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Chapter 32:
The Blooming of American Science
The pioneering spirit with which America was founded endowed the country with a hardy people. Much of the success of the industry established here can be attributed to that spirit. So, too, has been the establishment of scientific stature in the United States. By the same token, the fact that the country was undeveloped slowed progress initially. Early contributions to science from America were sporadic. Notable exceptions to this include Joseph Henry (1797 to 1878) who gained fame for his experiments on electromagnetic induction, Josiah Willard Gibbs (1839 to 1903) who was responsible for much of the basic work in modern chemical thermodynamics, and Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz (1807 to 1873) who was a leading geologist, paleontologist, and zoologist. In fact, until a few generations ago, many American scientists went abroad for their advanced education. This began to change about the beginning of the twentieth century, and the change was brought about by true pioneers. The example of William Weber Coblentz (1873 to 1962) dramatizes this.
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