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July 19, 1952

Thomas Jefferson: Scientist

Author Affiliations

By Edwin T. Martin. Cloth. $4. Pp. 289, with illustrations. Henry Schuman, Inc., Publishers, 20 E. 70th St., New York 21, 1952.

JAMA. 1952;149(12):1172. doi:10.1001/jama.1952.02930290094044

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This book is representative of the vast amount of scholarly research on Jefferson that has been going on since his bicentennial in 1943. It provides a fascinating account of a great American president's intellectual curiosity, which brought him into intimate relation with an extraordinary range of scientific fields: botany, geology, medicine, meteorology, agriculture, architecture, astronomy, chemistry, paleontology, ethnology, exploration, invention, and archeology. In these diverse fields Jefferson's insatiable thirst for knowledge was coupled with the desire that the benefits of science be made available to his fellow men so that their lot might be progressively bettered. But perhaps more important than his search for daily application of scientific knowledge to useful social ends was Jefferson's ardent championship of the freedom of scientific inquiry. He maintained that circumscribing free scientific inquiry could only retard "all advances in science as dangerous innovations." Throughout his long life Jefferson expressed a profound belief in

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