In the nineteenth-century globalizing world of colonial expansion and maritime trade, systematic study of ocean currents and winds became of increased concern in various seafaring nations. Both naval officers and university professors engaged in maritime meteorological and hydrographic research. In order to attract the attention of the state and obtain support for establishment of national scientific institutes, university professors teamed up with naval officers in building networks for maritime data collection, thus connecting practical utility to academic credentials. This paper looks into the combined efforts of the U.S. Navy lieutenant M. F. Maury and the Dutch naval officer M. H. Jansen in organizing the 1853 International Maritime Conference in Brussels, which aimed to develop a worldwide system of uniform atmospheric and marine observations. Such efforts, however, amounted to walking a tightrope between mutual interests and personal rivalries. The alliance between elite scientists and naval officers proved to be only temporary. Once the meteorological institutes were established, academically trained meteorologists gradually marginalized the role of naval officers in scientific research at the institutes, thereby establishing and securing their authority in maritime science.
|Journal||Isis. Current bibliography of the history of science and its cultural influences|
|Publication status||Published - 2015|