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British University Observatories 1772-1939


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Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Introduction; Making niches, founding the observatories; Academic astronomers in the age of the 'grand amateurs', 1820-1881; Working the university observatories, 1820-1881; 'Encumbered with lectures': developing research and providing for graduates, 1820-1939; University observatories and the opportunities in astrophysics, c.1880-1939; Problems of proximity: Oxford's observatories, 1901-1930; British university observatories and the wider world, 1919-1939; Concluding thoughts on how astronomical knowledge advances; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Roger Hutchins, FRAS, as a member of Magdalen College received his B.A. in Modern History from the University of Oxford in 1992, and his D.Phil. in 1999. He was also a Research Associate with and contributor to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.


'The development of research and teaching astronomy in British Universities hinged on the foundation, equipping, and staffing of observatories. This book provides the first detailed study of these institutions across a century and a half. (It) is both a social and a scientific history... a major contribution to our knowledge of the development of scientific institutions in Great Britain... It is a masterpiece of rigorous scholarship, and its style and lack of jargon will make it accessible to a wide range of readers.' Allan Chapman, Wadham College, Oxford, UK 'An encyclopaedic work... it includes material which is extremely difficult to find anywhere else and subjects it to a penetrating analysis... an invaluable resource.' Derek Jones, Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge, UK 'This book is a primary source for the history of these observatories. The account of the Neptune incident is splendid; it is historical, and avoids the polemic that has muddled the subject.' David Dewhirst, Cambridge Observatories, UK 'This book lays down a new baseline in the field, much as Allan Chapman's The Victorian Amateur Astronomer did.' Peter Hingley, Librarian, Royal Astronomical Society 'This encyclopedic work based on extensive scholarship is accessible to the general reader and will be valuable for historians of science... Highly recommended.' Choice '... a masterly piece of work... an absorbing read, dealing not just with astronomy but also with the politics and finance of the science, the social place of the professional astronomer, and his, and occasionally her, relation to the changing amateur establishment. It is hard to see how anyone in the forseeable future will supersede British University Observatories for it is authoritative, well illustrated and readable.' Astronomy Now 'The book is thoroughly researched and plentiful in detail, reflecting extensive background work with a range of primary sources. The abundance of factual information might discourage reader

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