Chapter

Introduction A Science of the Weather

in Predicting the Weather

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2005 | ISBN: 9780226019680
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226019703 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226019703.003.0001
Introduction A Science of the Weather

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This book focuses on weather forecasting. It aims to explore the place of science in Victorian society, but the book also makes a claim about the character of meteorology more broadly. Meteorology, and especially forecasting, provides a way of exploring critical contemporary debates on the relationship of speculation and observation. Implicit and explicit arguments about method—about the relative worth of speculation or exact observation—were a constant feature of meteorology. Meteorologists developed a distinction between theory (the physics of the atmosphere) and observation practices (weather forecasting) and, moreover, readily discussed the implications of that distinction. Such self-conscious methodological debate in meteorology readily exposed the mixture of epistemological, political, and social concerns that shaped the science. One of the guiding assumptions of this book, therefore, is that a study of the social context of weather forecasting illuminates the history of the development of scientific disciplines, and vice versa.

Keywords: meteorology; weather; Victorian society; forecasting; social concerns; speculation; observation

Chapter.  5786 words. 

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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