Article ID: CBB001251327

“God is groot en wij begrijpen Hem niet”: Kaisers populaire sterrenkunde en het einde van de fysiko-theologie (2011)


Lunteren, Frans van (Author)

Studium: Tijdschrift voor Wetenschaps- en Universiteitgeschiedenis
Volume: 4, no. 2
Issue: 2
Pages: 85-104

Publication Date: 2011
Edition Details: Part of a special issue on Frederik Kaiser and the Leiden Observatory.

Throughout his remarkable career the Leiden astronomer Frederik Kaiser (1808-1872) struggled to revive Dutch astronomy, which at the time was rather moribund. His efforts comprised mobilizing public support through popularization. In spite of a lack of illustrations, his popular Starry Sky (1844) proved immensely successful with the general public. This work differed in many respects from earlier Dutch popular writings, and helped to establish the new genre of popular science. Kaiser enunciated his idiosyncratic views on popularization in a lecture which he later published as a brochure. Whereas his research reflects the shift from the dilettante to the professional scientist in being focussed on precision measurement, his popular work likewise testified to the transition from natural philosophy to modern science. Charged with the task of composing a natural theological work on astronomy, the deeply religious Kaiser, wriggled his way through the text. Feeling unable to advance the usual arguments, he finally found refuge in the book of Job: 'Behold, God is great and we know him not'. Arguably, the rise of popular science and the decline of natural theology were intimately connected.

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Article Zuidervaart, Huib (2011) Frederik Kaiser (1808--1872), een gekweld man met een missie. Studium: Tijdschrift voor Wetenschaps- en Universiteitgeschiedenis (pp. 62-84). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Homburg, Ernst
Dekker, Elly
Yeo, Richard R.
Pfitzner, Elvira
Venkateswaran, T. V.
Lightman, Bernard V.
Studium: Tijdschrift voor Wetenschaps- en Universiteitgeschiedenis
Indian Journal of History of Science
Actes d’Història de la Ciència i de la Tècnica
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Primavera Pers
Natural theology
Science and religion
Popular culture
Natural history
Kaiser, Frederik
Scheithauer, Christian Friedrich
Butler, Samuel
Eeden, Frederik van
Clausius, Rudolf Julius Emmanuel
Ortt, Felix
Time Periods
19th century
17th century
20th century, early
Early modern
18th century
20th century
Leiden (Netherlands)
Great Britain
Tamil Nadu (India)
Leiden Observatory
Universiteit Leiden

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