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York University
Natural Science
NATS 1760
Edward Jones- Imhotep

The Values of Precision • Introduction to standards as a topic of historical investigations Metrology: the science of measurement – takes work to establish standards to measure – creation of standards is political and social – 19 century interested in long distance communications • British Transatlantic Cable: The Science and Technology of Empire – cables that travel across the world for communication – telegraph cables become a source of attack because people realize that if britain controls their empire through this way, you can attack them by breaking them – telegraphs are critical for controllingAsia and NorthAmerica • The history of the transatlantic cable of 1857. – lay cable across the atlantic to link britain to north america – within a few months it fails – because of the political importance of the cable it ends up being political failure and potential for danger – union of science, engineering, politics, and social science • William Thomson, precision measurements, and the integrity of British telegraphy. – later known as lord kelvin – kelvin- absolute temperature scale – born in Ireland – father is professor of mathematics – practical aspects of natural philosophy are critical – becomes interested in study of heat and how it relates to practical problems of machines – one of founders of thermodynamics – realizes the cable fails because its electrical resistance isn't the same throughout the entire cable – electrical resistance varies too much, causing breakdown in the wire causing it to fail – says you need a more precise way of measuring electrical resistance – British go along with this – 90 years later they lay a new cable and it works well – he proposes a different way of measuring precision using OHMS OHMS-the way you measure precision- define by a column of mercury, the size and height – British think this is insulting because they hate idea that their electrical system will be delegated by a German united, so they set out a different way of measuring- get away from the idea that you use mercury to measure resistance – they measure current through the coil – British present this as a much more natural way of what resistance is – pitch their ohms as more natural than the German Cavendish Laboratory – where the structure of DNAgets discovered – experimental laboratory in physics – created by james clerk maxwell – comes up with maxwells equations-which describe how light end up travelling – Scottish by birth, father is lawyer, mother dies when he is young – 1871- new lab the cavendish – inside the cavendish are all kinds of experiments linked to british industry and economy – investigates questions related to British industry goes against the University in Cambridge – Maxwell- by measuring things precisely you are investigating the things god created – work is inquiry of the creation of nature and the universe – lab becomes one of most famous institutions at Cambridge – maxwell begins imposing ideas of morality – idea of diligent, handwork, moral work that goes into the measurement of these objects – work that he does are destined to benefit industry and the empire • Making Standards Travel • The question of how laboratory results move into the wider world. • Three technologies that help achieve this: • Material technologies - physical apparatus- the omhs in a box • Literary technologies - written materials and manuals describing how they work • Social technologies - same people to go physically to do measurements • need to set up same kinds of work schedules and routines to get the same measurements • getting standards to travel always takes more than we think, takes social organizations, written • The great disappearing act: recapturing the history of standards. Darwinism, Evolution and Society Background to Darwinism • Ideas about Species and Taxonomy – attempt to try to explain change in natural organisms – change wasn't always attributed to the animal world – belief for a long time in fixity of species- species don't change over time and they have never changed, the species that exist now are the only species that were created – idea of things going extinct conflicts with religious views – idea of a benevolent god- if you have this god, why would he create creatures only to have them extinguished – explanation for this- god has nothing to do with the creation of animals • Georges Cuvier - entrenchments – earth had once been inhabited by species and then the earth wiped them out • Jean Baptiste Lamarck - theory of acquired characteristics – famous french naturalist – believes in fixity of species – animals don't change over time – 1800 abandons this belief in favor of theory of evolution – 2 important ideas – spontaneous generation: life can come from nothing, it can come from non life- electricity is crucial – believes that life initially created through spontaneous generation- not through god – after life is created you have process of evolution – theory of evolution- not darwins evolution- you have gradual modification after spontaneous generation- mechanism of modification- theory of acquired characteristics – theory of acquired characteristics:animals adapt in small changes so they are better
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