American Astronomy

Community, Careers, and Power, 1859-1940

John Lankford

American Astronomy
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John Lankford

With the assistance of Rickey L. Slavings
474 pages | 8 line drawings, 54 tables | 6 x 9 | © 1997
Cloth $105.00 ISBN: 9780226468860 Published May 1997
In this collective biography of the more than 1,200 individuals who engaged in astronomical
research, teaching, or practice in the United States between 1859 and 1940, John Lankford
paints a meticulously documented portrait of this community. He tallies the number with and
without doctorates, the number that taught in colleges or universities versus those involved in
industrial or government work, the number of women versus men, and so on. He also
addresses the crucial question of power within the community—what it meant, which
astronomers had it, and what they did with it.

Drawing on more than a decade of archival research, Lankford attends to the numbers in
concise tables and figures, and takes care to focus through biographical sketches on the
human beings his data represent. This dual approach convincingly illustrates how the changing
structure of a scientific community can alter both the career trajectories of its members and the
nature of the scientific research they choose to pursue.
List of Tables and Figures
1: On Writing the History of a Scientific Community
2: The American Astronomical Community in 1859: A Benchmark
3: The New Astronomy: Identity and Conflict
4: The Education of Astronomers
5: The Changing Scientific Career
6: Career Management in Science
7: Power and Conflict in a Scientific Community
8: The Reward System in a Modern Scientific Community
9: Science and Gender: Women in the American Astronomical Community
10: Terminus Ad Quem: American Astronomy in 1940
11: Astronomy Compared
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