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The Language of Mineralogy

The Language Of Mineralogy: John Walker, Chemistry And The Edinburgh Medical School, 1750 1800


Classification is an important part of science, yet the specific methods used to construct Enlightenment systems of natural history have proven to be the bte noir of studies of eighteenth-century culture. One reason that systematic classification has received so little attention is that natural history was an extremely diverse subject which appealed to a wide range of practitioners, including wealthy patrons, professionals, and educators. In order to show how the classification practices of a defined institutional setting enabled naturalists to create systems of natural history, this book focuses on developments at Edinburgh's medical school, one of Europe's leading medical programs. In particular, it concentrates on one of Scotland's most influential Enlightenment naturalists, Rev Dr John Walker, the professor of natural history at the school from 1779 to 1803. Walker was a traveller, cleric, author and advisor to extremely powerful aristocratic and government patrons, as well as teacher to hundreds of students, some of whom would go on to become influential industrialists, scientists, physicians and politicians. This book explains how Walker used his networks of patrons and early training in chemistry to become an eighteenth-century naturalist. Walker's mineralogy was based firmly in chemistry, an approach common in Edinburgh's medical school, but a connection that has been generally overlooked in the history of British geology. By explicitly connecting eighteenth-century geology to the chemistry being taught in medical settings, this book offers a dynamic new interpretation of the nascent earth sciences as they were practiced in Enlightenment Britain. Because of Walker's influence on his many students, the book also provides a unique insight into how many of Britain's leading Regency and Victorian intellectuals were taught to think about the composition and structure of the material world.



  • Condition: --
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    • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
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    Conditions Guide
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Sold by: --
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Ashgate Pub Co
  • ISBN-13: 9780754663324
  • ISBN: 0754663329
  • Publication Year: 2008
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HPB condition ratings
  • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
  • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
  • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
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Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
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