UCLA » College » Social Sciences » History
Faculty

M. Norton Wise


Professor Emeritus


Contact Information

Email    NORTONW@HISTORY.UCLA.EDU
Office  5262 Bunche Hall
Phone  310-825-4764

M. Norton Wise works on topics from the late 18th century to the present, specializing in the history of physics and paying particular attention to the relations between science and industrialization. With Crosbie Smith, he wrote Energy and Empire:A Biographical study of Lord Kelvin, which shows how the great transformation of physics in the mid-nineteenth century--yielding thermodynamics, electromagnetic theory, and the theory of vortex atoms--grew up together with the problems of steam engines, telegraph cables, and vortex turbines. His series on “Work and Waste: Political Economy and Natural Philosophy in 19th Century Britain” developed the point further to show how the steam engine functioned as an active mediator between industrial and scientific interests, with the “work done” by the engine measuring both “labor value” in economics and “energy” in physics. On a much broader scale the volume he edited on The Values of Precision developed the theme that the blossoming of precision measurement from the late 18th century through the 19th expressed the values and requirements of states attempting to centralize their control and of traders seeking to extend their reach over larger areas.

More recently Wise has been contributing to the historiographical development of “cultural history of science”, exploring the ways in which major developments in the sciences emerge from intensely local and contingent circumstances. He is completing a book on Bourgeois Berlin and Laboratory Science, which draws the young men who formed the famous Berlin Physical Society in 1845—Du Bois-Reymond, Helmholtz, Siemens, and others?out of a dense network of personal relations and institutional affiliations extending across the fine arts, technical expertise, and military education. A taste of this style of history can be obtained from “Reform in the Garden” (click here) or its more extensive version “Staging an Empire” (see vita below), which show how an English garden near Berlin helped to project British steam technology, along with dreams of industry and empire, into the Prussian landscape.

Previous Courses by Term

2016 Winter Quarter

History of Modern Thought

2015 Fall Quarter

History of Modern Thought

2015 Spring Quarter
2015 Winter Quarter

History of Modern Thought

2014 Fall Quarter

History of Modern Thought

2014 Spring Quarter

Seminar: History of Science

2014 Winter Quarter

Seminar: History of Science

2013 Spring Quarter

History of Modern Thought: Special Topics

Topics in History: Science/Technology

2013 Winter Quarter

History of Modern Thought

2012 Fall Quarter

History of Modern Thought

2011 Winter Quarter

History of Modern Thought

Seminar: History of Science

2010 Fall Quarter

History of Modern Thought

Seminar: History of Science

2010 Winter Quarter

History of Modern Thought

Capstone Seminar: History -- Science/Technology

Topics in History: Science/Technology

2009 Winter Quarter

Undergraduate Variable Topics Research Seminars: History -- Science/Technology

2008 Winter Quarter

History of Modern Thought

Topics in History: Science/Technology

2007 Winter Quarter

History of Modern Thought

Seminar: History of Science

2006 Fall Quarter

Seminar: History of Science

2006 Winter Quarter

History of Modern Thought

Topics in History of Science

2005 Fall Quarter

History of Modern Thought

Introduction to History of Science: History of Science from Newton to Darwin

Advanced Historiography: Science/Technology

2004 Fall Quarter

Introduction to History of Science: History of Science from Newton to Darwin

2004 Winter Quarter

Introduction to History of Science: History of Science from Newton to Darwin

2003 Fall Quarter

Topics in History of Science

2003 Summer Session

Introduction to History of Science: History of Science from Newton to Darwin

2003 Winter Quarter

Introduction to History of Science: History of Science from Newton to Darwin

2002 Fall Quarter

History of Modern Thought

Undergraduate Seminar

Advanced Historiography: Science/Technology

Topics in History: Science/Technology

2002 Winter Quarter

Introduction to History of Science: Physical Sciences since the Enlightenment

2001 Winter Quarter

Introduction to History of Science: Physical Sciences since the Enlightenment

Previous Courses by Course

GE CLST 21B
History of Modern Thought

2016 Winter Quarter

2015 Winter Quarter

2013 Winter Quarter

2011 Winter Quarter

2010 Winter Quarter

2008 Winter Quarter

2007 Winter Quarter

2006 Winter Quarter

GE CLST 21A
History of Modern Thought

2015 Fall Quarter

2014 Fall Quarter

2012 Fall Quarter

2010 Fall Quarter

2005 Fall Quarter

2002 Fall Quarter

HIST 297B
Seminar: History of Science

2014 Spring Quarter

2011 Winter Quarter

2007 Winter Quarter

HIST 297A
Seminar: History of Science

2014 Winter Quarter

2010 Fall Quarter

2006 Fall Quarter

HIST 201O
Topics in History: Science/Technology

2013 Spring Quarter

2010 Winter Quarter

2008 Winter Quarter

2002 Fall Quarter

HIST 191I
Capstone Seminar: History -- Science/Technology

2010 Winter Quarter

HIST 191I
Undergraduate Variable Topics Research Seminars: History -- Science/Technology

2009 Winter Quarter

HIST 180A
Topics in History of Science

2006 Winter Quarter

HIST 200O
Advanced Historiography: Science/Technology

2005 Fall Quarter

2002 Fall Quarter

HIST 3B
Introduction to History of Science: History of Science from Newton to Darwin

2005 Fall Quarter

2004 Fall Quarter

2004 Winter Quarter

2003 Summer Session

2003 Winter Quarter

HIST 195E
Topics in History of Science

2003 Fall Quarter

HIST 197O
Undergraduate Seminar

2002 Fall Quarter

HIST 3B
Introduction to History of Science: Physical Sciences since the Enlightenment

2002 Winter Quarter

2001 Winter Quarter