870) 16: Dust and Disease (1870-1872) 17: Government Service and Education (1871-1892) 18: America (1872-1873) 19: Fogs and Glaciers (1873) 20: The Belfast Address (1873-1875) 21: Floating Matter of the Air (1875-1876) 22: Contamination (1876-1878) 23: Electric lights and Mining Accidents (1879-1886) 24: Hindhead (1880-1883) 25: Rainbows and Lighthouses (1883-1885) 26: The Final Years (1886-1893) Epilogue Notes Bibliography

About the Author

Roland Jackson is a historian of science, with interests also in contemporary science and innovation policy, and in bioethics. His recent posts include: Head of the Science Museum, London; Chief Executive of the British Science Association; and Executive Chair of Sciencewise. He is a General Editor of The Correspondence of John Tyndall, being published in 19 volumes by the University of Pittsburgh Press.


Mr. Jackson amasses a wealth of detail to give a fuller picture of this extraordinary man... [He] has done a great service in his detailed and careful presentation of John Tyndall's life at a time when science is under attack, neglected and misunderstood, especially by those in government. * Peter Pesic, Wall Street Journal *
It was not until 1945, more than half a century after his death, that a semi-authorised biography of Tyndall was published. Now Jackson has authoritatively redressed this injustice. * Jules Stewart, Geographical *
This story reveals much about Tyndall ... [this biography] is immensely long and devotedly successful at unearthing the facts of Tyndall's life... * Jonathan Parry, London Review of Books *
Roland Jackson has done a thorough job... it is certainly the best biography of Tyndall. * John Gribbin, Literary Review *
Splendid monument of a biography. * Barbara Kiser, Nature *
One of the most important mountaineering biographies to have been published in recent years... Roland Jackson's biography of John Tyndall is not only a tour de force of scholarship, its also an eminently readable book... It's a magnificent piece of work and a must-read for every scholar of Alpine history. * Alex Roddie, The Great Outdoors *
Excellent biography... The Ascent of John Tyndall is a long-overdue, magnificent tribute to an important, but largely under-appreciated scientist. Highly recommended. * Richard Carter, Friends of Darwin *
Roland Jackson paints a picture of an individual at the heart of Victorian science and society. * Playing Pasts *
Jackson's book is as comprehensive as it is overdue ... Jackson at once recounts the important events of Tyndall's life and uses Tyndall himself to build a richly textured picture of the social and scientific world in which he lived. The book favours a rigorous attention to detail ... Jackson's impressive facility with the scientific and political contexts of Tyndall's late-nineteenth-century world enables him to weave together a series of themes that define both the man and the period, providing a useful and comprehensive launching pad for a wide variety of forays in to the social and scientific worlds of Victorian England. * Joshue Howe, Annals of Science *

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