Book ID: CBB216467015

Helmholtz: A Life in Science (2018)


Cahan, David L. (Author)

University of Chicago Press

Publication Date: 2018
Physical Details: 944 pages
Language: English

Hermann von Helmholtz was a towering figure of nineteenth-century scientific and intellectual life. Best known for his achievements in physiology and physics, he also contributed to other disciplines such as ophthalmology, psychology, mathematics, chemical thermodynamics, and meteorology. With Helmholtz: A Life in Science, David Cahan has written a definitive biography, one that brings to light the dynamic relationship between Helmholtz’s private life, his professional pursuits, and the larger world in which he lived. ​ Utilizing all of Helmholtz’s scientific and philosophical writings, as well as previously unknown letters, this book reveals the forces that drove his life—a passion to unite the sciences, vigilant attention to the sources and methods of knowledge, and a deep appreciation of the ways in which the arts and sciences could benefit each other. By placing the overall structure and development of his scientific work and philosophy within the greater context of nineteenth-century Germany, Helmholtz also serves as cultural biography of the construction of the scientific community: its laboratories, institutes, journals, disciplinary organizations, and national and international meetings. Helmholtz’s life is a shining example of what can happen when the sciences and the humanities become interwoven in the life of one highly motivated, energetic, and gifted person.

Reviewed By

Review Lydia Patton (2020) Review of "Helmholtz: A Life in Science". Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences (pp. 56-57). unapi

Review Helge Kragh (2019) Review of "Helmholtz: A Life in Science". Metascience: An International Review Journal for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science (pp. 491-493). unapi

Essay Review Mitchell G. Ash (2020) David Cahan’s Helmholtz: History of Science in European History. Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences (pp. 840-844). unapi

Essay Review Ursula Klein (2020) Science, Industry, and the German Bildungsbürgertum. Annals of Science: The History of Science and Technology (pp. 366-376). unapi

Review Colin Hempstead (2019) Review of "Helmholtz: A Life in Science". British Journal for the History of Science (pp. 372-373). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Cahan, David L.
Meulders, Michel
Stephen W. Link
Martin Schneider
Peters, J.
Wegener, Daan
Annals of Science: The History of Science and Technology
Social Research
Physics in Perspective
Osiris: A Research Journal Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Naturwissenschaftliche Rundschau
Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
University of California, Los Angeles
Thoemmes Press
Sentinel Open Press
Odile Jacob
Philosophy of science
Helmholtz, Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand von
Fechner, Gustav Theodor
Stumpf, Carl
Mach, Ernst
Du Bois-Reymond, Emil Heinrich
Wundt, Wilhelm Max
Time Periods
19th century
20th century, early
20th century
United States

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