Genealogy of Popular Science

From Ancient Ecphrasis to Virtual Reality

Despite the efforts of modern scholars to explain the origins of science communication as a social, rhetorical, and aesthetic phenomenon, most researchers approach the popularization of science from the perspective of present issues, thus ignoring its historical roots in classical culture along with its continuities, disruptions, and transformations.

This volume fills this research gap with a genealogically reflected introduction into the popularization of science as a recurrent cultural technique. The category »popular science« is elucidated in interdisciplinary and diachronic dialogue, discussing case studies from all historical periods.

Classicists, archaeologists, medievalists, art historians, sociologists, and historians of science provide the first diachronic and multi-layered approach to the rhetoric techniques, aesthetics, and societal conditions that have shaped the dissemination and reception of scientific knowledge.


  1. Frontmatter

    Seiten 1 - 4
  2. Contents

    Seiten 5 - 8
  3. List of Figures

    Seiten 9 - 12
  4. Preface

    Seiten 13 - 20
  5. Introductory Articles

    The Origins of Popular Science as a Rhetorical and Protreptical Practice

    Seiten 23 - 64
  6. From Rational Recreation to Fun with Science. Continuities in the History of Science Popularization since the Enlightenment

    Seiten 65 - 92
  7. On the Trail of Popular Science in Antiquity

    Mythology and Rhetoric Exercises at the Greek School

    Seiten 95 - 114
  8. The Panathenaic Prize-Amphorae as Communication Media

    Seiten 115 - 130
  9. Popular Knowledge and its Rhetorical Use in Aristotle

    Seiten 131 - 150
  10. Ékphrasis as a Device for Knowledge Dissemination in Euripides

    Seiten 151 - 164
  11. Argument Schemes Related to Popular Science in the Second Sophistic

    Seiten 165 - 178
  12. Knowledge about the Sea and its Creatures in the Roman Empire

    Seiten 179 - 214
  13. The Celestial Axis in Manilius' Astronomica: Making the Invisible Visible

    Seiten 215 - 228
  14. Between Pre-Modernity and the Age of Enlightenment

    Popular Mechanics: Hero of Alexandria from Antiquity to the Renaissance

    Seiten 231 - 254
  15. Knowledge Order and Knowledge Popularization in Pre-Modern Encyclopaedism

    Seiten 255 - 284
  16. Was Cometen eygentlich seyen.* Ways of Imparting Knowledge about the Nature of Comets in Early Modern Ephemeral Literature

    Seiten 285 - 314
  17. More Publicity through Very Short Books. Epitomes in Late Antiquity and the Renaissance

    Seiten 315 - 344
  18. Pictorial Science and Enlightenment Art: Joseph Wright, William Pether, and the Cognitive Effect of Grayscales

    Seiten 345 - 364
  19. Modern Times: Arts and Sciences and Media

    Popularity Despite Anti-Popularization Thinking of Optical Drawing Devices in the Early 19th Century

    Seiten 367 - 390
  20. Wilhelm Lübke. Art History for Feuilletons

    Seiten 391 - 406
  21. Popular Aesthetics of the 19th Century. Ornamental Prints and Pattern Sheets as Actors for Popularization During the 1870s

    Seiten 407 - 424
  22. Wassily Kandinsky's Conception of a Vibration of the Soul: Art Theory at the Crossroads of Esoteric Literature, Popular Science, and Aesthetics

    Seiten 425 - 440
  23. Visual Nature Metaphors of Cybernetics in Popular Science and the Arts

    Seiten 441 - 460
  24. From "The Destroyer of Worlds" to "Atoms for Peace" (and Back?). The Discourse on Nuclear Power in US Popular Science Magazines during the Early Cold War Era

    Seiten 461 - 476
  25. Iconophilia of the Brain, Stage 3? An Epistemic Regime, the Popular Science Magazine Gehirn & Geist, and Visual Culture

    Seiten 477 - 496
  26. Watch and Learn! Image-Based Popularization of Academic Reasoning and Scientific Action in Fictional Movies and Comics

    Seiten 497 - 516
  27. Innovative Popular Science Communication? Materiality, Aesthetics, and Gender in Science Slams

    Seiten 517 - 544
  28. Epilogue

    On Honey, VR Goggles, and Real Medicine

    Seiten 547 - 552
  29. About the Authors

    Seiten 553 - 558
  30. Index of Names and Terms

    Seiten 559 - 586
49,00 € *

24. November 2020, 586 Seiten
ISBN: 978-3-8376-4835-5

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* = Preise inkl. Mehrwertsteuer. Deutschsprachige Bücher = gebundener Ladenpreis, fremdsprachige Bücher = unverbindliche Preisempfehlung. Versandkostenfreie Lieferung innerhalb Deutschlands, für Ausnahmen siehe Details.


Jesús Muñoz Morcillo

Jesús Muñoz Morcillo, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie, Deutschland

Caroline Y. Robertson-von Trotha

Caroline Y. Robertson von Trotha, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie, Deutschland

»A novel and original take on the history of popular science show cases that making science accessible to the public has been part of scientific activity since ancient times.
Thanks to a careful curation of the collection of texts, this volume as a whole offers more than the sum of its parts(chapters).«
Eric Stengler, Journal of Science Communication, 20/5 (2021)
Genealogy of Popular Science From Ancient Ecphrasis to Virtual Reality
transcript Verlag
kart., Dispersionsbindung, 17 SW-Abbildungen, 47 Farbabbildungen
HIS054000 SCI034000 SOC026000 SCI075000 ART015000
24. November 2020
Wissenschaft, Kulturgeschichte, Kunst
Cultural Studies, Classical Philology, Art History, Science History, Social Sciences
Science Communication, Antiquity and Middle Ages, Renaissance and Enlightenment, Modern Visual Culture, Aesthetics and Science Popularization, Science, Art, Cultural History, History of Science, Sociology of Science, Art History, History

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