This book is a result of a collaborative research project between historians of science in Berkeley and Uppsala. We began with two objectives. One was to study quantification and mathematization in the 18th century in order to cast light on the character of its science. The other was to give special attention to Sweden as an exemplar of the close connection between science, utility, and economics that marked the activities of the quantifying spirit. We believe that we have shown that the development in leading European countries during the 18th century can be complemented usefully with examples from a small country like Sweden.
The project has progressed through continuous contacts between the two groups of scholars, led by John Heilbron and Tore Frängsmyr. We have discussed the different papers in joint seminars, in Berkeley and in Uppsala, in correspondence between the groups, and within each group. The geographical distance between the two groups sometimes made for problems of communication; it takes time to send papers and reflect upon criticism, especially when ordinary duties intervene. But the stimulating experience of so unusual a transatlantic project more than compensated for the difficulties.
One constant source of stimulation and instruction was the challenge of combining the different views of the two groups. In Sweden, history of science has a humanistic background, against which science is studied as a cultural and social factor. The Berkeley group, in keeping with the emphasis in the United States, is inclined to concentrate on concrete applications or illustrations of quantification in different disciplines. In our efforts to combine these two perspectives, we have had many lengthy and fruitful discussions. We have learned
something from each other. We knew, of course, that history of science must bring together a general cultural outlook and a collection of detailed episodes and illustrations. We have learned from each other ways of accomplishing this difficult task.
The editing turned out to be too much work for two. Robin Rider has been good enough to act as co-editor as well as to contribute a chapter and a bibliographical essay.
It is a pleasure to acknowledge the skill and dedication of the staff of the Office for History of Science and Technology at Berkeley, and especially Diana Wear, who produced the camera-ready copy for this book.
Financial support for the project came from the United States National Science Foundation and the Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga forskningsrådet and Riksbankens Jubileumsfond in Sweden.
ROBIN E. RIDER