The greatest ambition of any moderately successful nineteenth-century French scientist was to become a member of the Academy of Sciences. Science under Control is the first major study, in any language, of this elite institution, in a period which began with such influential figures as Laplace and Cuvier and extended to the time of Louis Pasteur and Henri Poincare. The book attempts to remove the veil of mystery and misunderstanding which has shrouded this key institution and its procedures. The French government exercised political, financial and bureaucratic control over the Academy, and the Academy in turn sat in judgement over all serious scientific production. Only with its approval could the work of French scientists win acceptance and their careers advance. The book provides a case study of carefully regulated scientific production encouraged yet constrained within a system of reports, prizes and elections.
Table of Contents
1. Science in France
2. The structure of the Academy
3. The functioning of the Academy: some
4. Science divided: the sections
5. The Academicians
6. Elections: 'green fever'
7. Registration, judgement and reward
8. The printed word
9. The Academy under Government control
10. Outsiders: the scientific fringe and the
11. The international context
12. The control of the Academy of Science.