NBA History of Science Seminar

Robert H. Kargon, "The Laboratory and the Studio: Places of Learning in Gilded-Age America."

Robert H. Kargon, History of Science Department, The Johns Hopkins University

Beginning with the famous artist Thomas Eakins's portrait of Henry Rowland, this paper explores the role of the physics laboratory in building the scientific community and in the larger culture of the United States of America in the period 1875-1900.

Rowland, professor of physics at the Johns Hopkins University, was the director of the laboratory that produced the largest number of physicists in 19th-century America. He was sought out by the artist because of the growing importance of the discipline as an exemplar of the progress of science and technology in American society.