Making the Most Beautiful ExperimentReconstructing Gassiot’s Cascade

Type Chapter
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStaging Science
Subtitle of host publicationScientific Performance on Street, Stage and Screen
EditorsMartin Willis
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherSpringer Nature
Pages11-33
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781137499943
ISBN (Print)9781137499936, 1137499931
DOI
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2016

Publication series

NamePalgrave Studies in Literature, Science and Medicine
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Abstract

Iwan Rhys Morus investigates the electrical performances of Charles Gassiot, who demonstrated his electrical coil, and especially its most famous instantiation as the cascade, to numerous public audiences through the 1850s. Morus considers the extensive knowledge—both technical and scientific—that was required to stage the cascade demonstrations and reveals the numerous networks of production that contributed to it. In doing this, and in revealing the complex skills required to make such performances work, Morus also shows how these popular demonstrations fed back into the skills needed for scientific experimentation and claims that without them late Victorian physics would have lacked the expertise it needed to investigate.