- Start date: 1 October 2022
- End date: 31 January 2026
- Funder: Leverhulme Trust
- Primary investigator: Professor Jon Topham
- Co-investigators: Franziska Kohlt (postdoctoral research fellow)
- External co-investigators: James Secord, University of Cambridge (project advisor),
In Victorian Britain the sciences were regarded as key to national prosperity, harmony, and progress, but where did that characteristically modern vision of science come from?
This project examines the question afresh and provides a ground-breaking perspective, arguing that it emerged out of the new possibilities for public communication that resulted from the industrialization of book production.
In particular, it focuses on an epoch-making programme of cheap publishing that placed the sciences at the heart of a progressive and democratizing industrial society, exploring how the underlying vision of authoritative, useful, and secular knowledge transformed both the sciences and British society.