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Forfatteren gjennomgår historiografisk og drøfter kritisk det han oppfatter som de to
hovedsidene ved den «primitivistiske» eller «antropologiske» vendingen i norsk historisk middelalderforskning i de fire siste årtiene – den såkalt substantivistiske oppfatningen av førkapitalistisk økonomi og tanken om et førstatlig samfunn i vikingtid og tidlig middelalder. Det primitivistiske i de to synsmåtene består i at de betoner «fortidens annerledeshet» i forhold til dagens samfunn. Hovedkonklusjonen er at selv om middelalderen på mange måter var annerledes, var den ikke så annerledes som ledende talsmenn for den primitivistisk/antropologiske vendingen har villet ha det til.
The author undertakes a critical examination of the primitivistic or anthropological approach to Norwegian medieval history during the past four decades. He concentrates on what he considers to be the two main aspects of this approach – the so-called substantivistic interpretation of medieval economy and the notion of the pre-state character of the early medieval kingdom. Both views are primitivistic in the sense that they present the past as fundamentally different from the present. The author does not subscribe to the substantivistic tenet that trade from the Viking Age to the high Middle Ages was mainly gift exchange and redistribution administered by political leaders and social elite, and that market trade for economic gain was a marginal phenomenon. He sides with archaeologists who have recently argued that the latter type of trade was already a substantial part of the Viking Age exchange of goods, and argues that it came to dominate in high medieval Norwegian towns. Doubt is cast on the substantivistic doctrines that price setting was not affected by supply and demand, that subsistence and prestige goods were exchanged within separate economic spheres, and that Viking Age emporia and later medieval towns to a large extent functioned as ports of trade where rulers administered the exchange. The author concurs with numismatists who argue that minted money was more available and played a greater role in medieval economic transactions than is maintained by substantivists. As for the pre-state model applied to the early medieval Norwegian kingdom, it is argued that it tends to hamper the recognition of factual state-building tendencies before the mid-twelfth century. Even though medieval economic and political circumstances were undoubtedly different from modern conditions, the main conclusion is that they were not as different as maintained by leading primitivists.
Fridtjof Nansens ekspedisjon med polarskipet «Fram» (1893–96) var
viktig for utviklingen av norsk havforskning. Nansen hadde store ambisjoner og mente norske forskere kunne lede an i utviklingen av fagfeltet internasjonalt. En viktig brikke for å nå dette målet var Roald Amundsen og hans planlagte nordpolekspedisjon, som skulle starte i 1910. Men Nansen skulle møte skuffelser og motstand fra flere hold i sitt forsøk på å bygge opp havforskningen ved Universitetet.
Fridtjof Nansens expedition aboard the polar vessel «Fram» (1893–96) was a great contribution to Norwegian oceanography. The article discusses his attempt to develop oceanography and modern physical geography at the University of Kristiania in the years around 1910. Nansen believed that his research would be of great importance and give new insight to the understanding of the physical nature of the oceans. He also believed that Norwegian scientists would become world-leading oceanographers, but his vision was quickly shattered: His closest colleague, Bjørn Helland-Hansen, who was to become one of the most important figures in the development of oceanography, did not get a position at the university. Nansen could not cooperate with the Director of Fisheries, Johan Hjort, nor did he succeed in establishing the geographical institute that he wished for. He began to feel that the physical expansion of the university – with new museums, hall and library – had become a hindrance to a stronger emphasis on pure research. In addition, Roald Amundsens plan to research the Polar Basin, which was very important for Nansens scientific project, took an unexpected turn to the South Pole – his departure for the North Pole continually postponed.
Med utgangspunkt i kummerlige forhold i den vitenskapelige periferien
av Europa ble, i løpet av en tjueårsperiode, en forskningsgruppe og en forskerskole som måtte regnes med i internasjonal strukturkjemi bygd opp i Oslo. Forfatteren søker å kaste lys over hvordan dette kunne skje. Han behandler den rollen en markert lederskikkelse, Odd Hassel – som vendte tilbake til Norge etter opphold ved ett av Europas ledende naturvitenskapelige forskningssentra – spilte i denne prosessen. Og han drøfter hvordan betingelsene for forskning gradvis ble endret både gjennom internasjonale kontakter og gjennom bearbeidelse av hjemlige betingelser, fram til et markert forskningsgjennombrudd i 1943. Dette gjennombruddet var starten på en utvikling som skulle gi Hassel Nobelprisen i 1969.
In this article, the author explores how a research school was created in Oslo during the 20-year period leading up to WWII. The leading figure was Odd Hassel, who introduced the discipline of structural chemistry in Norway, and who, in 1969, was to receive (together with Derek Barton) the Nobel Prize for his studies of cyclohexane and for having developed conformational analysis. Hassel, then 28 years old, returned to Oslo from Kaiser Wilhelm Gesellschaft in Dahlem in 1925, but met conditions that did not favour advanced scientific work in his field – a situation greatly different from the conditions he had known in Berlin-Dahlem.
The author describes how, from humble beginnings, a scientific milieu that came to enjoy high international reputation gradually developed. He focuses on local conditions for the interchange of scientific ideas, the role of laboratory space and scientific instruments, teaching as a research strategy, and the value of formal academic status, as well as on the significance of an international exchange of ideas, experiences, technical innovation and chemical substances. Finally, he traces the international reorientation of the group during the pre-war years, i.e. from predominantly German to mainly British and American contacts, and how the networks then newly established were disrupted by the outbreak of WWII. Still, a major scientific breakthrough occurred in 1943, during the German occupation, but because of the war it remained largely unknown to the outside world. As soon as the war was over, a determined effort was made to make the scientific results known and accepted in the international scientific community.