University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Cabinet of Natural History > 'Objects, images, books'. Networks of validation in mid-nineteenth-century geology: Italy, France, England

'Objects, images, books'. Networks of validation in mid-nineteenth-century geology: Italy, France, England

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Igino Cocchi (1827-1913), a graduate from the University of Pisa, travelled to Paris and London between April 1854 and the summer of 1857. On behalf of his Pisa mentor, the algologist turned palaeontologist Giuseppe Meneghini (1811-1889), he attended public scientific meetings and visited private collections and salons. His task was to enlist the help of Parisian and British geologists and palaeontologist for the identification of Sardinian fossils. Meneghini was in fact engaged in publishing the palaeontological section of General Alberto della Marmora’s Description géologique of the island.. The repeated conversations he had with authorities ranging from E. de Verneuil, A. d’Orbigny, C. Prevost, A. Brongniart, J. Haime and C.-E. Bayle to J. Barrande, C. Lyell, R. Owen or J. Phillips featured prominently in the correspondence with his teacher in Pisa. The more than one hundred letters the two naturalists exchanged over this period provide a fascinating insight into the complex dynamics of the Paris and London scientific scenes. Cocchi’s youthful and gentlemanlike enthusiasm for his scientific vocation clashed against the reality of the complex and at times unpleasant social negotiations required to accomplish his mission.

This talk is part of the Cabinet of Natural History series.

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