[A-C] [D-F] [G-J] [K-N] [O-R] [S-U] [V-Z]
"Collective Memory-Collective Forgetting"
In co-editing a 3000-person biographical dictionary of women in science and recovering material on their history, we have found that they have often been forgotten or misrepresented. Through this project, we hope to recover some of the lost memories and make them available to scholars as a source for additional work. In addition, we point out differences in national projects of recovery of forgotten scientists (French vs. English, German vs. American, etc.). We will also supply examples to illustrate both "collective memory" and "collective forgetting."
"A Skeleton in the Closet of American Political Science: Disciplinary Sympathy Toward Nazism"
During the 1930s American political scientists did not all share unyielding hostility toward Nazism. A number of political scientists took the attitude that Nazi Germany should be studied objectively, that the Nazi regime had its "good" points, and that Americans could learn from the positive achievements of Nazi Germany. The "good" point that attracted the most attention was Nazi public administration. Such views were expressed in the American Political Science Review as late as 1939 and some of the scholars who expressed them went on to have distinguished professional careers, in some cases becoming presidents of the American Political Science Association. The conditions that made sympathy toward aspects of Nazism acceptable included: (a) the depression (b) a legacy of admiration of Prussian administration (c) the extant commitment in the profession to the separation of political ends from techniques, and (d) a preexisting proclivity to regard Italy and Russia as experimental social laboratories.
"Teaching Geology as Historically Contextualized Ideas and Practices"
(Session Abstract): All of the "papers" for this session will be comprised of somewhat informal descriptions of how each panelist, as a historian of science, finds him- or herself teaching undergraduates content other than history. The purpose of the roundtable format is to give us the opportunity to share our experiences, to discuss the challenges and problems that we face, and the exciting or innovative interdisciplinary partnerships that can occur when colleges use a historian of science in the role. The plan of the session is to begin with brief presentations by each of the panelists, to be followed by a free-flowing discussion including the audience members, many of whom may have relevant experiences to contribute, and others of whom are sure to be graduate students seeking some tips on professional training and market "situation." (Paper abstract): I have taught both history to science majors and science to history majors, and my experience has been confirmed from both directions: decoupling a science from its history is a major reason why some students find science so unpalatable. When undergraduates have no idea where knowledge comes from, they resent it. When you contextualize scientific knowledge, it makes more sense to everyone, science majors included. When students see science as something realistically human beings have done, they realize that they too can understand it and perhaps even do it themselves, if they choose to. Of course the task of teaching science must incorporate not only the knowledge (and its history) but also the practices (and theirs).
"Final Causes and Seminal Principles in Gassendi and Boyle"
Pierre Gassendi and Robert Boyle both promulgated versions of the mechanical philosophy, one of the major tenets of which was that all natural phenomena must be explained in terms of matter and motion. They also argued that final causes have an important role to play in natural philosophy. Like many of their contemporaries, they interpreted final causes as God's intentions impressed on the creation. In this way, they avoided the immanent finality associated with Aristotelian natures, doctrines incompatible with the mechanical philosophy. In order to explain how God imposes his intentions on his creatures, both Gassendi and Boyle drew on the Helmontian theory of seminal principles as the material agents of divine will. Both thinkers considered seminal principles to be mechanical particles which introduced order and design into created beings.
"Sam Prescott's Search for the "Perfect Cup of Coffee": MIT and the Culture of Science in the 1920s"
The Depression, Karl Compton, and the Second World War helped transform MIT from a technological institute into the world's premiere school of applied science. This is a story of the way things used to be, during the decade of the Roaring Twenties. It is the tale of Sam Prescott, the head of the Biology Department, the future Dean of Science, who established the Coffee Research Lab in 1920 to search, on behalf of the Joint Coffee Trade Publicity Committee, for the "perfect cup of coffee." The recipe that emerged from Prescott's lab demanded three crucial ingredients: expert culture, a boisterous consumerism, and a bit of Central American commercial colonialism. This Arrowsmithian cuisine would not survive the Depression and the War.
"The history of science in the Netherlands: new trends and challenges"
The practise of history of science in the Netherlands has changed in recent times from a discipline in which the contents of science itself are studied to a broader cultural historical one. This change has generated new fields of research and poses a challenge for historians of science to cooperate with researchers in other fields. In my paper I will give an overview of the present state of the art, and formulate some new perspectives.
"Lord of the Rings: SLAC, CEA, the AEC, and the Flight to Build the First U.S. Electron-Positron Collider"
Even before particle collisions were achieved at the only U.S. electron-electron storage rings ever built, the Stanford portion of that collaboration had begun designing electron-positron storage rings to attach to its two-mile linear accelerator. Soon thereafter the Cambridge Electron Accelerator Laboratory (CEA) announced its intentions to design such rings for its electron synchrotron. In conjunction with the Division of Research at the Atomic Energy Commission, however, all agreed that the government would be unlikely to fund more than one such machine. Thus commenced a period of collaboration and competition in which CEA and the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) combined on design studies while the AEC assembled a group of accelerator physicists led by L. Jackson Laslett to decide between the two proposals. Eventually SLAC was chosen as the more suitable location. Despite the fact that all parties had agreed beforehand to be bound by the Laslett Committee's decision, CEA returned the following year, having "corrected" the inferior section of it s proposal, and requested a re-evaluation. Again the committee decided in Stanford's favor. However, even after this victory SLAC struggled for five more years to get its machine onto the AEC's final construction recommendations to Congress. In the meantime SLAC incorporated modifications suggested by its own research as well as that of CEA. When SLAC finally began building the Stanford Positron-Electron Asymmetric Ring (SPEAR) out of equipment funds in 1970, the completely overhauled design (now no longer even a construction project) resulted in an instrument that was both functional and comparatively inexpensive, in sharp contrast to the machine which had been described in the first proposals.
"PKU and the Concept of Genetic Disease"
Today Pku has become the paradigm of what it means to be a genetic disease. In contrast, in the 1960s, the fact of its being a genetic disease was de-emphasized. This paper will explore this transition and the ramifications of the change in emphasis.
""It was asked him what the splene was": Galenic anatomy and claims of expertise, authority, and morality, among early-modern English surgeons"
During the Renaissance the dissection of the dead became of crucial importance to the living. The introduction of Galenic anatomy in the early-modern era, as part of formal medical training, especially offered learned surgeons an opportunity to make their claims of expertise compelling in the convoluted medical marketplace of Tudor and early Stuart England. As reforms were instigated to control and dignify dissections, learned surgeons trained young barber-surgeons to perceive, experience, and so imagine, the bodies of their future patients in new ways. At the same time moral tensions over anatomy introduced questions of values and ethics in the discourse of medical knowledge. Surgeons, as a group, struggled most visibly with this problem and its lingering taint on their status.
"Learning to See? German Ethnographic Museums, 1900-1914"
With the rise of mass culture and politics during the late nineteenth century came the mass consumption of science in Germany's museums, including those devoted to ethnology. Increasing numbers of visitors from a range of social classes began streaming into German ethnographic museums while ethnologists quickly attempted to shift their focus from creating reliable scientific collections to fashioning popular displays. No longer simply a place for quiet contemplation, these institutions became an integral part of a new public sphere, one in which visitors not only "received" the messages guiding the museums' narratives but began playing increasingly active roles in shaping them. Based on published and archival holdings of ethnographic museums in Hamburg, Berlin, Leipzig and Munich, this paper examines ethnologists' efforts to communicate with their ever-growing publics during the period 1900-1914 and the reception of these efforts by German audiences. These publics, far from being "taught to see," not only influenced the restructuring of the museums' displays, but also the rewriting of their narratives. By following the debates around the new educational mission of ethnographic museums and comparing the new displays that took shape in German cities at this time, we can learn much about the assumptions Germans shared about ethnicity, authenticy, and primitivism, as well as the cultural functions of such museums in Germany around the turn of the century. Moreover, by tracing out the ways in which these publics instructed the practitioners of learned science, and drew on the in formation in museums to construct, or sometimes simply to reinforce, their own visions of the world, we can gain a critical insight into the shifting nature of the public sphere in an increasingly modern age.
"Linking Law and Science"
In this paper, I investigate the philosophical and historical interactions between science (as natural philosophy) and early English Common Law, c. 1580-1640. Specifically, I examine the concepts of law and evidence and how they emerge as methodological standards and descriptive ideals in natural philosophy. A primary focus of the paper is Francis Bacon.
Social mathematics was Condorcet's name for a study that would organize democracy according to the dictates of exact calculation. The "social" referred here to a subject matter, and not to the structure of methods of the mathematics. But subsequent debates about its application to the human domain exposed shared assumptions and disagreements about issues such as purity, certainty, freedom, democracy, trust subjectivity, responsibility, and determinism in relation to mathematics. They also inspired discussion of what mathematics is really about. My paper will address some of these issues in the period from Condorcet to Karl Pearson, the long nineteenth century of social mathematics.
"Pedagogy and Public Culture: Herman Boerhaave and the Fortunes of Leyden"
My paper will discuss the relationship between monetary commerce and the commerce of ideas in the early eighteenth-century Dutch Republic. Herman Boerhaave (1668-1738) was perhaps the most celebrated medical professor of the Eighteenth Century. He held three chairs on the medical faculty at the University of Leyden (c. 1718-29); published influential textbooks in medicine, pharmacy, botany, and chemistry; and was hailed the communis Europae praeceptor. All of this, however, would have been impossible without the continuing support of the university curators and town of Leyden. I shall argue that in a time of relative economic decline. Boerhaave's ability to draw students-and their money-into Leyden was an integral part of his success as a university professor. Because of his economic value to the town, he was able to garner the resources from the curators (who were also the town burgomasters) to rebuild the Leyden botanical garden, refurbish the chemical laboratory, and initiate a program of reform in medical education at the university. Focusing on chemistry, I shall show how Boerhaave's demonstration-lectures simultaneously served the interests of his students-who wanted to know about the "new" philosophies and to be entertained-the curator's economic and social interests, and his own pedagogical interests.
"The Harvard Values Study: Mirror for Post-War Anthropology"
The study, planned and directed by Clyde Kluckhohn, set out to compare values in five New Mexican communities-Navajo, Zuni, Mormon, Texan homesteader, and Hispanic. The goal of the study was to refine the definition of the term "values" and develop a theoretical framework for a universal understanding of values. The organizers of the "Values Study" planned to address these new approaches and to teach and train students in the new techniques. The project involved six years of fieldwork and engaged many good scholars in research, many of whom published extensively. The project that began with such promise-even fanfare-and that expected to deliver a scientific exploration of the hot topic of the time ended quietly. The project is now little known and poorly understood. My presentation will look at the role of the study in the history of anthropology and examine some of the important issues, problems, and unrecognized achievements of the researchers.
"The Fertile Face of Fascism: The Forgotten Breakthroughs of Nazi Cancer Research"
Recent historical work has shown that while certain kinds of science were destroyed under the Nazi regime, other kinds flourished. Sciences of an applied nature were especially encouraged, as were sciences that fit within the larger program of Nazi segregation and extermination. Little attention, though, has been given to Nazi cancer theory and policy. That is curious, given that the Nazi regime launched one of the most comprehensive and successful cancer prevention program of the century, involving bans on smoking, restrictions on carcinogenic food dyes, new steps to limit exposure to asbestos and radiation, and much else as well. How do we explain the vigor of the Nazi anti-cancer campaign? I will argue that efforts to combat cancer were fostered by a national political climate stressing the virtues of racial hygiene and bodily purity. Tobacco, for example, in the Nazi view of the world was a genetic poison; a cause of infertility, cancer, and heart attacks; a drain on national resources and a threat to public health. The aggressive steps taken to combat tobacco were consistent with the regime's larger emphasis on doctor-directed "health leadership" (Gesundheitsfuhrung), embracing both preventive health and the primacy of the public good over individual liberties--the so-called "duty to be healthy" (Gesundheitspflicht). I will discuss several of the ways Nazi ideology actually worked to promote inquiry in certain areas (e.g., research into genotoxicity); I will also explore some of the ways the German tobacco industry responded to the anti-cancer campaign--including the remarkable story of the Tabacologia medicinalis, a Nazi-era "Tobacco Institute" established to discredit Nazi-inspired (and empirically-grounded) tobacco hazards research. The familiar struggles between tobacco critics and tobacco advocates of Britain and the US in the 1950s-1960s are foreshadowed in this astonishing and forgotten chapter of tobacco health politics.
"Scientific Illustration Circa 1600: Drawing, Woodcut and Copper Plate"
Purely decorative drawn or painted depictions of plants and animals in Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts and thematic art works could be very accurate. In scientific works, the advent of the printed book occurred at a time of growing desire and demand for illustrations of the text. Such illustrations were first made using the relatively crude woodcut. In the mid-16th century Ippolito Saliviani revolutionized natural history illustration by using copper plates in Aquatilium animalium historiae (1554); in the life sciences this was fully taken up only around the time when Robert Hooke, a trained artist, made extensive use of the technique in his Micrographia (1665). The fine definition made it possible to apply this technique to detailed illustrations of processes like the metamorphosis of an insect, or even of interventive experiments, and in so doing to study them in even greater depth.
"Denis Papin (1647-1712?): National hero, servile technician, or natural philosopher?"
The public image of Denis Papin has underwent a permanent transformation in the history of science and technology. After Arago's rediscovery in the 1830s of Papin's achievements as inventor, French historians of science of the 19th century placed his name in the pantheon of those heroes of science who suffered persecutions and exile. Accordingly, Ernst Gerland's edition of the correspondence exchanged between G. W. Leibniz, Christiaan Huygens and Denis Papin (Berlin, 1881) openly discarded those letters and papers that did not fit in the then prevalent conception of science. On the ground of this edition, plus the published papers by Denis Papin in the Philosophical Transactions and the Journal des Scavans, and the records of the early Royal Society of London, it has been recently argued that Papin has to be considered either as a mere technician (S. Shapin), or as a failed projector (L. Stewart). The letters and papers left unpublished by Ernst Gerland show, however, that Denis Papin has played an indirect, though important, role in the first stage of the so called "vis viva controversy." Moreover, he reveals himself in those documents as a firm and sharp natural philosopher, deeply engaged in an angry debate on theoretical issues with Leibniz. When put together with the formerly available documents on Denis Papin's works, however, those unpublished texts, far from suggesting a new image of his author as a pure theoretician, will help us to better inquire into the relationships between theoretical science and technological innovation at the end of the 17th century.
""Send me "Annihilation" as Soon as You Can": The Making of Sir David Brewster's Edinburgh Encyclopedia"
Sir David Brewster's Edinburgh Encyclopedia was a monumental project that spanned a period of 22 years. Brewster, an optical physicist of some renown, had received the Rumford medal for his work on the polarization of light, had done considerable work on the stereoscope, and (with some qualification) invented the kaleidoscope. He had been editor of the Edinburgh Magazine for about six years, when in 1808 he decided-with several other proprietors-to create the Edinburgh Encyclopedia. Brewster's ambition was to produce an encyclopedia that, unlike its sloppy and haphazard predecessors, would be scientifically accurate and up-to-date. What Brewster learned very quickly is what virtually every editor of encyclopedias learn and, I should probably add, learn to regret: encyclopedias are costly and time consuming productions that depend on a motley assemblage of contributors whose enthusiasm for the project is minimal at best, and whose skill may even be less than minimal. The purpose of this paper is first, to explore the fate of Brewster's project and second, to address the issue of how compilations of knowledge are driven by both ideological and pragmatic constraints. Brewster's experience will be placed in the context of William Smellie, who compiled the first edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, and Lord Brougham, whose Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge created the Penny Cyclopedia.
"Portraying Plants Circa 1500: A Technique that Failed"
Around 1500, Leonardo da Vinci jotted down directions for making a leaf print and made a print of a sage leaf in his notebooks. This print was long regarded as the first instance of nature printing in the West, but recently discovered examples from Italian manuscript herbals of the late 15th/early sixteenth C (published by Sergio Toresella) and elsewhere show that Leonardo was not unique in experimenting with the ways to record the appearance of plants directly from the plants themselves. This paper discusses the artistic, scientific, and technological contexts for the method and why it failed as a technique for portraying plants.
"The Flux and Reflux of Humboldtian Science"
For a fortnight in June 1835, nine countries-including the U. S. and all of Great Britain-observed simultaneously the oceanic tides bordering their countries and their possessions. Over 650 tidal stations participated. This multi-national venture, which William Whewell affirmed to be the most "multiplied and extensive observations yet encountered in science," is prototypical of what Susan Faye Cannon has termed "Humboldtian science," the predominant mode of scientific research practiced in the early Victorian era. Although Cannon and other historians who have extended Cannon's analysis have sought to describe what Humboldtian science is, none have attempted to analyze how it was organized. I have ventured to uncover the social matrix and internal mechanisms of Humboldtian science through a study of the organization of global tidal research in the early Victorian Era. Recent scholarship has pointed to Whewell and the BAAS as the motivating forces behind early Victorian tidal research. Yet the further one delves into the primary sources providing the actual organization of Humboldtian research, the further one has to climb the scientific iceberg to reach the work of the grand theorists. The actual process of Humboldtian science depended crucially on another rising group, equally responsible for the tremendous growth of research in the geophysical sciences in the early Victorian era: the scientific servicemen of the British Admiralty. Rather than highlighting the accomplishments of the elite theorists in Britain, my research has pointed toward the indefatigable efforts of Sir Francis Beaufort of the Hydrographic Office, Thomas Colby of the Ordinance Survey, and the hundreds of non-commissioned officers in the Royal Engineers and Royal Sappers and Miners. By closely analyzing the organization of global tidal observations in the early Victorian era, with special emphasis on the close connection between the Admiralty and the elite theorists in Britain, I have ventured to outline a more accurate picture of the internal mechanisms involved in Humboldtian science.
"Geometry in the Age of Reason: Euclid and the Enlightenment"
The development of non-Euclidean geometry in the nineteenth century has often been seen as the first successful challenge to the hegemony of Euclidean reasoning, a development that by exposing a deep flaw in the system, dealt a death-blow to the perception that Euclid's Elements were the epitome of a reasoned subject. This interpretation overlooks the myriad issues implied in according a value to Euclidean reasoning in the first place, however. This paper will attempt to open these issues by considering the value of Euclidean as a mathematical ideal, philosophical model, and educational goal in the early eighteenth century.
"Can Gender Ideologies Influence Physical Sciences?"
Not only do physical sciences include many academic fields but the very term science is ambiguous. It can be used to refer to the content of science, to the practices whereby decisions to accept hypotheses and theories are made, to the practices whereby decisions to pursue experiments are made, to the social organization and professional culture of science, to the way scientific knowledge is applied, or to some other aspect of science. The term science also conceals an ambiguity between how scientists actually practice science and how they ought to practice science for that practice to qualify as methodologically legitimate scientific practice. In my presentation I address the question of the title in a way a philosopher would address it. My question is: Is it conceptually possible to even claim that gender ideologies might have influenced methodologically legitimate scientific practice within theoretical physical sciences? Can this claim be interpreted so that it is neither nonsensical nor self-contradictory? There are no a priori reasons, that is, reasons that has to do with the concept of gender ideology or the concept of methodologically legitimate scientific practice, that would preclude such a possibility. Therefore, claims about gender ideology having influenced the practice of physical science are properly understood as empirical hypotheses which belong under the domain of history of science. Thus, even though this presentation addresses a philosophical and not a historical question, I think the results of these philosophical reflections are of interest also for historians of science. A corollary of my argument is that a hypothesis about gender ideology in the culture of physical science does not imply anything about gender ideology in the practice of physical science. This said it is another question whether beliefs that are part of the culture of physical science (possibly including gender ideologies) can come to influence the practice of physical science. My argument aims to sho
w that they can. Another corollary of my argument is that a hypothesis about gender ideology in the practice of physical science does not imply anything about gender ideology in the propositional or representational content physical science. This point is worth emphasizing since the belief that gender ideologies cannot influence physical sciences is often based on the assumption that the only way gender ideologies could influence physical sciences is for gender ideologies to be implicit in the propositional or representational content of physical science. But my argument aims to show that hypotheses about gender ideology in physical sciences can be given a different content. I suggest that the most promising hypothesis about gender ideology in physical sciences is that gender ideologies are embedded in the subjective meanings that a scientist or some scientists give to their scientific activities. These meanings are, properly understood, part of the culture of physical science and not the practice of physical science. Even if these meanings were inconsequential for the practice of physical science, examining them would be an interesting object of study on its own right.
"The Catalogue of the Herschel Library"
The books owned by Sir William Herschel, Kt. and his son Sir John F. W. Herschel , Bart. amounted to more than three thousand titles. The Herschel Library was chiefly a working astronomer's library, heavily weighted with Observatory reports. In addition the scientific prominence of both Herschels brought them a large number of presentation copies of books and journal offprints from friends and colleagues. These alone make up about half the number of titles. As a collection they present a survey of nearly a hundred years of rich scientific achievement embodied in original memoirs by some of the greatest names of late eighteenth century and nineteenth century physical science. Beyond these, the personal interests of the two Herschels is reflected in the books they acquired on their own. These include an extraordinary number of books by minor eighteenth century poets that came from Herschel pere, and books on travel, history, philosophy, economics, mathematics, chemistry and physics that came from his son. Very little fiction is represented.
"Toward the Modern Configuration of the Mathematical Disciplines: Christopher Clavius and the Rejection of Astrology"
That astrology fell out of the scientific Weltanschauung during the course of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries is well known. Indeed, this very fact characterizes a central feature of the rise of the modern world-view. But precisely how this came to pass is by no means fully understood. In this talk, I would like to address what appears to be a significant feature of this transformation: the disappearance of astrology from its traditional configuration within the mathematical disciplines, a position it had held securely at least since the time of Ptolemy. I will focus on an important moment in this transformation: Christopher Clavius's decision to leave astrology outside the range of what he considered proper to teach in a university arts course in mathematics. This decision may seem obvious and unproblematic from our twentieth-century perspective, but, as I hope to show, it was actually a rather major step he took out of the disciplinary configuration which characterizes premodern science (ancient, medieval, renaissance and early modern) and into a configuration, which, in that epoch-making dismissal, moves us into a significantly more modern disciplinary pattern.
14 March 2001 | Contact
HSS | Contact
the Web Editor | Return
© 1995-2001 by the History of Science Society, All Rights Reserved
We've Moved! This site is no longer updated.
Please use our new site at http://www.hssonline.org.