September 25, 2023
One in a series of posts via which HILOBROW’S Josh Glenn will attempt to depict the intellectual and emotional highs and lows of developing a semiotic schema. Series dedicated to its target audience of one: Malcolm Evans.
William Herschel (1738–1822) was a German-born British astronomer and composer. In 1781 he discovered Uranus — the first planet to be discovered since antiquity. (Keats alludes to Herschel’s discovery of Uranus in “On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer”: “Then felt I like some watcher of the skies / When a new planet swims into his ken.”)
Herschel pioneered the use of astronomical spectrophotometry, using prisms and temperature measuring equipment to measure the wavelength distribution of stellar spectra. In the course of these investigations, and assisted by his sister Caroline (who’d become the first woman to work as a professional astronomer), Herschel discovered infrared radiation; and he was the first to propose a model of our galaxy based on observation and measurement. The steel-engraved print here is found on a page of Rees’ The Cyclopaedia; or, Universal Dictionary of Arts, Sciences and Literature (serialized 1802–1820). The diagram — which bears a close resemblance to my own G-schema — is apparently related to some aspect of Herschel’s 1790 rendering of the Milky Way.
MORE FURSHLUGGINER THEORIES BY JOSH GLENN: SCHEMATIZING | IN CAHOOTS | JOSH’S MIDJOURNEY | POPSZTÁR SAMIZDAT | VIRUS VIGILANTE | TAKING THE MICKEY | WE ARE IRON MAN | AND WE LIVED BENEATH THE WAVES | IS IT A CHAMBER POT? | I’D LIKE TO FORCE THE WORLD TO SING | THE ARGONAUT FOLLY | THE PERFECT FLANEUR | THE TWENTIETH DAY OF JANUARY | THE REAL THING | THE YHWH VIRUS | THE SWEETEST HANGOVER | THE ORIGINAL STOOGE | BACK TO UTOPIA | FAKE AUTHENTICITY | CAMP, KITSCH & CHEESE | THE UNCLE HYPOTHESIS | MEET THE SEMIONAUTS | THE ABDUCTIVE METHOD | ORIGIN OF THE POGO | THE BLACK IRON PRISON | BLUE KRISHMA | BIG MAL LIVES | SCHMOOZITSU | YOU DOWN WITH VCP? | CALVIN PEEING MEME | DANIEL CLOWES: AGAINST GROOVY | DEBATING IN A VACUUM | PLUPERFECT PDA | SHOCKING BLOCKING.