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By Giancarlo Garello

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24 steven a. walton Instrumental Instruments The concept of “instrument” has a convenient double meaning: it is both the material object which measure the world (“devices [which] respond to a physical quantity or phenomenon . . 22 The first level of analysis for military hardware in this period must be to determine what actually became instrumental in the military 18 Oxford English Dictionary, sb. “instrument” 2a, emphasis added. At the time, the 9th Earl of Northumberland would speak of all subordinates in an army as the “Marshall’s instruments in the field”; see Alnwick Castle, Alnwick, Northumberland, MS 512, p.

13 It is only natural, then, that such metonymy would make us assume the critical role of scientific instruments. But that then raises the question of what one means when speaking of objects or ideas being “scientific” and also as “instrumental in warfare”. In what sense are scientific instruments part of, or do they contribute to warfare? We might see such iconic projects as the Manhattan Project, so clearly scientific (albeit in reality a massive engineering challenge more than a scientific one)14 as an obvious example, but in many ways, the scientific instruments used in it were not directly used in war.

13 The fact that these instruments embodied mathematical theory, however simple, set them but one step removed from natural philosophy which was itself becoming more mathematically oriented in some branches. In allying with that field, the gunners felt they could buoy their status within society and the state. 14 In addition, scientific gunnery is often assumed to necessarily mean ballistics á la Galileo, but distinct from his work on external ballistics (the flight of the cannonball), developments on internal ballistics had been ongoing for over a century.

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C.R.D.A. Cant Z 1007 by Giancarlo Garello


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