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Michael Polanyi and His GenerationOrigins of the Social Construction of Science$
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Mary Jo Nye

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780226610634

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226610658.001.0001

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Germany and Weimar Berlin as the City of Science

Germany and Weimar Berlin as the City of Science

(p.37) TWO Germany and Weimar Berlin as the City of Science
Michael Polanyi and His Generation

Mary Jo Nye

University of Chicago Press

This chapter focuses on the ideals and realities of Weimar scientific culture and their impact on the economic, political, and philosophical writings of Michael Polanyi. Faced by the increasing violence, social unrest, and broadening power of the National Socialist Party of the early 1930s, Michael Polanyi hesitated to leave his ideal city of science, even in the face of an unusually attractive offer from The University of Manchester. He resigned his position in Berlin only when faced with demands from the National Socialist government that non-Aryan scientists must be fired from their posts. Polanyi's daily career experiences in Berlin were a crucial foundation for his later writings on the nature of science and its everyday practice, as was his immersion in a German academic tradition and rhetoric of pure and transcendent Wissenschaft that defied the realities of urban Berlin in the 1920s and 1930s.

Keywords:   non-Aryan scientists, Weimar scientific culture, National Socialist Party, University of Manchester, Berlin, German academic tradition, Wissenschaft

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