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Percival Lowell, W. H. Pickering and the founding of the Lowell Observatory

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The founding of the Lowell Observatory has been neglected by historians in favour of Lowell's Martian research. Important in its own right, the founding must be understood in the scientific and cultural context of the 1890s. The cultural institutions of Boston, especially Harvard College, facilitated the collaboration between Lowell and W. H. Pickering which was necessary to launch the new observatory. While Lowell turned to Harvard and the Pickering brothers for expertise, he also struggled to protect his observatory's autonomy against the imperial ambitions of the larger institution. Without Lowell's determination, the Lowell Observatory might very well have become, like Arequipa, another station in Harvard network.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of History, Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo, MI, 49006, USA

Publication date: 1994-01-01

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