Exploration: The Globe and Beyond

Tuesday, May 20, 2014
4:00pm to 5:00pm
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Dabney Hall 110 (Treasure Room)
Becoming Earthlings: Citizen-Observers in Nineteenth-Century Geoscience
Deborah Coen, Associate Professor of History, Barnard College, Columbia University,

Before the satellite age, geoscientific exploration often depended on the observations of local citizens, who helped scientists build up regional maps of climate and seismicity. For these volunteers, earth science was a way to come to terms with the expanding horizons of the nineteenth century. Tracking weather patterns, seasonal changes, or seismic waves opened the imagination to unfamiliar geographic scales. But how did the experiences of laypeople actually function as scientific evidence, including at Caltech? And what light might this history shed on the challenges of communicating science today?

For more information, please contact Fran Tise by phone at 626-395-3609 or by email at ftise@hss.caltech.edu.