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At the edge of science: Joseph Henry, ‘Visionary Theorizers', and the Smithsonian institution

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As first Secretary of the newly formed Smithsonian Institution, the American physicist Joseph Henry (1797–1878) was called upon almost daily to screen and evaluate scientific and technical proposals from outside investigators. Many of these investigators came from the fringe of the scientific community or beyond, and favoured ideas which deviated from current orthodoxy. Henry's policies toward this fringe group, a neglected aspect of the Smithsonian's early history, are examined through extensive manuscript evidence.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., 20560, U.S.A.

Publication date: September 1, 1984

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