Duncan and Son: changing professional boundaries in the geological and medical sciences in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries
Tim Carter, Anne Spurgeon, 2017. "Duncan and Son: changing professional boundaries in the geological and medical sciences in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries", Geology and Medicine: Historical Connections, C.J. Duffin, C. Gardner-Thorpe, R. T. J. Moody
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The concept of the professional changed markedly from the mid-nineteenth to the early twentieth century. The contrasting careers of Peter Martin Duncan, father, and Cecil Cooke Duncan, son, provide a vignette of these changes in two people who were both actively engaged in geological and medical activities. Peter Martin trained as a doctor and practised for some 20 years. He later became Professor of Geology at Kings College, London and both Secretary and President of the Geological Society. He was a prolific author of both learned articles and books on science for the general public. In his time it was acceptable to combine all these roles into a single career. Cecil trained as a chemist. His career was as the public analyst in Worcester at a time when these posts were becoming professionalized. He contributed to control of health risks in the county. To him geology and natural history were serious leisure pastimes rather than part of his professionally defined career. Father and son therefore show the move from the time when there were fluid disciplinary boundaries to one where a single professional discipline defined and bounded working life and other areas of study became a matter for non-working hours.