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Making "Nature"The History of a Scientific Journal$
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Melinda Baldwin

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226261454

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226261591.001.0001

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Nature’s Shifting Audience, 1869–1875

Nature’s Shifting Audience, 1869–1875

(p.21) Chapter One Nature’s Shifting Audience, 1869–1875
Making "Nature"

Melinda Baldwin

University of Chicago Press

This chapter tells the story of Nature’s foundation and its first few years of publication. Norman Lockyer, the astronomer who founded the journal with the financial backing of the publishing house Macmillan & Co., originally intended to produce a popular science magazine that would be read by both laymen and scientific researchers. However, the respected men of science whom Lockyer wanted as his contributors preferred to write for an audience of their scientific peers. Lockyer encountered further difficulties with his plan to direct the journal at laymen when his editorial policies clashed with the wishes of the X Club, a group of influential men of science who were also prominent science popularizers. As a result, Lockyer lost the support and the pens of the very group of people who would have been most likely to write the kinds of pieces he wanted. By the mid-1870s, even scientifically sophisticated laymen found it difficult to understand much of Nature’s content.

Keywords:   Nature, Macmillan and Company, Norman Lockyer, X Club

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