Mapping mathematical practice in early modern London – sources, contexts, and digital tools
14.11.2022 | 14.11.2022
Dr. Barbara Bienias, L. & A. Birkenmajer Institute for the History of Science, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw
Over the years, historians of science have emphasised mapping the scientific communities in the early modern period – both geographically and intellectually. The research of E.G.R. Taylor and Christopher Hill was groundbreaking in the 1950s and 1960s in terms of locating mathematical practitioners in early modern London and hinting that the scientific progress that we usually associate with the emergence of the Royal Society in England would not have been possible without the buzzing communities of ordinary Londoners. This ‘approach from below’ was readily taken up by social historians of science, such as Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer, first in the 1980s and has continued in the works of Pamela O. Long or Deborah Harkness, showing the impact the location had on the practice and collaboration but also on scientific claims themselves. Naturally, the state of the field has changed, and some new information can be added to previous research. In my talk, I will focus on the new ways of presenting the data using digital tools, with particular emphasis on the envisioned contribution to the Map of Early Modern London project (https://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/), the sources which might be used for locating mathematical practitioners in London (especially relating to the so-called ‘Copernican circle’), and the need to correlate scientific practice with other social endeavours in London at the time, such as print culture, commerce, and patronage.