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Joseph Dalton Hooker (1817-1911) was an internationally renowned botanist, a close friend and early supporter of Charles Darwin, and one of the first-and most successful-British men of science to become a full-time professional. He was also, Jim Endersby argues, the perfect embodiment of Victorian science. A vivid picture of the complex interrelationships of scientific work and scientific ideas, Imperial Nature gracefully uses one individual's career to illustrate the changing world of science in the Victorian era. By focusing on science's material practices and one of its foremost practitioners, Endersby ably links concerns about empire, professionalism, and philosophical practices to the forging of a nineteenth-century scientific identity.
"A refreshing record of how scientists worked. . . . The practice of science provides the context necessary for understanding how theories advanced; without this background, scientific progress looks too simple, and leaps seem extraordinary."-Nature
"Imperial Nature adds significantly to our understanding of the multifaceted and far from inevitable ascendancy of the professional scientist in Victorian culture."-Isis
Jim Endersby is a reader in the history of science at the University of Sussex. He is the author of A Guinea Pig's History of Biology and Imperial Nature: Joseph Hooker and the Practices of Victorian Science.