Talk:Humboldtian science

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Untitled[edit]

Peer review by Christy:

I think the intro gives a pretty good start at outlining the basics of your subject, but remember that this is a short abstract for those lazy readers (as Sage put it :D) who just want the gist of the subject - who, what, when, where, how/why, roughly. You could combine the first two sentences of the intro to take away the choppiness (also in other parts of the intro); for example, something like "...term given to the movement in science in 19th century that..." and then brief explanation. I think a time frame is pretty important in history, so you could write what preceded Humboldtian science and what succeeded it; mentioning him as a Romantic in the intro is also key, since he was a very prominent one. Maybe you could put the years of his life in parentheses next to his name, and if you want (though less important) you could put the year of the books in parentheses next to the titles. To answer the how/why, you could mention his application of lab techniques into the real world (significance). Also, the 1st sentence of the "Impact of Humboldtian science" section would be perfect in the intro as well. I think you did a great job at breaking up the essay into sections, it's easy to read and follow, great organization.

Peer Review by Lauren: I think the introduction provides a good basis for the article, but in the first sentence you could say something more descriptive about Humboldtian science, like "...a term given to the 19th century scientific movement that involved the use of precise measurement to understand the interconnectedness of nature," or combine the first two sentences. Also, like Christy said, you could include the idea that Humboldt was a Romantic in the intro, as well as a sentence about the impact of Humboldtian science. I think you deal well with the definition of Humboldtian science and the "terrestrial physicist," but maybe you could include a few examples of the kinds of forces measured. In the Humboldt's Equilibrium section, I like how you use biodistribution to demonstrate Humbodlt's equilibrium, but I'm not sure what you mean in the last paragraph by "isothermal lines preserved local peculiarities within a general regularity." Overall, I like the way you chose to divide the paper, and the impact of Humboldtian science section is particularly useful in rooting the movement in practical, specific examples.

Peer review by Nick: I think that the subject was well written. The ideas put across about Humboldtian science were well planned and executed due to your ability to break up the article so well. THe ideas put foreward were well represented but I think they were alittle long and drawn out. Though I think that the article presents its case well it could be better if it were more cogent and precise. Also like Christy said I think that a timeline toexplain how Humboldtian science arose and waned is important to putting it in good context.

Review by Mike:

Good Job. I really liked how you organized your topic. The concise subsections made everything very easy to find and read. My one suggestion is to flesh out what "reimaging" America means, as you mention it only once in your 'Impact' section, and fail to explain it. Other than that, great job.

Peer Review By Aidan: I think you did a very good job of encompassing the important concepts involved in Humboldtian science in an organized and easy to read manner. Something that you may want to add to is the introduction. Since your article is so well organized, I think that if you outlined the main topics of your article in your introduction it would make it easier for the reader to find further information on each concept quickly. Another thing that you may or may not want to consider is noting the significance of Malcolm Nicolas and Susan Cannon in your Humboldtian Science Defined paragraph (this may not be necessary to do). I know that you have their works listed in your sources but it could possibly supply assurance to the reader that the individuals’ opinions of whom you are referencing are of importance if you state that they have particular degrees or declare what they’ve written. The only thing that I had trouble understanding that you may want to clarify is the concept of isothermal lines, possibly defining isotherm could help with the understanding of this idea. Overall, you did a great overview of this topic.

Pier Review Jaymie The introduction was very well written, and it gives the reader a good, quick view into the subject like it was supposed to. Great job on splitting the article into sections. It really helps to have it so well organized so the reader can just flow from one part to the next. One thought would maybe be in the section of humboldtain science defined to number and list the four elements just in order to give the reader a quicker view. I felt the article was really well written, and it was hard to find anything to criticize at all. I do agree that the defining of the 'reimaging' term would help to the clarity of the end of the article.

Peer Review by Ali: I think this article does a great job of defining Humboldtian Science and getting at the heart of what it really means. However, I do agree with previous comments, that it would be helpful in the grasping a more robust understanding of its implications to the history of ecology to create a timeline of sorts in which to situate Humboldtian Science. I would also be interested to see how the concept of Humboldtian Science could be tied into present. Alilafferty (talk) 18:39, 10 February 2014 (UTC)

Peer Review, 4/15[edit]

Ali great job so far with your article. The substance is really good and I enjoyed reading it for my peer review. My first suggestion would be just to proof-read over the article again, there are a few simple typos and some sentences that run on or need a little clarification. The lead section flows really well with the rest of the article in planning out what you are going to talk about. I see you mention the books Essay on the Geography of Plants and Kosmos. Just make sure that those are italicized in the article. Also you may want to rephrase the beginning of the lead section because it is a little hard to follow but the ending about interdependence and terrestrial physics flows well with the rest of the article. The overall structure is organized well. You have good facts and coverage but maybe add more on the work and background of Susan Cannon in the definition of Humboldtian Science because she did help coin the term. The ideas of Cannon also might work well in a section called 'The Transformation of Humboldtian Science' which could easily replace the 'Impact' section. Since the work Humboldt has done is a lot different than what we view as Humboldtian Science today you might want to show who changed what ideas. In the lead section you mention "Essay on the Geography of Plants and "Kosmos, you might want to place some information in the article from those references. I haven't read Essay on the Geography of Plants but I know with "Kosmos" you could talk about how Humboldt brought scientific thinking to a universal level. Also within the article make sure you make clickable links to the pages of relevant terms, for example isotherms should be clickable so people can navigate and learn about his work on isotherms or familiarize themselves with the term. In the impact section there is a comment about his work being "unparalleled" which may seem biased but besides that your work is very unbiased. The reason why I suggested changing the impact section to a transformation section is that Humboldt did influence many other scientists but it would be great to show how those scientists interpreted his work and turned it into the knowledge that we know today. In the end your article is looking good and the data you have to support your claims is fantastic! Your references are reliable but there is always room for more!

Dwk014 (talk) 05:10, 15 April 2014 (UTC)Lindsey Nourse — Preceding unsigned comment added by Lgn006 (talkcontribs) 23:21, 14 April 2014 (UTC)


Peer Review #2[edit]

I am enrolled in Professor Stuhl’s History of Ecology class and am reviewing this article in terms of the five elements of high-quality article.

The lead section does a good job of highlighting Humboldt’s important works and how influential he was to the scientific community. That being said, one improvement that could be made would be to create links of his work, “Kosmos” so that a reader could learn more out the piece. Another improvement could be the final sentence, which is somewhat wordy and should transition to the rest of the article. Lastly, some of the information that describes the importance and impact of Humboldt and his work could benefit by moving it to the “Impact of Humboldtian science” section to make the lead in more concise. This section also successfully outlines the key points of the article that are discussed in following sections

The article’s structure is well organized and helps guide the reader as the headings addresses the points described in the lead in section. I particularly liked how a biography of Humboldt was given before jumping into the details of his work as it provided well thought historical context and helped the flow of the article overall. Likewise the article is balanced in that it covers each topic outlined in the contents evenly, not focusing too much on any aspect more so than others. One aspect that was missing, I thought, was the lack of pictures and diagrams which would help the reader better visualize and understand some of the concepts that make up Humboldtian science. The bullet points at the end of “Humboldtian science defined” were also helpful, as the reader could skip to the bottom and get the main idea without reading the rest of the section.

In terms of neutrality, the article reads as it should, like an encyclopedia, without bias and presents information in a factual and succinct manner. There are instances however, where language is used that could be perceived as biased and is not cited. Specifically in the “Impact of Humboldtian science” section, it is stated that “Humboldt’s discoveries and contributions to the history of ecology are unparalleled”. The lack of citation makes this appear as though it is opinion more so than factual, researched information.

The “Notes” and “References section of the article make it clear that significant time was put into the research and information presented. As a whole, the article presents information and ideas with sufficient support from reliable sources. There are sentences here and there however, that lack a citation and come off as assumptions rather than facts. Such examples include the assertions how other scientists’ work was “certainly Humboldtian” without citing a source or giving enough background information to support such claims.

Over the article has a solid lead in section, clear and organized structure, comprehensive and complete contextual information, and neutral, unbiased language that helps the reader gain an appreciation for the work and influence of Alexander von Humboldt. You have significantly improved the article and made it much easier to follow. Great job so far!

Reference List[edit]

Balée, William. 1998. Advances in Historical Ecology. New York: Columbia University

Press. 

Cannon, Susan Faye. 1978. Science in culture: the early Victorian period. Kent, Eng: Dawon.

Ebach, Malte C., and Daniel F. Goujet. 2006. “The First biogeographical map.” Journal

 of Biogeography. 33 (5): 761-769. 

Home, Roderick Weir. 1995. “Humboldtian Science revisited: an Australian case study.”

   History of Science. 33: 1-22. 

Humboldt, Alexander von, Aimé Bonpland, Stephen T. Jackson, and Sylvie

   Romanowski. 2008. Essay on the geography of plants. Chicago: University of 
        Chicago Press. 

Nicolson, Malcolm. 1987. “Alexander von Humboldt, Humboldtian science, and the

   origins of the study of vegetation.” History of Science. 25: 167-194. 

Sachs, Aaron. The Humboldt Current. New York: Viking, 2008.

Walls, Laura Dassow. “Introducing Humboldt’s Cosmos.” Center for Humans and

   Nature. 2009.  http://www.humansandnature.org/introducing-humboldt-s-cosmos- 

article-26.php. Alilafferty (talk) 20:00, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

Outline[edit]

Alexander von Humboldt’s work had a profound impact on the history of and development of ecology as a profession. [1] . Through his travels to South America and his observational records in An Essay on the Geography of Plants as well as Kosmos, an important trend emerged through his techniques of observation, scientific instruments used and unique perspective on nature. Humboldt’s novel style has been defined has Humboldtian Science. Humboldt had the ability to combine the study of empirical data with a holistic view of nature and its aesthetically pleasing characteristics, which is now held to be the true definition of the study of vegetation and plant geography. [2]. . Humboldtian science is one of the first modes of studying both organic and inorganic realms of science. [3]. Examining the interconnectedness of vegetation and its respective environment is one of the new and important aspects of Humboldt’s work, an idea labeled as “terrestrial physics,” something that scientists who preceded him, such as Linnaeus, failed to do. Humboldtian laid the groundwork for future scientific endeavors by establishing the weighty impact-studying organisms and environment, in conjunction, can have. [4]

Draft #1[edit]

In order to understand Humboldtian science, it must be positioned in the context of what other ecologists were studying and discovering during the time that Humboldt was publishing his work. Natural history in the eighteenth century was the “nomination of the visible” [5].. Linnaeus was preoccupied with fitting all nature into taxonomy, fixated on only what was visible. Move towards the turn of the nineteenth century where Immanuel Kant became interested in understanding where species derived from, he was not as concerned with an organism’s physical attributes. Next, Johann Reinhold Forster, one of Humboldt’s future partners, became interested in the study of vegetation as an essential way of understand nature and its relationship with human society. Proceeding Forster, Karl Willdenow examined floristic plant geography, the distribution of plants and regionality as a whole. All of these pieces in the history before Humboldt help to shape what is defined as Humboldtian science. Humboldt took into account both the outward appearance and inward meaning of plant species. His attention to natural aesthetics and empirical data and evidence his what set his scientific work apart from ecologists before him. Malcolm so aptly puts it as; “Humboldt effortlessly combined a commitment to empiricism and the experimental elucidation of the laws of nature with an equally strong commitment to holism and to a view of nature which was intended to be aesthetically and spiritually satisfactory” [6]. It was through this holistic approach to science and the study of nature that Humboldt was able to find a web of interconnectedness despite a multitude of extensive differences between different species of organisms <ref>Home, Roderick Weir. 1995. “Humboldtian Science revisited: an Australian case study.” History of Science. 33: 17. Cite error: The opening <ref> tag is malformed or has a bad name (see the help page). . 101.110.53.90 (talk) 22:04, 10 January 2017 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Alilafferty (talkcontribs) 04:40, 1 April 2014 (UTC)

Alexander von Humboldt?[edit]

Humboldtian science refers to the ideas proposed by Wilhelm von Humboldt (not by his brother: Alexander). This is just an example, but the entire article has shortcomings like this and does not really reflect the ideas behind Humboldtian science. Humboldtian science is not "the accurate, measured study of widespread but interconnected real phenomena in order to find a definite law and a dynamical cause". Rather, it is about combining reseach and teaching at universities and about ensuring independence of universities from interests of third parties (e.g. states, companies). Most of today's universities are based on Humboldt's ideas. Thus, the article urgently needs to be rewritten. 92.231.84.170 (talk) 00:06, 19 May 2013 (UTC)

Peer Review, 4/15[edit]

Ali great job so far with your article. The substance is really good and I enjoyed reading it for my peer review. My first suggestion would be just to proof-read over the article again, there are a few simple typos and some sentences that run on or need a little clarification. The lead section flows really well with the rest of the article in planning out what you are going to talk about. I see you mention the books Essay on the Geography of Plants and Kosmos. Just make sure that those are italicized in the article. Also you may want to rephrase the beginning of the lead section because it is a little hard to follow but the ending about interdependence and terrestrial physics flows well with the rest of the article. The overall structure is organized well. You have good facts and coverage but maybe add more on the work and background of Susan Cannon in the definition of Humboldtian Science because she did help coin the term. The ideas of Cannon also might work well in a section called 'The Transformation of Humboldtian Science' which could easily replace the 'Impact' section. Since the work Humboldt has done is a lot different than what we view as Humboldtian Science today you might want to show who changed what ideas. In the lead section you mention "Essay on the Geography of Plants and "Kosmos, you might want to place some information in the article from those references. I haven't read Essay on the Geography of Plants but I know with "Kosmos" you could talk about how Humboldt brought scientific thinking to a universal level. Also within the article make sure you make clickable links to the pages of relevant terms, for example isotherms should be clickable so people can navigate and learn about his work on isotherms or familiarize themselves with the term. In the impact section there is a comment about his work being "unparalleled" which may seem biased but besides that your work is very unbiased. The reason why I suggested changing the impact section to a transformation section is that Humboldt did influence many other scientists but it would be great to show how those scientists interpreted his work and turned it into the knowledge that we know today. In the end your article is looking good and the data you have to support your claims is fantastic! Your references are reliable but there is always room for more!

101.110.53.90 (talk) 22:04, 10 January 2017 (UTC)Lindsey Nourse — Preceding unsigned comment added by Lgn006 (talkcontribs) 23:21, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

Peer Review #2[edit]

I am enrolled in Professor Stuhl’s History of Ecology class and am reviewing this article in terms of the five elements of high-quality article.

The lead section does a good job of highlighting Humboldt’s important works and how influential he was to the scientific community. That being said, one improvement that could be made would be to create links of his work, “Kosmos” so that a reader could learn more out the piece. Another improvement could be the final sentence, which is somewhat wordy and should transition to the rest of the article. Lastly, some of the information that describes the importance and impact of Humboldt and his work could benefit by moving it to the “Impact of Humboldtian science” section to make the lead in more concise. This section also successfully outlines the key points of the article that are discussed in following sections

The article’s structure is well organized and helps guide the reader as the headings addresses the points described in the lead in section. I particularly liked how a biography of Humboldt was given before jumping into the details of his work as it provided well thought historical context and helped the flow of the article overall. Likewise the article is balanced in that it covers each topic outlined in the contents evenly, not focusing too much on any aspect more so than others. One aspect that was missing, I thought, was the lack of pictures and diagrams which would help the reader better visualize and understand some of the concepts that make up Humboldtian science. The bullet points at the end of “Humboldtian science defined” were also helpful, as the reader could skip to the bottom and get the main idea without reading the rest of the section.

In terms of neutrality, the article reads as it should, like an encyclopedia, without bias and presents information in a factual and succinct manner. There are instances however, where language is used that could be perceived as biased and is not cited. Specifically in the “Impact of Humboldtian science” section, it is stated that “Humboldt’s discoveries and contributions to the history of ecology are unparalleled”. The lack of citation makes this appear as though it is opinion more so than factual, researched information.

The “Notes” and “References section of the article make it clear that significant time was put into the research and information presented. As a whole, the article presents information and ideas with sufficient support from reliable sources. There are sentences here and there however, that lack a citation and come off as assumptions rather than facts. Such examples include the assertions how other scientists’ work was “certainly Humboldtian” without citing a source or giving enough background information to support such claims.

Over the article has a solid lead in section, clear and organized structure, comprehensive and complete contextual information, and neutral, unbiased language that helps the reader gain an appreciation for the work and influence of Alexander von Humboldt. You have significantly improved the article and made it much easier to follow. Great job so far!

Claims that Humboldtian Science replaced Baconian Science need to be retracted or justified as something other than POV[edit]

Did Von Humboldt set out a philosophy of science or did Susan Cannon set out a philosophy of science? If he did than why cant we have it defined in his own terms? Is it a revolution in ecology or of science generally? It seems frankly absurd to claim attention to precision originates with von Humboldt. 101.110.53.90 (talk) 22:04, 10 January 2017 (UTC)

I will raise the debate by sharing Cannon's claim on the general talk page of the scientific method-- its a page that gets better peer review. 101.110.53.90 (talk) 22:11, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
    • ^ Sachs, Aaron. The Humboldt Current. New York: Viking, 2008.
    • ^ Nicolson, Malcolm. 1987. “Alexander von Humboldt, Humboldtian science, and the origins of the study of vegetation.” History of Science. 25: 167-194.
    • ^ Home, Roderick Weir. 1995. “Humboldtian Science revisited: an Australian case study.” History of Science. 33: 1-22.
    • ^ Cannon, Susan Faye. 1978. Science in culture: the early Victorian period. Kent, Eng:Dawon.
    • ^ Nicolson, Malcolm. 1987. “Alexander von Humboldt, Humboldtian science, and the origins of the study of vegetation.” History of Science. 25: 169.
    • ^ Nicolson, Malcolm. 1987. “Alexander von Humboldt, Humboldtian science, and the origins of the study of vegetation.” History of Science. 25: 180.