Beckel, Annamarie L. / Breaking new waters : a century of limnology at the University of Wisconsin. Special issue
Beckel, Annamarie L.
Preface, pp. v-vi
Preface v T he development of the science of limnology is inextricably entwined with the careers of Edward Asahel Birge and Chancey Juday, and later with that of Arthur Davis Hasler. The limnological research program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has been one of the foremost in the nation. The research and ideas generated there have played a major role in shaping the growth and development of limnology in North America and abroad. Scientific limnology began with the publication in 1895 of the first two volumes of Alphonse Forel's monograph, "Le Leman; monographie limnologique," which embraced geology, physics, and chemistry (Egerton 1983, Elster 1974). It was the partnership of Birge and Juday, however, that substantially laid the foundations of limnology in North America (Cole 1979, McIntosh 1977, Welch 1935). The work they and their associates performed during the first 40 years of this century marked the onset of modern American limnology and made conditions in Wisconsin lakes a touchstone for later studies in other regions (Cole 1979). Nearly 200 of the 400 scientific reports written by this group were published in the Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters, of which Birge was an active member. As noted by Frey (1963), a chronological listing of the papers and reports arising from their efforts closely parallels the general development of the science of limnology as reflected by changing rationale, methods of attack, and problems being investigated. During their forty-year partnership Birge and Juday had chosen no successor to lead the Wisconsin limnological program. With the death of Juday in 1944 and the waning strength of Birge, research in limnology began to decline, and the Wisconsin school nearly went out of existence. Arthur Hasler, a former student of Juday, returned to the University of Wisconsin as an instructor in 1937. Although he seemed like a natural choice for the next leader of the Wisconsin program, neither Birge nor Juday gave him any help or encouragement in his own research endeavors, which were in an entirely different direction from theirs. Hasler turned away from the descriptive, comparative research conducted by Birge and Juday and established experimental limnology as the hallmark of the Wisconsin school. He was instrumental in reestablishing the reputation of the University of Wisconsin as a leader in limnological research. Hasler retired from teaching and active research in 1978. He made the leadership transition much easier for his successor, John J. Magnuson, than Birge and Juday had for him. Under Magnuson's leadership, the Center for Limnology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison continues to be known internationally for its contributions to the science of limnology. The purpose of this book is to chronicle the century of development in limnology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, from Birge's arrival at the university in 1875 to Hasler's retirement from active research in 1978. The first four chapters take a much different approach than the last chapter written by Frank N. Egerton, an historian of science from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. The first chapters tell the story of Wisconsin limnology from the perspective of the participants—Birge, Juday, Hasler, and their associates—the observers from the "inside." These chapters include relatively little analysis or evaluation of the participants' perspectives or memories—the limnologists themselves tell the story as they saw it. Egerton, on the other hand, considers the
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