Physics in Perspective

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 370–384 | Cite as

Book Reviews

Book Reviews

Edward J. Gillin, The Victorian Palace of Science: Scientific Knowledge and the Building of the Houses of Parliament, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017, 325 pages, 38 b&w ills., $99.99 (hardback).

G. A. Bremner1

Although the history of science has been a subject of academic inquiry for a very long time now—first pursued by enthusiastic individuals, then as a sub-branch of history proper, before becoming both an independent specialty and part of the broad, cross-disciplinary field loosely known today as science and technology studies—it seems only to have had a minimal impact on the history of the built environment. This is surprising given that the putting up of buildings is in part a scientific endeavour. The dynamics of structure, not to mention material and environmental controls, involves scientific and technological knowledge in the form of physics, geology, chemistry, and acoustics. Indeed, the engineering aspect of architecture dates back to the very origins and...


  1. 1.
    Alberto Pérez-Gómez, Architecture and the Crisis of Modern Science (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1983); Kenneth Frampton, Studies in Tectonic Culture: The Poetics of Construction in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Architecture, ed. John Cava (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1995); Antoine Picon, “Architecture, Science, and Technology,” in The Architecture of Science, ed. Peter Galison and Emily Thompson, 309–35 (Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 1999).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Jait-Hwee Chang, A Genealogy of Tropical Architecture: Colonial Networks, Nature and Technoscience (London: Routledge, 2016); Anthony D. King, Colonial Urban Development: Culture, Social Power and Environment (London: Routledge, 1976).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Carla Yanni, Nature’s Museums: Victorian Science and the Architecture of Display (London: The Athlone Press, 1999); Sophie Forgan, “The Architecture of Display: Museums, Universities and Objects in Nineteenth-Century Britain,” History of Science 32, no. 2 (1994), 139–62; Sophie Forgan, “Bricks and Bones: Architecture and Science in Victorian Britain,” in Galison and Thompson, Architecture of Science (ref. 1), 181–208.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Joseph D. Martin, “Prestige Asymmetry in American Physics: Aspirations, Applications, and the Purloined Letter Effect,” Science in Context 30, no. 4 (2017), 475–506.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Martin, “Prestige Asymmetry” (ref. 4).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Daniel T. Roger, Age of Fracture (Cambridge, MA: Belknap, 2012).Google Scholar

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