William Taussig Scott


This manuscript of the monograph on Michael Polanyi which William Taussig Scott completed in 1992, has not yet been published. An abridged version is to be published in the US soon. We enclose the contents of the unabridged original written by William Taussig Scott, in order to give readers an opportunity to form their own opinion of the enormous project undertaken by the author.

September 1999

Editorial Board of Polanyiana


January 1992

Michael Polanyi

Scientist and Philosopher

Tentative Chapter and Section Readings

I: At the Wheel of the World 
A. Introduction of the Family
B. Hungarian History and 1848 Liberalism 
C.  The Intellectual Elite 

II: Pollacseks and Polanyis 
A. The Family Atmosphere
B. Creativity among Ancestors and Siblings 

III: The Minta and the University 
A. Education in Humanities, Science and Medicine 
B. Poetry and Theater 
C. The Galileo Circle 
D. The Beginning of Research 

IV: Einstein and Nernst: Dialogue with Giants 
From Science Student to Scientific Colleague 

V:  Wartime: 1914-1918 
A. Introduction 
B. Medical Service, Sick Leaves, Attempts at Scientific Work 
C. The Life of Commerce 
D. Isotopes, Controversy and Friendship 
E. Wells and the Sunday Afternooners
F. Dostoievsky and Tolstoi 
G. The Peacemakers 
H. Politics and Oscar Jaszi 

VI: The Genesis, Fall and Resurrection of Michael Polanyi's Adsorption Theory 
A. Theory Creation and the Ph.D. Degree 
B. Defense of the Theory and its Wider Extension 
C. Improved Experiments and Further Evolution of the Potential Theory 
D. Activation Energy and Intermediate State 
E. The Quantum Mechanical Rescue 
Appendix: The Potential Theory of Adsorption 

VII:  Peacetime and Domestic Life 
A. Post-War Hungarian Politics 
B. Karlsruhe 1919 - 1920: Friendship and Courtship 
C. Marriage and Family 
D. The Advent of George Polanyi 

VIII:  Working up to Speed on Chemical Reactions 
A. The First Papers 
B. Resolution of the Magic 

IX:  X-Rays and Crystals: Cooking a Piece of Meat 
A. The Fiber Institute and Immediate Success 
B. The Structure of Cellulose 
C. Fiber Diagram Theory and New Applications 
D. Teamwork on Inflation and Crystal Stretching 
E. Recrystallization and the Structure of Tin: Two Controversies 
F. Beyond the Meat Dish 
Appendix: Polanyi's X-ray Analysis 

X:  Reaction Velocity: The "World Problem" 
A. Preparations 
B. The Flame Experiments 
C. New Ways to Do the Experiments 
Appendix: Basic Theory of the Flame Experiments 

XI:  The Flowering in and out of Berlin: Domestic, Social and Philosophical Life 
A. Housing and Financial Burdens 
B. Domesticity and Friendships 
C. Reflections on Marriage and Romance 
D. Philosophical Reflections 
E. Polanyi's Move into Economics and Social Theory 
F. The Trip to America 
G. More Attention to Economics 
H. The Wider Family 

XII:  The Transition State Theory 
A. The Beginnings 
B. A Model for the Simplest Case 
C. First Applications 

XIII:  The Move to Manchester 
A. The Offer of a Position 
B. The Rise of Hitler and the Second Offer 
C. The Last Days in Berlin 
D. Beginnings in Manchester 
E. Tensions with Karl 

XIV:  Manchester Chemistry 1933-1939 
A. Ready to Go: The Manchester Laboratories 
B. Deuterium in Hydrogen Catalysis 
C. Heavy Oxygen as a Tracer 
D. More Flame-Type Experiments 
E. Reactions with Electron Switching 
F. Thermodynamics and Transition Rates 

XV:  Economic Education: A Book and a Film 
A. USSR Economics 
B. Rationale for the Film
C. More Lessons of History 
D. Film Production 
E. Film Promotion and Frustration 

XVI:  Battles for Truth 

XVII:  Wartime, Tragedy, and Social Theory 
A. The Onset of War and Polanyi's Chosen Task 
B. The War Heats Up 
C. The Society for Freedom in Science 
D. More Writing on Liberalism and Socialism 
E. The Law 
F. The Tragedy of the Szecsis 
G. The "Growth of Thought" and a Book on the Scientific Life 

XVIII: Full Employment and Free Trade 
A. Start of Work on the Economics Book 
B. Neutrality, Interest-Free Money Creation, Free Trade and Control of Inflation 
C. The Reception of the Book 
D. Karl Polanyi's The Great Transformation 

XIX:  The Grounding of Polanyi's Religion 
A. Background 
B. The English and the Continent 
C. Mannheim, Oldham and the Moot 

XX:  Science, Faith and Society 
A. Background and Preparation 
B. The Lectures 

XXI:  The Logic of Liberty and the Gifford Lectures
A. Preliminaries 
B. Invitation and the New Chair 
C. First Stages of Preparation of the Gifford Lectures 
D. Changing Disciplines 
E. Joining the New Department 
F. The Logic of Liberty
G. Lecturing in Chicago
H. A Permanent Post in Chicago? 
I. Gifford Lectures, I: Commitment 
J. Visa Problems 
K. Gifford Lectures, II: Personal Knowledge 

XXII:  The Writing of Personal Knowledge 
A. Five Busy Years 
B. The Text of Personal Knowledge

XXIII:  No Longer an Invisible Man 
A. From Manchester to Oxford 
B. Further Development in Lecturing and Writing 
C. Family Visits 
D. Art, Religion, and Meaning
E. Last Days 

Polanyiana Volume 8, Number 12, 1999

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