Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte

Published by Wiley-VCH Verlag
Online ISSN: 1522-2365
Print ISSN: 0170-6233
In the First World War representatives of the university discipline of psychology took the opportunity to apply their expertise in the armed forces. The initial undertakings in the German Empire and in the USA show some similarities and marked disparities. A comparison of events and circumstances in these principal belligerent states is linked with a sketch of their importance for the further development of psychology as an academic specialty and an emerging profession.
In most instances, knowledge is passed on through the medium of language. The author tries to demonstrate to what extent the Latin present in early medieval Latin medical treatises failed to fulfill its role as an efficient medium of communication, which factors may account for this failure and how scholars in the middle ages strove to restore sense in texts in various stages of corruption, an attempt that was bound to be unsuccessful in many cases owing to a lack of reliable dictionaries.
There is no doubt that medical semiotics are having a revival at the moment. Different aspects of yesterday's and today's interest in semiotics and in the historical interpretation of signs of disease in the context of theory and history of medicine can be illuminated: their deciphering as the history of the sign in medicine by historic science, their overestimation by philosophy during the Age of Enlightenment, their reduction to a phenomenology of medicine and natural science during the first half of the 19th century and their transformation to medical diagnostics since the middle of the 19th century and recently even their functionalization as methodical instrument within the history of science. The following will show the change in meaning of medical semiotics. Modern development and especially the transition to medicine, based on natural science, will be emphasized.
The emergence of a 'norm of normalcy' in 19th century laboratories and hospitals was in no way simply a byproduct of the scientific search for knowledge. It was instead closely associated with expectations of social egalitarianism which merged with the moral economy of a new scientific objectivity. The establishment of normal people as a valid measure for a population socially divided and segregated in estates was thus an essential element of the processes of social formulation which created our modern society.
The aim of this paper is to demonstrate the importance of autobiographies of dispensing chemists for the history of science. The analysis of the autobiographies of E. W. Martius, D. H. Hoppe, F. T. Kützing and other pharmacists of the 18th and 19th centuries, shows that these books give much information about the history of medicine, chemistry or botany. The memoirs of pharmacists, published in the later 19th and 20th centuries, for example by Th. Fontaine or by H. Sudermann, are especially interesting origins for the history of pharmacy.
Dutch science flourished in the late sixteenth and in the seventeenth century thanks to the immigration of cartographers, botanists, mathematicians, astronomers and the like from the Southern Netherlands after the Spanish army had captured the city of Antwerp in 1585, and thanks to the religious and the socio-economic situation of the country. A strong impulse for practical scientific activities started from the Reformation, mainly thanks to its anti-traditional attitude, which had an anti-rationalistic tendency. Therefore, in the Northern Netherlands there was no 'warfare' between science and religion and the biblical arguments leading to Galileo's condemnation were not used. Although the growth of the exact sciences and of technology in the late sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries in Protestant circles may be partly attributed to the expansion of trade, industry, navigation and so on, this does not explain why there was also at the same time a great interest in subjects as botany and zoology, which had no immediate economic utility. There were discussions about Copernicanism and Cartesianism. So a number of astronomers and theologians rejected the earth's movement on scientific and religious grounds, but there were also those who did not reject the Copernican system on biblical grounds. In the seventeenth century there was much discussion between science and religion in the Northern Netherlands, but that discussion was not followed by censure by the Church of the State. In the Republic there was a large amount of intellectual freedom in the study of the natural sciences, thanks to practical and ideological considerations. In the eighteenth century the seventeenth century tension between science and religion changed into a physicotheological natural science. It was believed that investigations into the workings of nature should lead to a better understanding of its Creator. So Bernard Nieuwentijt in his well-known book: The right use of world views for the conviction of atheists and unbelievers (1715) intended to prove the existence of God on the basis of teleological arguments.
The historical shift in the function of the hospital from an asylum for the care of the indigent sick to a medical-therapeutic institution is intimately associated with the exploitation of the hospital as a clinical facility. Thus, over the course of the 19th century the space of the hospital and its disciplinary structure was permeated and reorganized by clinical practices. Drawing on the example of the Charite hospital in Berlin, it can be shown how the historical shift in the hospital's outward social function went hand in hand with the creation of a differentiated internal clinical space. In this compartmentalized clinical space the discipline of the hospital was replaced with methods of clinical examination, techniques of observation, and procedures of documentation, all of which helped to transform the hospital into a knowledge-space.
The investigation of Lenin's brain by the German neurobiologist Oskar Vogt from Berlin and his Russian collaborators in Moscow is one of the most exciting and simultaneously oddest chapters in the history of medicine. With the bizarre claim to be able to detect the material substrate of genius it provoked as much unrealistic expectations in the public as strong criticism by the scientific community of brain researchers. The present paper deals in a brief survey with the history of collecting and measuring the brains of famous persons in general and particularly with the historical, political and social circumstances of the performed investigation of Lenin's brain. In this connection the epistemological and technical prerequisites of architectonical brain research and its means of the topographical representation of complex histo-anatomical and physiological differences in the brain cortex are shortly discussed. The opening of Russian archives after the socio-economic turn of the year 1991 brought up new background facts in Lenin's pathobiography; together with the sources from German archives a rather extensive reconstruction of the historical events between Lenin's death in 1924 and the final report of the Moscow Brain Research Institute (Institute Mozga) to the Politburo of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviki) in 1936 is possible now.
In this essay laboratories are dealt with as symbolic spaces that structure social relationships and ways of knowledge in chemistry. The spatial vicissitudes of the nineteenth-century research laboratory reflect, and at the same time direct, the way chemical knowledge is being produced, transmitted, and perceived.
Title: Aus der bisherigen Tätigkeit der Gesellschaft für Wissenschaftsgeschichte
The study focuses on the development of pharmacopoeas during the early, modern time. First, the >Nouvo Receptario< of 1499 came out in Florence as the first printed pharmacopoea of a north-Italian town, edited by the guild of medicines and apothecaries. Following trading routes the idea of >pharmacopoea< arrived in Nuremberg, where the counsil of the town asked the humanist Valerius Cordus to prepare such a book. Printed in 1546, it quickly became the standard in preparing medicines for other towns in southern Germany. At Augsburg, a wealthy and powerful town, the physicians wrote their own pharmacopoea which was printed in 1564. The comparison of the three pharmacopoeas shows that its printing depended on the social structure and the financial aspects of each town. But even if the apothecaries, the doctors or the mayors were trained in the humanistic tradition, the materia medica still continued in the arabic tradition, i.e. the old drugs and preparations remained in these pharmacopoeas, probably for financial reasons.
The primary goal of Ulisse Aldrovandi was to surpass his immediate predecessor Conrad Gesner, despite the fact that he never mentioned it expressis verbis. In a Plinian manner he attempted to complete Aristotle's comprehensive description of the animals. Since he always made a great effort to evaluate all existing works, and to determine their degree of truth by conducting his own studies of nature, his descriptions turn out to be more comprehensive and critical than those of his predecessors. Furthermore he based his studies on a system and also incorporated anatomy again. With his studies of nature and anatomical dissections he has expanded the knowledge of scientific facts within the domain of zoology. Especially in the realm of entomology, Aldrovandi has accomplished pioneer work, and can hence be regarded as the founding father of this special field. Besides Gesner's significant work about the animal kingdom, Aldrovandi's even more comprehensive encyclopedia can be considered an important step towards the modern natural sciences.
After 1933 many scientists and university teachers were obliged to relinquish their posts in the universities of Germany because of national-socialist laws. Organizations-in-aid like the Academic Assistance Council in Great Britain tried to 'defend science and learning' raising funds and finding new openings for the expelled academics. But as immigration laws were tight and jobs were scarce in the host countries the AAC and the other organizations had to select the most qualified from among the applicants for support. -- The questions the article tries to answer are: What kind of criteria were applied in this selection? Who were the experts? How were the placements made? How did the applicants react to the decisions? Taking for example the AAC, it examines measures to assist a group of scientists who, having tried to settle down in England, finally emigrated to Turkey.
The short visit of the famous German hygienist Max von Pettenkofer (1818-1901) in Saxonia is described. Some days in November and December 1865, Pettenkofer was in the course of the cholera epidemic in Altenburg, Crimmitschau, Werdau, Glauchau and Zwickau, but not in Dresden and Leipzig. We receive a picture from the situation of hygiene and infectology in the time before the bacteriologist (and antagonist of Pettenkofer) Robert Koch (1834-1910) discovered the cholera bacillus. Pettenkofer met some very important physicians of this country and discussed the origin and spreading of the cholera disease. Pettenkofer himself has published a paper about the Saxonia tour, which expressed the ideas of natural sciences in the second half of the nineteen century.
From the beginning, next to their essential function of preparing drugs pharmacies also served as educational institutions, in particular for the instruction of their own rising generation. Especially between 1750 and 1850 pharmacies in addition were engaged in scientific research. It were basically experimental-analytic chemistry and after 1800 mainly phytochemistry which inspired numerous apothecaries to do corresponding work in their laboratories. For many of those scientifically ambitious pharmacists, however, pharmacies were merely a starting point in their professional career. More or less rapidly, they turned to other places of activity which were organizationally, socially, and intellectually of higher standards (e.g. academies or universities). There, they were better able to realize their research interests frequently roused and shaped in the pharmacies. When around 1850 chemistry as an autonomous discipline definitely was established at the universities and competition became increasingly apparent through the rising chemical industry, the former meaning and function of pharmacies as places of scientific research disappeared more and more and was completely lost about 1900.
Historical sociobiographic accounts on members of the scientific and technical professions in the years of the Weimar Republic and after, are as yet scarce. This applied notably to women in the scientific community. Having formally been admitted to academic studies at German Universities only in 1908, their claims of wanting to apply their newly gained knowledge and to pursue academic careers were still not unquestioned by society. The social and cognitive integration of "the female" in male dominated science organisation, especially in the natural sciences and their kin fields in industry, remains problematic to-day. Isolde Hausser, daughter of the ambitious but little succesful inventor-entrepreneur Hermann Ganswindt, took her doctoral degree in physics at Berlin University in 1914, then worked as head of a group at a "Telefunken" laboratory for vacuum tubes till 1929, before she became research scientist at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Medical Research, Heidelberg. There she worked on photoerythemaes and the formation of pigment and discovered the specific action of longwave ultraviolet. She contributed important results to our knowledge on the constitution and the behaviour of organic compounds by modern physical methods. She died of cancer on 5th October 1951.
The language of alchemy may be divided into five layers. - Within the first layer the alchemists explicitly and undisguisedly conveyed chemical informations. But they described chemical substances and chemical operations in a way which reminds us of sociological or psychological descriptions and the treatment of complex personalities. - Within the second layer the alchemists also gave chemical informations albeit encoded in much the same way as craftmen's guilds encoded their knowledge to fend off competition from outsiders. - Within the third layer the alchemists refer to verbal associations and to myths from their cultural environment so that their texts can only be properly understood within a certain cultural context. As the language of this layer was often handed down to later generations of alchemists who were not acquainted with the specific cultural context it tended to cause confusions and misunderstandings. - Within the fourth layer the alchemists deliberately used an arcane language for within this layer they tried to convey the paradoxa of alchemy. - Within the fifth ayer alchemy is treated as a literary tradition in which all classical texts contain the truth but no text does it in a fully comprehensible way. - These last two layers show that au fond alchemy is not a process of riddle solving but a quest for cosmic secrets. This gives us a demarcation criterion to distinguish alchemy from genuine natural sciences.
By studying the etiology and the causalities of the cholera breaking out in the German cities since the 1830s the young scientific discipline "Hygiene" tried to influence urban administrations to prevent the contamination of the soil with human excrements. Most of the Hygienists followed the theory developed by Max von Pettenkofer, the first German professor of Hygiene, that the soiling was the causing factor of most of the intestinal diseases. This theory based on the hypothesis of a prerequisite fermentation of a germ in the soil before being capable to produce disease in a susceptible individual. According to this - never irrefutably proved - theory the cities should be aware of the condition of soil (Bodenbeschaffenheit), whereas the pollution of the running water was not considered to be dangerous by reason of the supposed self-purification of running streams.
The problem of 'reality' and 'realism' is rarely discussed in medieval medical texts, although medieval medicine is based on objectivity. There are three reasons why medieval physicians were so sure about their image of human nature: the convincing model of humoral pathology, the undoubted truth of tradition, and the suggestive similarities between worldly things and their presumed divine purpose. Thus, individual cases were only examples of the common theory of medicine and were by no means able to change it.
Top-cited authors
Fritz Krafft
  • Philipps University of Marburg
Mitchell G. Ash
  • University of Vienna
Christoph Meinel
  • Universität Regensburg
Horst Gundlach
Bettina Wahrig
  • Technische Universität Braunschweig