“Lichtenberg Figures: Visualizations of Electricity in Science and Culture” – thematic issue of the journal Theory of Science

In 1777, Georg Christoph Lichtenberg observed dust formations on his electrophorus, a device generating static electricity through induction. These lasting visible traces, generally referred to as “Lichtenberg figures”, were the earliest visualizations of electricity. Lichtenberg called them “projections” and understood them as a specific kind of secret writing by means of which nature manifests itself. In the late 18th century and especially during the 19th century an increasing number of inscription devices and instruments were developed; by fixing transient phenomena and producing graphic records to be read and analyzed they have redefined both practices and concepts of scientific observation and objectivity.

For the thematic issue of Theory of Science, which will also feature an English translation of Lichtenberg’s 1778 lecture „On a New Method of Investigating the Nature and Movement of the Electric Fluid“, we seek articles addressing the problems of visualizing electricity in the 18th and 19th centuries; the relationships among instruments, graphic records, concepts and theories; Lichtenberg’s thoughts on art and science; as well as the subsequent developments of Lichtenberg figures in science and culture.

Abstracts (c. 300 words) with a short biographical note are due 31 May 2017.

Full articles will be expected by 30 September 2017.

Please, send your abstracts or any preliminary queries to teorievedy@flu.cas.cz