The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume XIV. The Victorian Age, Part Two.

VIII. The Literature of Science

§ 2. The British Association

At this time, interest in natural philosophy was widely disseminated, and, in science, as in politics and literature, new ideas were readily welcomed. Institutes and scientific societies were founded everywhere, and popular lectures by experts spread broadcast general, though somewhat vague, information on natural philosophy and astronomy. The year 1831 is memorable for the foundation of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. The intention of its promoters was that the Association should meet every year for a few days at a provincial town under a distinguished president, with the object, partly, of encouraging personal intercourse between leading men of science and, partly, of promoting interest in scientific work in the various localities where meetings were held. The meetings led to the regular appointment of expert committees instructed to report on the progress in various subjects; these reports have been, and are, of permanent value.