Article ID: CBB571178798

Measuring and Manipulating the Rhine River Branches: Interactions of Theory and Embodied Understanding in Eighteenth Century River Hydraulics (2023)


Eighteenth century river hydraulics used both theory and measurement to address problems of flood safety, navigation and defense related to the rivers. In the late eighteenth century the Dutch overseer of the rivers, Christiaan Brunings, integrated hydraulic theory and meteorological practices, which enabled him to design a unique instrument for measuring river flow. The question is whether the unprecedented detail of measurements fits the putative empirical stance in the eighteenth century. The interactions between theory, instrument, measurement, and other knowledge practices are here assessed using experiences in similar measurement practices. I argue that Brunings had theoretical and embodied understanding of hydrodynamics, as he knew how to design an instrument for flow measurement of sufficient accuracy for his purpose in the sociopolitical context of river management.

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Authors & Contributors
Lugaresi, Maria Giulia
Maffioli, Cesare S.
Brandstetter, Thomas
Epple, Moritz
Luzzini, Francesco
Pepe, Luigi
Bollettino di Storia delle Scienze Matematiche
Arabic Sciences and Philosophy
British Journal for the History of Science
Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation
Galilæana: Journal of Galilean Studies
Notes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science
Birkhäuser Basel
Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura
Antiche Porte
Presses des Mines - Transvalor
Hydraulic engineering
Bélidor, Bernard Forest de
Boscovich, Ruggiero Giuseppe
Desaguliers, John Theophilus
Galilei, Galileo
Mariotte, Edme
Newton, Isaac
Time Periods
18th century
17th century
19th century
Early modern
16th century
20th century, early
Tuscany (Italy)

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