Tucker, “Popularizing the Cosmos: Pedagogies of Science and Society in Anton Pannekoek’s Life and Work,” Ch. 9 in Chaokang Tai, Bart van der Steen, and Jeroen van Dongen (eds), Anton Pannekoek (1873-1960): Ways of Viewing Science and Society (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2019), 175-197. [Open Access]

My chapter is available via open access here [URL].

Abstract: New expectations about the role of the astronomer in modern life emerged in the early twentieth century. This chapter sketches Anton Pannekoek’s role in fostering new forms of public and political engagements with astronomy. Through his scientific writings and photography, Pannekoek did more than foster the wonders of nature and science. He also presented astronomy as a field that instilled large-scale visions of society and human progress. After considering Pannekoek’s efforts to build stronger connections between science and polity in both galactic astronomy and council communism, it concludes with thoughts about Pannekoek as a key early twentieth-century figure in a new tradition of historical writing about scientific instruments and practice.

Group photo, Anton Pannekoek conference, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Science, Amsterdam, June 8-10, 2016.


Jennifer Tucker is a historian who studies the interrelations of art and science, photography, and mass visual culture, with a specialization in 19th to mid-20th century British, U.S., and trans-Pacific history. The common threads in her diverse research fields are the dynamics of visual media in modern history, the nature of evidence, public perceptions and practices of history, and the interrelationships of science, technology, and the law.


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