Weathering the empire

Meteorological research in the early British straits settlements

Fiona Williamson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    5 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This article explores meteorological interest and experimentation in the early history of the Straits Settlements. It centres on the establishment of an observatory in 1840s Singapore and examines the channels that linked the observatory to a global community of scientists, colonial officers and a reading public. It will argue that, although the value of overseas meteorological investigation was recognized by the British government, investment was piecemeal and progress in the field often relied on the commitment and enthusiasm of individuals. In the Straits Settlements, as elsewhere, these individuals were drawn from military or medical backgrounds, rather than trained as dedicated scientists. Despite this, meteorology was increasingly recognized as of fundamental importance to imperial interests. Thus this article connects meteorology with the history of science and empire more fully and examines how research undertaken in British dependencies is revealing of the operation of transnational networks in the exchange of scientific knowledge.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)475-492
    Number of pages18
    JournalBritish Journal for the History of Science
    Volume48
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 12 Sep 2015

    Fingerprint

    Straits
    Meteorology
    Observatory
    Weathering
    Fundamental
    British Government
    Military
    1840s
    Scientific Knowledge
    Singapore
    Transnational Networks
    Experimentation
    Early History
    Colonies
    History of the Sciences
    Enthusiasm

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • History
    • History and Philosophy of Science

    Cite this

    Weathering the empire : Meteorological research in the early British straits settlements. / Williamson, Fiona.

    In: British Journal for the History of Science, Vol. 48, No. 3, 12.09.2015, p. 475-492.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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