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The ideas of Charles Darwin and his fellow Victorian scientists have had an abiding effect on the modern world. But at the time The Origin of Species was published in 1859, the British public looked not to practicing scientists but to a growing group of professional writers and journalists to interpret the larger meaning of scientific theories in terms they could understand and in ways they could appreciate. Victorian Popularizers of Science focuses on this important group of men and women who wrote about science for a general audience in the second half of the nineteenth century.
Bernard Lightman examines more than thirty of the most prolific, influential, and interesting popularizers of the day, investigating the dramatic lecturing techniques, vivid illustrations, and accessible literary styles they used to communicate with their audience. By focusing on a forgotten coterie of science writers, their publishers, and their public, Lightman offers new insights into the role of women in scientific inquiry, the market for scientific knowledge, tensions between religion and science, and the complexities of scientific authority in nineteenth-century Britain.