Notes and Records Special Issue

Notes and Records, the Royal Society Journal of the History of Science, published a special issue organised and edited by Simon Schaffer and Simon Naylor entitled “Nineteenth-century survey sciences: enterprises, expeditions and exhibitions.”

This special issue co-ordinates a newly comparative and synthetic approach to some of the principal early nineteenth-century survey sciences prosecuted by British practitioners, including geomagnetism, geographical exploration, navigation, meteorology and the survey of
imperial possessions. The essays attend to the conduct of large-scale nineteenth-century surveys across a range of domestic and overseas regions, at sea, on land and in the
atmosphere. The issue significantly integrates important issues of the museology and contemporary and modern exhibitions of the material culture of survey sciences with
close historical analysis of the hardware and personnel involved in the surveys. The issue was published online in May 2019 and is available here.


  • Introduction, Simon Naylor and Simon Schaffer
  • Hand in hand with the survey: surveying and the accumulation of knowledge capital at India House during the Napoleonic Wars, Jessica Ratcliff
  • Cetacean citations and the covenant of iron, Jenny Bulstrode
  • Follow the data: administering science at Edward Sabine’s magnetic department, Woolwich, 1841-1857, Matthew Joseph Goodman
  • Thermometer screens and the geographies of uniformity in nineteenth-century meteorology, Simon Naylor
  • Instrument provision and geographical science: the work of the Royal Geographical Society, 1830–c. 1930, Charles Withers and Jane Wess
  • Geomagnetic instruments at National Museums Scotland, Alison Morrison-Low
  • Survey stories in the history of British polar exploration: museums, objects and people, Charlotte Connelly and Claire Warrior

Purchase print issue for £35. Contact