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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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Scientific Internationalism and Scientific Nationalism

Scientific Internationalism and Scientific Nationalism

Chapter:
(p.100) Chapter Four Scientific Internationalism and Scientific Nationalism
Source:
Making "Nature"
Author(s):

Melinda Baldwin

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226261591.003.0004

This chapter focuses on the relationship between scientific publishing and scientific internationalism at the turn of the twentieth century. Nature’s speed of publication made the journal an invaluable resource for scientists working in the rapidly advancing field of radioactivity. The Nobel Prize-winning physicist Ernest Rutherford was instrumental in establishing the Letters to the Editor column as a venue for announcing new and exciting scientific findings even before a complete scientific paper had been written. The frequent contributions from physicists such as J.J. Thomson, Frederick Soddy, and most importantly Rutherford made Nature essential reading not just for British scientists but for anyone interested in the most recent advances in physics. Nature began to draw contributions on the subject from foreign scientists like Otto Hahn in Germany and Bertram Boltwood in the United States, and scientists elsewhere in the British Empire like Rutherford in Canada. Despite the growth in international contributions from physicists, however, Nature remained firmly grounded in its British roots. Other growing disciplines, such as genetics, did not attract nearly as many non-British contributors as radioactivity, and the journal remained focused on science and scientific issues in Great Britain.

Keywords:   Nature, scientific internationalism, Ernest Rutherford, radioactivity, genetics

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