Richard Kirwan and the Royal Irish Academy: Provincial Metropolitanism and the Crisis of the 1790s
The Irish chemist Richard Kirwan (1733–1812) is remembered among historians for his resourceful defense of the phlogiston theory of combustion, but his pursuit of the sciences of the environment has been little studied. This paper considers his work in Ireland in the 1790s, especially on mineralogy and meteorology, and situates it against the backdrop of elite projects for national improvement and armed insurrection against British rule. Kirwan is viewed as having the outlook of a metropolitan intellectual, which he struggled to reconcile with the circumstances of Irish provinciality and an emergent – sometimes militant – nationalism.
History of Science
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Golinski, J.V. “Richard Kirwan and the Royal Irish Academy: Provincial Metropolitanism and the Crisis of the 1790s,” History of Science 54:3 (2016), 257-275.
© The Author(s) 2016