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Crosland M. Science under Control: The French Academy of Sciences 1795-1914

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Crosland M. Science under Control: The French Academy of Sciences 1795-1914
Cambridge University Press, 1992. — 454 p.
The greatest ambition of any moderately successful nineteenth-century French scientist was to become a member of the Academy of Sciences. Science under Control is the first major study, in any language, of this elite institution, in a period which began with such influential figures as Laplace and Cuvier and extends to the time of Louis Pasteur and Henri Poincare. The book attempts to remove the veil of mystery and misunderstanding which has shrouded this key institution and its procedures. The French government exercised political, financial and bureaucratic control over the Academy and the Academy in turn sat in judgement over all serious scientific production. Only with its approval could the work of French scientists win acceptance and their careers advance. This book examines the politics of science in a historical context drawing on a wealth of original archival and published sources.
The author argues that the Academy was of importance not only nationally but also internationally because of its influence and because of the establishment of certain procedures now considered basic to the organisation of modern science. The book therefore provides a case study of carefully regulated scientific production encouraged yet constrained within a system of reports, prizes and elections. The book will prove to be an invaluable source of information and of discussion on the social, political, religious and cultural dimensions of science in this crucial period.
Contents:
Science in France.
The structure of the Academy.
The functioning of the Academy: some possible roles.
Science divided: the sections.
The Academicians.
Elections: 'green fever'.
Registration, judgement and reward.
The printed word.
The Academy under Government control.
Outsiders: the scientific fringe and the public.
The international context.
The control of the Academy of Science.
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