University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The State of Wisconsin Collection

Page View

Beckel, Annamarie L. / Breaking new waters : a century of limnology at the University of Wisconsin. Special issue
volume

Beckel, Annamarie L.
Preface,   pp. v-vi


Page v

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 


Go up to Top of Page