University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Departmental Seminars in History and Philosophy of Science > Reforming Naples/how to use a network: Vesuvius and savants in the two kingdoms of Sicily

Reforming Naples/how to use a network: Vesuvius and savants in the two kingdoms of Sicily

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This paper shows how an international interest in Vesuvius was exploited by reformist savants in nineteenth-century Naples to promote a modernizing agenda for the Kingdom. It focuses on one key figure, Teodoro Monticelli, secretary of the Royal Scientific Academy, who connected reformers in Naples, concerned with public health, ecology, education and infra-structural development to an international network of scholars (from Brazil to Russia) studying the volcano. Monticelli not only worked in Naples with figures such as Davy, Humboldt, Biot, Babbage, Buckland and Lyell, and put together collections of Vesuvian rocks and minerals for Academies in Europe and the Americas, but with his colleagues used these international connections and recognition to push a reforming agenda within the kingdom itself.

This talk is part of the Departmental Seminars in History and Philosophy of Science series.

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