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Myles W. Jackson

Myles W. Jackson is Dibner Family Professor of History of Science and Technology at Polytechnic University, New York City. He is the author of Spectrum of Belief: Joseph von Fraunhofer and the Craft of Precision Optics (MIT Press, 2000), which was winner of the Paul-Bunge-Prize of the German Chemical Society in 2005 for an outstanding contribution to the study of scientific instruments.

Titles by This Author

Physicists, Musicians, and Instrument Makers in Nineteenth-Century Germany

Historically, music was long classified as both art and science. Aspects of music—from the mathematics of tuning to the music of the celestial spheres—were primarily studied as science until the seventeenth century. In the nineteenth century, although scientists were less interested in the music of the spheres than the natural philosophers of earlier centuries, they remained committed to understanding the world of performing musicians and their instruments.

Joseph von Fraunhofer and the Craft of Precision Optics

In the nineteenth century, scientific practice underwent a dramatic transformation from personal endeavor to business enterprise. In Spectrum of Belief, Myles Jackson explores this transformation through a sociocultural history of the rise of precision optics in Germany. He uses the career of the optician Joseph von Fraunhofer (1787-1826) to probe the relationship between science and society, and between artisans and experimental natural philosophers, during this important transition.