Brown Bag Lecture: “Under the Microscope: Journalistes vs. Rapporteurs at the Académie des Sciences, 1824–1836”

Brown Bag Lecture icon
Date: February 11, 2014
Time: 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.

315 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Event Type: Open to the Public
Fee: Free
RSVP Online: No Registration Required

A talk by Alex Csiszar

During the 1820s the extent and power of the political press in Paris expanded by leaps and bounds, culminating in the Revolution of 1830, led in the main by journalists themselves. Coverage of Parisian science, and of meetings of the Académie des Sciences in particular, was a central aspect of this media world. But this science journalism was not primarily a matter of popularizing science: it was just as much about defining the legitimate publics to which scientific claims about the world ought to be addressed in general. The Académie’s own claim to constitute such a public was embodied in its rapports, its written judgments on manuscripts and inventions submitted for its approval. This talk explores the changing relationship between journalistes and rapporteurs during this period, with particular attention to a long-running controversy over microscopes. This controversy prompted major changes in the Académie’s relationship to the press in 1835, when it founded its own weekly journal, the Comptes rendus hebdomadaires.

Alex Csiszar is an assistant professor in the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University. He researches the history of scientific authorship, publishing, and information management in Britain and France, from the French Revolution to the 20th century.

About Brown Bag Lectures

Brown Bag Lectures (BBLs) are a series of weekly informal talks on the history of chemistry or related subjects, including the history and social studies of science, technology, and medicine. Based on original research (sometimes still in progress), these talks are given by local scholars for an audience of CHF staff and fellows and interested members of the public.

For more information, please call 215.873.8289 or e-mail

Register for an event link

Brown Bag Lecture Series

Enjoy a bring-your-own brown-bag lunch while listening to CHF scholars share their research.

Need Meeting Space?

CHF’s state-of-the-art conference center is in Philadelphia’s beautiful historic district.

Fellowships at CHF

CHF’s scholars, who spend anywhere from one to nine months in residence, form a vital part of CHF’s intellectual life.

Support CHF

Help us preserve and share the history of chemistry and related sciences. Make a tax-deductible tax-deductible gift online.