The History Of Science Includes Many Who Were Sustained By Quaker Tradition

The history of science and technology includes a remarkable number of well-known persons who were sustained in their scientific activity through their Quaker convictions. Among them: John Dalton of atomic theory fame; Abraham Darby of Coalbrookdale, England, who produced coke from coal for use in iron production, and thus ushered in the industrial revolution; Arthur Eddington, who confirmed Einstein's prediction that light travels on a curved path around the sun; and crystallographer Kathleen

Theodor Benfey
Apr 16, 1995

The history of science and technology includes a remarkable number of well-known persons who were sustained in their scientific activity through their Quaker convictions. Among them:

  • John Dalton of atomic theory fame;
  • Abraham Darby of Coalbrookdale, England, who produced coke from coal for use in iron production, and thus ushered in the industrial revolution;
  • Arthur Eddington, who confirmed Einstein's prediction that light travels on a curved path around the sun; and
  • crystallographer Kathleen Lonsdale, who demonstrated that benzene was a flat regular hexagon, and went to prison in London for her religious opposition to participation in war.
Quakers have never developed a creed and thus have no official teachings about science and technology, or other subjects. The Society of Friends began as a reaction against credal religion, as Friends realized in their own experience that divine guidance and insight required no intermediary religious hierarchy, priest, or sacred book. Quakers found...

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