Images of Science and Exploration in the Victorian Century


Exhibition curated by George W. Platzman, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Geophysical Sciences, Daniel Meyer, Associate Director of Special Collections Research Center, and Valarie Brocato, Exhibitions Supervisor.

The reign of Queen Victoria marked one of the most extraordinary periods of scientific discovery in modern times. Rapid advances in the physical sciences were paralleled by an expansive growth of knowledge in natural history and the penetration of previously uncharted regions of the earth's surface. Images of Science and Exploration in the Victorian Century examines three of the most notable achievements of the age: the development of the theory of natural selection by Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace; the decades-long search for the Northwest Passage by a succession of British expeditions, including the ill-fated venture of John Franklin; and the discovery by Lord Rayleigh and William Ramsay of argon, the first of the inert gases to be isolated. Manuscripts, portraits, and books in the exhibition are drawn from the holdings of the University of Chicago Library and the collection of a friend of the Library.