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Making the Ocean Visible: Science and Mobility on the Challenger Expedition, 1872-1895

Jones, Erika Lynn; (2019) Making the Ocean Visible: Science and Mobility on the Challenger Expedition, 1872-1895. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis examines how the voyage of the Challenger Expedition (1872-1876) and the publication of the expedition’s findings, the Report on the Scientific Results of HMS Challenger (1880-1895) made knowledge of the ocean. The thesis argues that the ocean was made visible through a diverse range of mobilities that operated on many scales and in a variety of spaces in addition to the ship at sea. Each chapter explores a different aspect of mobility and the construction of natural knowledge. The motive forces of the Royal Navy supported the voyage of HMS Challenger around the world; the Baillie depth sounder followed the routes of future submarine telegraphic cables while surveying the great ocean basins; the speed of travel was paramount to the preservation of marine specimens; expedition photography was guided by the aims of the Royal Engineers but was also an embodied mobile practice; and the study of Challenger echinoderms involved the travels of the American naturalist Alexander Agassiz (1835-1910) and international scientific networks. To illustrate the geology of the ocean floor in the Report on Deep-Sea Deposits (1891), authors John Murray (1841-1914) and A. F. Renard (1842-1903) worked within a complex mobile-system of publication coordinated from the Challenger Office in Edinburgh using improved administrative systems. Knowledge of the ocean was thus made by a vast meshwork of mobilities on both land and sea, made possible by nineteenth-century transformations in how people and things moved. The resources of the British Empire further assisted and channeled the mobility of the ship, instruments, scientists, and materials through global flows of trade that connected London to its colonies. This historical geography underscores how the Challenger Expedition operated on an unprecedented scale and thus contributed to the development of oceanography as a global science.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Making the Ocean Visible: Science and Mobility on the Challenger Expedition, 1872-1895
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2019. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
Keywords: Challenger Expedition (1872-1876), HMS Challenger, oceanography, mobilities, nineteenth century, history of science, natural history, British empire, exploration, ocean, John Murray, Report on the Scientific Results of HMS Challenger, Alexander Agassiz, Baillie sounder, Royal Engineers, deep-sea geology, hydrography, Henry Moseley, photography, routes, velocity, practices, historical geography, Smithsonian, Museum of Comparative Zoology, science, mobile systems, maritime history
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Science and Technology Studies
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10087545
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