Exploration and Science
Social Impact and Interaction
by Michael S. Reidy, Gary Kroll, and Erik M. Conway Mark A. Largent, Series Editor
December 2006, 371pp, 7x10
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-57607-985-0
$91, £70, 80€, A125
eBook Available: 978-1-57607-986-7
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

When Britain launched its campaigns of overseas expansion in the 19th century, it enlisted the help of scientists such as Charles Darwin and Aldous Huxley. Their job was to map and measure Earth, collect flora and fauna, and study native populations. These scientists helped build an empire, demonstrating that the line between science and exploration is not always clear.

This comprehensive volume explores the intricate, mutually dependent relationship between science and exploration—how each has repeatedly built on the discoveries of the other and, in the process, opened new frontiers.

A simple question: Which came first, advances in navigation or successful voyages of discovery? A complicated answer: Both and neither. For more than four centuries, scientists and explorers have worked together—sometimes intentionally and sometimes not—in an ongoing, symbiotic partnership. When early explorers brought back exotic flora and fauna from newly discovered lands, scientists were able to challenge ancient authorities for the first time. As a result, scientists not only invented new navigational tools to encourage exploration, but also created a new approach to studying nature, in which observations were more important than reason and authority.

The story of the relationship between science and exploration, analyzed here for the first time, is nothing less than the history of modern science and the expanding human universe.


  • Includes biographical sketches of important figures such as Jacques Cousteau, Charles Darwin, Neil Armstrong, and Edwin Hubble
  • Uses primary and secondary source documents extensively in an easily readable narrative that places the history of science and exploration in its broader social and cultural context
Michael S. Reidy, PhD, is assistant professor of history in the Department of History and Philosophy at Montana State University, Bozeman, MT, specializing in the history of geophysical sciences in the 19th century. His published works include coauthorship of Communicating Science: The Scientific Article from the 17th Century to the Present.

Gary Kroll, PhD, is assistant professor of history at State University of New York–Plattsburgh, Plattsburgh, NY, where he teaches courses on environmental history and the history of science. He received his degree from the University of Oklahoma, specializing in the history of conservation in the early 20th-century United States.

Erik Conway, PhD, is a visiting historian at NASA's Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA. He received his degree from the University of Minnesota.


"Recommended. General readers; lower- and upper-division undergraduates."—Choice, August 1, 2007
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