Big Names

in Science for All

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780226068633
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226068664 | DOI:
Big Names

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No British scientist achieved an iconic status, but a few did become familiar to a significant proportion of the general public. Many elite scientists shunned publicity and distrusted those who actively sought the limelight. Writing self-educational literature was not enough to hit the headlines. To gain recognition in the wider world, one had to appear in the popular magazines and newspapers. This chapter looks at the small and rather anomalous group of scientist-celebrities to see what drove them to make a bid for fame, and how they achieved their goal. Their names are familiar: Arthur Eddington, James Jeans, and Oliver Lodge in physics and cosmology; Julian Huxley, J. B. S. Haldane, and later Lancelot Hogben in biology; and the paleoanthropologist Arthur Keith. J. Arthur Thomson became very well known through the sheer volume of his writing on natural history. Some scientists gained a degree of public attention without moving into quite the same league. Two examples are Alfred Russel Wallace and E. Ray Lankester.

Keywords: scientists; fame; physics; cosmology; biology; natural history; Julian Huxley; J. B. S. Haldane; Lancelot Hogben; Alfred Russel Wallace

Chapter.  11928 words. 

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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