Notes and References
1. Sir Francis Bacon (Lord Verulam): Elizabethan politician; author of 'Novum Organum', widely regarded in the West as the foundation text of the 'scientific method'. This however is increasingly disputed in the Third World: a collection of United Nations University essays edited by Ashis Nandy contains a critical analysis of Bacon, by J K Bajaj, who remarks '..that a corrupt judge and an unscrupulous politician should be the prophet of a new science and a new society perhaps reflects the nature of that science and society..'. Bacon presided over a legal system which systematically used torture to extract information.
2. The Petty plan for Ireland involved the replacement of people by livestock, by a conscious political process.
3. John Joly FRS, geologist and physicist, was active from the 1890s to the 1920s in Trinity College Dublin; first physicist to come up with a realistic estimate of the age of the earth, based on radioactive decay processes; discoverer of the element samarium; inventor of a colour photographic process; was actively involved in the defence of TCD during the 1916 Rising.
4. Higgins' course in industrial chemistry in the RDS was internationally famous; Kirwan in Dublin was in contact with Lavoisier in France and promoted the new chemistry, while Priestly in England was still supporting the phlogiston theory of combustion.
5. Gellner E; Nations and Nationalism; Blackwell 1983.
6. Olby RC et al eds; Companion to the History of Science; Routledge 1990.
7. The influence on Bernal of his Irish roots is the subject of papers by Ann Synge and the present author in the Royal Society Notes and Records, 46(2) and 47(1), 1992/1993.
8. Scientists are likely to be familiar with most if not all of the names mentioned. For non-scientists wishing to understand their significance, a beginning can be made by referring to a work such as Chambers Concise Dictionary of Scientists, which gives a few hundred words to each.
9. Inkster Ian; Science and Technology in History: an Approach to Industrial Development; Macmillan 1991.
10. Few scientists are aware of Tyndall's Irish background; few Irish people are aware of Tyndall's international standing, which is comparable to that of Shaw or Joyce in literature. For a treatment of this important Irish scientific figure, see John Tyndall: Essays on a Natural Philosopher, W H Brock, N D McMillan and R C Mollan, RDS 1981.
11. G F Fitzgerald (the Trinity physicist best-known for the 'Fitzgerald Contraction' as the explanation for the null result of the Michelson-Morley experiment, which led directly to Einstein's Special Relativity) and the Trinity elite of that generation were Irish to the extent that they fought their corner in the British institutions and looked after Irish interests. It shows up in their correspondence; they nominated each other for key positions, and displayed an Irish flair for politics and committee intrigue. They wanted Trinity to be a centre of excellence in its own right, and not a second-class Cambridge. They could without much difficulty have been wooed into a Home Rule position if the Rome Rule bogey could have been laid.
.An important factor in the reinforcement of the Rome Rule image undoubtedly was the episode of Cardinal Cullen and the 'Godless Colleges', which deprived Catholics of university education for 2 generation, and fuelled the sectarian demand for a 'Catholic University', instead of the more democratic demand for a laicised national university system including Trinity. Fitzgerald's response to this was to promote technical education in Dublin, and the Dublin Institute of Technology counts him among their founding fathers. He was also a supporter of the demand for access by women to university education, which was blocked by the Trinity Board, but achieved in the context of the Royal University. He was therefore firmly in the liberal tradition, and the Home Rule movement, had it succeeded under Parnell, would have needed to take him on board in the interests of gaining international credibility. The analysis of the voluminous Fitzgerald papers from the point of view of the politics of science in the Ireland of the 1890s remains to be done; this I understand is currently in progress, with Denis Weaire in the TCD Physics Dept, Charles Mollan and others.
12. cf McMillan N, Regional Technical College, Carlow.
13. Bernhard C G et al eds; Science, Technolgy and Society in the Time of Alfred Nobel; Pergamon/Nobel Foundation 1982; collected papers presented at the 52nd Nobel Symposium at Bjorkboen, August 1981.
14. Crawford E; Nationalism and Internationalism in Science, 1880-1939; Cambridge 1992.
15. in Bernhard et al, ibid; J L Heilbron, Office for History of Technology, University of California, Berkeley, USA.
16. Ben-David J; The Scientist's Role in Society; A Comparative Study; Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1971.
17. de Candolle A, Histoire des Sciences et des Savants depuis 2 siecles; Geneva 1885; Paris 1987.
18. The task that needs to be done is to go through all the papers, see who was publishing what, where and why. I have begun to do this, but it is a substantial task, needing the time of a professional historian with insight into the role of science, and there are not many of them around.
19. G F Fitzgerald and his uncle G J Stoney were a formidable duo who dominated the RDS in the 1880s and 1890s. Fitzgerald is best known for his contribution to the understanding of the velocity of light in relativity theory; he came up with the 'Fitzgerald-Lorenz contraction' as the explanation of the null result of the Michelson-Morley experiment on 'ether drift'. The path from this led directly to Einstein. Stoney was first to name the concept of the 'electron', which J J Thompson went on later to discover in Cambridge. Both were FRSs. The RDS in those days was awash with FRSs.
20. McClelland and the Nolan brothers established a school of physical research dedicated to condensation nuclei in the atmosphere, which endures to this day; The published in the Academy, in the 1910s, at a time when the RDS was solidly imperial in its interests, thus in a sense reclaiming the Academy as a national focus, and picking up the Kane tradition. This school has persisted and is currently booming thanks to the increased international interest in the environment.
21. Hackett F E; the Photometry of N-rays; Sci Trans RDS Vol 8, p127-138. This work was subsequently exposed as fraudulent by R W Wood in Johns Hopkins in the USA. This may be regarded as an example of the 'cold fusion' type of phenomenon.
22. Stoney to Fitzgerald, Jan 5 1896: 'The more I see of London societies, and London and Cambridge men, the more firmly I am convinced of the impolicy of trying to get the decision of whether papers shall be published into their exclusive hands...and the...great impolicy of not vigorously supporting...the RDS and the RIA...'. cf Fitzgerald papers, RDS.
23. ETS Walton received the Nobel Prize in 1952 along with Cockroft for their work in Cambridge in the early 30s on basic nuclear physics.
24. C O'Ceallaigh led a team (which included the present writer) in the DIAS in the 1950s which collaborated with various European laboratories on pioneering work in high-energy nuclear physics, in which unstable sub-nuclear particles (mesons and hyperons) were identified and characterised, using innovative techniques developed in Dublin.
25. Joe Lee: Ireland 1912-1985, Politics and Society; Cambridge 1989; cf p 638, where the author draws attention to the fact that '..historians have scarcely begun to grapple with the role of science and scientists, much less technology and technologists, in Irish experience. We sadly lack, in particular, sustained historical enquiry into the engineering proferssions..' In this context he references Dorinda Outram (UCC), G Herries Davies (TCD) and the present writer in the Crane Bag 7. 2, 1983.
26. Pyenson L; Science and Imperialism; in Olby et al ibid.
27. de Martonne E; Le Savant Colonial; Paris 1930.
28. Science and Irish Economic Development; OECD 1964; the authors were Professor Patrick Lynch of UCD Economics Dept and H M S (Dusty) Miller, an English engineer who then headed the R&D department of Bord na Mona the peat development board. Both authors acknowledge positively the influence of J D Bernal FRS, whose classic 1939 book 'The Social Function of Science' played a seminal and productive role in science policy analysis, from a consciously Marxist angle. The Bernalist model was influential in the USSR and Eastern Europe. In the over-emphasis on the top-down role of the central State the Bernal model was however flawed, and science policy in Ireland shows signs of this parentage. This is another avenue to explore.
29. Nandy A ed; Science Hegemony and Violence; UNU Tokyo; OUP Delhi; 1988.
30. Coakley D; Irish masters of medecine; Town House, Dublin 1992.
31. Porter N; Fuelwood, a Crisis in the Making; Studies Vol 82 no 327, Dublin, Autumn 1993.
32. The details of the politics of this epoch needs elaboration. Fitzgerald's motivation was primarily the development of a unified scientific lobby, to get things done. He went on to promote technical education in Dublin, and is counted among the founding fathers of the Dublin Institute of Technology.
33. cf Professor Jim Dooge of UCD Dept of Civil Engineering; I recollect him giving a paper on this theme some years ago to the Institution of Engineers of Ireland; regrettably I can't locate an exact reference.
34. Rev Dr M T Casey of Maynooth has published a definitive review of Callan;s work in the Proceedings of the Institute of Electrical Engineers (Vol 132, Pt A, no 8, Dec 1985). Callan's priority over Rhumkorff in the matter of the invention of the induction coil was finally accepted in the international literature after a paper by J D Gallivan to the Dublin meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, subsequently published in Nature in 1957 (Vol 180, pp 730-732)
35. For a historic survey of Islamic technology see Ahmed Y al-Hassan & Donald R Hill, UNESCO/Cambridge UP (1986). The debt owed by European Renaissance science to Islam is seldom acknowledged.
36. The Tyndall Summer School, which initially took place in Carlow in 1994, and in general the 'posthumous rehabilitation of Tyndall' in the Irish context, we owe to Dr Norman McMillan of the Carlow Regional Technical College. Tyndall's 1874 Address to the Belfast meeting of the BAAS made the definitive claim of cosmology as the realm of science, in defiance of the claims of the Churches. 'Creationism' is no longer an issue, except in some quarters in the USA.
37. The sequence from the National Science Council of (1969-1979, presided over by Colm O h-Eocha, with Dr Stan Nielsen as executive) through its successor the National Board for Science and Technology (led by T P Hardiman), followed by Eolas and then the current Forbairt and Forfas embodiments, is in need of critical analysis. This need is beginning to be addressed, again from Queens University; see Steven Yearley on 'the Political Economy of Science Policy in the Irish Republic...' in Science, Technology and Human Values 20, Amsterdam (1995). I am indebted to SY for sight of a pre-print.
38. Benedict Anderson; Imagined Communities; Verso (1983)
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