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Title page for ETD etd-04072017-155758

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Anthony, Patrick Richard
Author's Email Address patrick.anthony@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-04072017-155758
Title The Case for Non-Institutional Research Schools in the History of Science: Matthew Fontaine Maury as a Student in the School of Humboldt
Degree Master of Arts
Department History
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Alistair Sponsel Committee Chair
Celia Applegate Committee Member
David Blackbourn Committee Member
Laura Stark Committee Member
  • ocean science
  • American science
  • geography
  • oceanography
  • Humboldtian science
Date of Defense 2017-04-26
Availability unrestricted
Historians of science have shown the “research school” to be a fruitful unit of analysis, particularly in the case of chemists and physicists who cultivated loyal groups of acolytes at universities, colonizing fields of research thereby. Although scholars have argued that Alexander von Humboldt’s influence in science was so pervasive that he left behind neither school nor students, this essay suggests the American oceanographer Matthew Fontaine Maury was just that, his student. The correspondence between Maury and Humboldt exhibits all the characteristics of a research school: the charismatic appeal of the research school leader; the research reputation with which he opened doors for the student; and the institutional benefits gained by that student as a result. This essay thus makes the case for a non-institutional research school—“the school of Humboldt,” as one contemporary wrote—conducted primarily through letters. I examine the way in which Humboldt displaced an otherwise private correspondence by making public declarations of support for Maury at critical moments in his career; and I suggest that the vertical profile map served as a geographical technique passed from master to student.
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