Field and Laboratory

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


This chapter explores the rise of the laboratory and the field in late nineteenth-and early twentieth-century American science. It examines the borderlands between them, and then moves to the myriad transformations in both lab and field. The emergence of science labs at colleges and universities created a place for practices, including tools and techniques (not to mention the students trained to deploy them), that moved easily between academic and industrial worlds. Along the way, the chapter discusses recurring themes, sometimes indicating similarities and at other times vast differences between lab and field. It talks about environmental settings, tools and technologies, the organization of work, and the relationships with lay people, amateurs, and the public at large. Lately, three robust historiographical developments in US history offer great promise for further enriching the historical study of lab and field: environmental history; history of American capitalism; and the United States in the world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationA Companion to the History of American Science
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781119072218
ISBN (Print)9781405156257
StatePublished - Oct 10 2015


  • American capitalism
  • American environmental history
  • American science
  • Rise of field
  • Rise of laboratory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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