A Geohistorical Study of 'The Rise of Modern Science': Mapping Scientific Practice Through Urban Networks, 1500–1900 [Book Review]

Minerva 46 (4):391-410 (2008)

Using data on the ‘career’ paths of one thousand ‘leading scientists’ from 1450 to 1900, what is conventionally called the ‘rise of modern science’ is mapped as a changing geography of scientific practice in urban networks. Four distinctive networks of scientific practice are identified. A primate network centred on Padua and central and northern Italy in the sixteenth century expands across the Alps to become a polycentric network in the seventeenth century, which in turn dissipates into a weak polycentric network in the eighteenth century. The nineteenth century marks a huge change of scale as a primate network centred on Berlin and dominated by German-speaking universities. These geographies are interpreted as core-producing processes in Wallerstein’s modern world-system; the rise of modern scientific practice is central to the development of structures of knowledge that relate to, but do not mirror, material changes in the system
Keywords Modern science  Space of flows  Scientists  Scientific centres  Scientific practice  Urban  Networks
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DOI 10.1007/s11024-008-9109-8
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