A Distant Authority: Ferdinand (von) Mueller, the Communication of Ideas, and the Colonial Search for International Standing in Science

Thursday, October 01, 2015 at 06:00 PM


State Library of Victoria
328 Swanston St
Melbourne, Victoria 3000
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Silvie Luscombe

Presenter: Professor R. W. Home AM, FAHA, Emeritus Professor of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Melbourne.

How do ideas travel in science? What is involved in ideas generated by an individual, especially one working on the scientific periphery, becoming accepted internationally as part of the main corpus of science? In other words, how does one acquire the standing necessary for one’s work to be taken up by others? In this lecture I shall address questions like these by considering the experience of the young German botanist Ferdinand Mueller (1825-1896) in relation to his investigations of the Australian flora in the middle decades of the nineteenth century.

Monash University announces the Louis Green Lecture for 2015. This annual lecture is on intellectual and social history, in honour of the late Professor Louis Green, endowed by Professor Wallace Kirsop.

The lecture is organised by the School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies and the School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics at Monash University.

Professor Home is a distinguished historian of science who has written both on the Enlightenment and on nineteenth- and twentieth-century Australia.  He has edited part of the correspondence of Ferdinand (von) Mueller, government botanist of the colony of Victoria and subsequently director of the Melbourne Botanical Gardens.

Admission is free; booking is essential. 

Please click here to RSVP.

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