HSS 2000 Abstracts
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The paper will examine the issue of the scientific representation of the celestial world introduced with Galileo's telescope. During the 16th century, the developments of linear perspective contributed to clarifying problems associated with the representation of the Ptolemaic planisphere, and made possible the diffusion of terrestrial globes in perspectival projection (Dürer), as well as the elaboration of the new orthographic projection of Juan de Rojas. Not only did the invention of the telescope shorten astronomic distances and render feasible the geometric representation of the celestial world, but color, light, and chiaroscuro were introduced in the graphic repertory of scientific representation. It should not be excluded that the treatise De visu et coloribus as ideated by Galileo would have taken into account new considerations on the effect of lenses on vision. The whiteness of the moon, or the light reflected, is one of the issues to emerge from observations made by Galileo and his painter friend, Ludovico Cigoli, to whom we owe not only the first true portrait of the moon but also, the first comparison between the eye and the camera oscura that would lead to the telescopic representation of sunspots. Galileo based his explanation of sunspots and other problems related to celestial observation (comets, the rings of Saturn, the phases of Venus) on the laws of linear perspective which Cigoli had illustrated in detail in his voluminous treatise. The importance of representation in scientific research appears most evident in the debate over sunspots when one of its proponents, Christopher Scheiner, assumed as a pseudonym the name of Apelles, a famous painter in antiquity.
In the nineteenth century, Latin American countries faced the challenge of building nations out of scratch while contending with a multiplicity of centrifugal forces tearing them apart. Historical narratives, we are now told, have been central to the emergence of nations as communities of citizens. Historical narratives have also proved important in their undoing. "Nature" narratives might have played a similar role by either facilitating or obstructing the consolidation of these imagined communities. The search for "typical" local, regional, and national landscapes, the surveying and mapping of territories, the study of how climate affects labor, culture, and the economy exercised the imagination of Latin Americans in the nineteenth century. I seek to explore how these processes both facilitated and impeded the emergence of the new nations.
In the early years of the People's Republic of China, scientific disciplines were claimed to carry distinctive ideological character. The Communist Party promoted one school while devaluing others from an ideological rather than a scientific standpoint. The domination of Lysenko biology and the suppression of Morgan's genetics in China during the 1950s and 1960s are a well-documented example. The paper is going to review other cases--the ban of sociology, the criticism of Pauling's theory of the chemical bond and the attack of Einstein's theory of relativity, and answer the question of why ideology came into play in Chinese science. It is the Soviet influence, the difference in the training of Chinese scientists and China's political climate that made a field proletarian or revolutionary, and bourgeois or reactionary, which resulted in the different destination for the field and for scientists working on it.
In this paper, I will examine in detail one part of this story of the co-production of notions of merit and social order, the development of the civilian group intelligence test in the United States and the reverberations its deployment and use on a mass scale engendered in the inter-war period. To its promoters, measurements of intelligence promised simultaneously to reveal one of the fundamental characteristics of an individual's nature and to allow social decisions about that person to be made according to seemingly objective and neutral criteria. To its critics, the vogue of intelligence threatened to undercut the very premise of American democracy by naturalizing a social hierarchy and substituting the norms of a particular group for those of the whole. By investigating how this new technology for ranking and sorting the population was constructed, what effects it had when appropriated by schools, industry, and government, and what reactions it elicited, I hope to illuminate how ways of doing science and ways of doing governance intersected and informed one another. In the process, I will also examine how the dual visibilities produced by intelligence tests-the visibility of the individual to decision-making authorities and the visibility of the decision-making process to the citizenry-intertwined, and how both forms of visibility came to seem unmediated and trustworthy.
This paper investigates the contribution of the historian of science Hélène Metzger (Chatou en Seine-et-Oise, France, 1889 - en route to Auschwitz 1944) to the debates on the writing of history of science which took place in France in the period between the two world wars. My evaluation of her ideas results from an analysis of the discussions held at the Centre de synthèse the courses she gave at the Institute for history of the sciences and technology of the Sorbonne and at the École pratique des Hautes Études, where she replaced Alexandre Koyré her work for the International committee for history of science her correspondence with George Sarton and her own historiographical writings and her works on history of chemistry. The examination of Metzger's point of view is a way to investigate the contemporary conception of history of science as the study of the mind and as total history. The former conception institutionally derived from French history of science having its roots in Philosophy Departments, theoretically implied a conception of science as cultural production and an emphasis on the study of 'mentalities' behind that production. The conception of history of science as total history likewise recognised science as a cultural production. Moreover, it implied the necessity, as Metzger often stressed, of studying any aspects of cultural and social history in order to understand past science. Metzger's point of view on the ideas expressed in these institutions and circles are particularly interesting because of her peculiar position as a Jewish woman trying to 'conquer a real post' in academia, as she put it. Jews were only then starting pursuing academic careers in France but this applied to men, who often married Jewish wealthy women apart from a handful of illustrious exceptions, women had no positions in French universities of the time.
In this proposed project I shall investigate the nature of the research carried out and discussed during a series of symposia in Hermann Scherchen's studio in Gravesano, Switzerland in the years from 1954 to 1966. Till now, there has been no comprehensive study of the activities in Scherchen's Gravesano studio, and their important role in the development of music technology with the purpose to reveal the universal nature of music and music perception through science. In connection with the conferences, Scherchen published articles, reviews, etc. in the periodical Gravesaner Blätter, eine Vierteljahresschrift für musikalische, elektroakustische und schallwissenschaftliche Grenzprobleme (1955-66). The papers cover topics ranging from scientific papers on acoustics and psycho-acoustics in the tradition of "Systematische Musikwissenschaft" articles on sociology, music consumption, radio and recording technology and, finally, studio reports. The ideological framework was based on Scherchen's vision of music technology as a means of fulfilling 19th-century notions of art music as a universal language and, hence, a key to global understanding. The Gravesano activities appear to have been rooted in an urge to develop techniques to create a music culture of the future that was based on aesthetic principles of the past. Their actual implementation through scientifically founded research were based on the principles of information theory. Institutional support was provided by UNESCO under the auspices of the International Music Council, but Scherchen also collaborated with commercial companies. This places the Gravesano Project in a much larger framework of cultural institutionalization and industrialization. The "Tagungen" reveal an underlying philosophy in which there is a belief that there exists one music that, through its affinity with the laws of human perception, is superior to others, and hence universal to humankind. However, the seemingly inconclusive results of the "Tagungen" do indeed serve to raise the question of whether music and science are incommensurate domains that obey rules or conventions that cannot be translated from one to the other.
The Japanese establishment of Shanghai Natural Science Institute in 1923 was a product of cultural exchange and international coalition for scientific advancement such as endemic disease investigation, plague prevention and pharmaceutical production of Chinese herbal medicine. However, as the Institute gradually developed into an intelligence organ of the Japanese State in the times of Sino-Japanese conflicts (1928, 1931 and 1937-45), the Institute became a reality of cultural invasion and posed an imperialistic threat to the geobody of Chinese nation. Against such a historical backdrop, the knowledge of taxonomy emerged as a prioritized subject in Chinese scientific community in order to facilitate the recognition and protection of the nation's natural resources. This paper first foregrounds the international context in which the founding of the Institute was envisioned. It then analyzes the ambivalent sentiments and positioning between the Chinese and the Japanese scientists in the setting of the Institute. Subsequently, it focuses on the Chinese debate on taxonomy versus experiment within the discipline of biology, and finally concludes with the socioeconomic ramification and political implication of transnational science.
In this talk I intend to examine Theodor Boveri's efforts to explore the "constitution of the chromatic substance of the cell nucleus" through a series of sophisticated morphological and experimental procedures that were ostensibly a reflection of the moving frontier of the microscopical research of the day. His investigations drew together a broad range of loosely connected biological phenomena into a new conception of chromosomes. His achievements were rigorous in technique and argumentation - well beyond the standards of contermporary biology, and his results became the foundation of what is now known as "classical genetics". At the height of his career Boveri presented his research as a new science, which he described as the "Embronalanalyse des Zellkerns." Its procedural details, however, turned out to have only short term implications for the development of genetics and embryology.
Long regarded as a hierarchical, organic model of society, the bee-hive - together with ant and termite colonies - became more than the traditional preserve of monarchists in the late eighteenth century. Social insects supplied important evidence for Enlightenment values that challenged the hierarchy in nature and society. As natural history metamorphosed into a history of nature, the habits, instincts, and intelligence of insects threatened to blur or extinguish the distinction between man and beast. Combined with a renewed commitment to a hierarchical Natural System of classification, the concern with the divide between instinct and intelligence elevated the status of insects in natural history discussions. Through an exploration of the interconnections of physiocracy, quinarianism, and instinct/intelligence disputes, this paper examines the manner in which partisan sectarianism shaped perceptions of the natural world in the 'age of revolutions.'
Nani N. Clow Max-Planck-Institut for History of Science
This paper examines changing approaches to psychical research within the British Society for Psychical Research (SPR) from the 1880s to the 1920s. Taking their cue from the experimental researches on psychic phenomena of such scientists as William Barrett and William Crookes during the 1860s and 1870s, the Society for Psychical Research (established in 1882) was modeled explicitly on the Royal Society with the purpose of "producing and examining [psychic] phenomena as it were in a laboratory." Aiming to integrate "scrupulous honesty" with "painstaking precision" the SPR recruited scientists--and especially physicists--to serve as investigators for their researches on phenomena which ranged from thought-transference to spirit manifestations. Thus, in the early years of the SPRs existence, overwhelming emphasis was placed upon the credibility, experimental methods and apparatus employed by investigators such as Oliver Lodge, J. J. Thomson, and Lord Rayleigh. Until the final years of the century, scientists were crucial to the undertaking of psychical research for two reasons. First, they were most capable of exporting experimental apparatus as well as research techniques into the seance room. Second, scientists were considered--by the nature of their profession--highly qualified as honest and precise observers above the suspicions of collusion or confederacy in the case of fraud. However, by the turn of the century, this position came to be challenged from both within and outside of the SPR. The SPR investigator J. G. Piddington and the arch-skeptic Dr. Charles Mercier both argued that the methods of scientific investigation and observation did not necessarily imbibe the scientist with the skills or ability to investigate psychic phenomena. By the1900s, the arguments that had been used to establish the SPR as a scientific organization and that had led scientists to hold a privileged position in psychical research, were exactly the arguments used against them by critics such as Mercier. This paper will examine this shift, and the controversies surrounding it, from several aspects. First, it will examine the detailed debates within the SPR concerning scientific method and the use of apparatus that arose around, for example, the exposure of the fraudulent medium Eusapia Palladino in the mid-1890s. Investigators such as Oliver Lodge and Henry and Eleanor Sidgwick began to reexamine their positions concerning the integration of apparatus into experimentation on the phenomena. Standard uses of technologies in psychical research had focused on both measuring effects and controlling the medium. Oliver Lodge and the conjurer J. N. Maskelyne explored the ways in which experimental apparatus could be used against investigators to produce fraudulent effects--leading Lodge to conclude that uses of technology in investigation might distract the observer more than assuring the validity of results. In conjunction with this, debates concerning the relative validity of spirit photography in the 1920s brought issues of the use of apparatus and instruments in psychical research to the fore. Scientists like Lodge, who had been at the forefront of improving the apparatus, films and techniques of x-ray photography for both diagnostic and research purposes, flatly rejected the utility of photography for the recording of spirit phenomena. Finally, this paper will conclude with the argument that a renaissance of the experimental techniques, methods, and apparatus employed by the SPR in the 1880s and 1890s (when its research program emphasized the implementation of experimental technologies) occurred in the 1920s and 1930s. Research programs based at Duke, Princeton, and the University of Pennsylvania explicitly drew upon the technologies and methods employed by the SPR to investigate psychic phenomena.
In answer to his question "What is Life?" Erwin Schroedinger located the uniqueness of living things in the balance between the persistence of their general forms and their potential for random variation. This vision of variability as the signature of the organic will be the focus of my talk. In the nineteenth century, writers in German from Goethe and Schelling to Houston Stewart Chamberlain sought the essence of the organic in nature's fluctuations--from the rise and fall of a barometer, to changes in seasonal temperatures from year to year, to physical variations between members of the same species. My talk will consider how nature's fluctuations turned from a literary trope associated with Naturphilosophie into a new field of twentieth-century physics, that of Schwankungserscheinungen. Breaking with the firmly entrenched method of paring away the "scatter" in experimental measurements to focus on the "normal" value, Schroedinger was among a group of German-speaking physicists who came to treat fluctuations as phenomena in their own right. In radioactivity, for example, instead of imposing regularity on their measurements like colleagues abroad, Schroedinger and his Viennese collaborators mapped out the distribution of fluctuations and looked to its graphical form for insight into the character of the process. In studies of color perception these same Viennese physicists insisted on the irreduceable variability between observers. In rejecting the significance of averages and problematizing the notion experimental error, Schroedinger and his colleagues took an approach that might be termed "morphological." The premise of their method seems to have mirrored Goethe's axiom that there is no such thing as a "normal" member of a species, nor an "error of nature."
In the two decades following World War Two experimental psychology experienced the Cognitive Revolution. Early adherents of the cognitive perspective saw their work as a fundamentally interdisciplinary project. In fact, it was this interdisciplinarity which helped cognitively oriented psychologists overcome objections raised by behaviorists such as B.F. Skinner to the scientific study of mind. But, the advantage the cognitive perspective drew from its interdisciplinary stance did not rely only upon the specific ideas that psychologists could import from neighboring disciplines. Instead, a significant part of the benefit cognitive psychology derived from being interdisciplinary rested on the two features of the Cold War's cultural climate. First, many attributed America's technical success in WWII to the interdisciplinary nature of the war-related research programs--most notably that of the Manhattan Project. They further believed that this war-time experience demonstrated that the best way to conduct research would be on a similar interdisciplinary basis. Second, from the late 1940s through the 1960s, thought carried political and moral significance. For many in this period rational thinking and freedom of thought were seen as intimately related and as the foundations of democracy. At the same time, irrational, ideological, and totalitarian thinking (which were commonly equated one to the other) were seen as anti-democratic. If types of thinking could be characterized with political labels, the converse was also true--political positions were given mental characteristics. Within this understanding, a primary feature of rationality was broad, synthetic thought. In the case of scientific research this meant the ability to escape methodologies bound by a single discipline. Within this charged context government officials, public intellectuals, science administrators, foundation officials, and cultural commentators would come to favor interdisciplinary research. And, as a consequence, research programs with a cognitive emphasis were able to garner external funding, despite the fact that a behaviorism opposed to cognitive perspectives held sway within the academy.
One of the most important advances in laboratory medicine during the Second World War was the development of blood plasma fractions as therapeutic agents. Wartime research in both Britain and the United States led to the development and adoption of two distinctive techniques for the separation and concentration of blood components (a process known as fractionation) by major pharmaceutical companies. At Harvard Edwin J. Cohn's group perfected a fractionation method based on ethanol extraction, while in England R.A. Kecwick and M.E. Mackay developed an alternative approach using ether. Although both techniques were considered for adoption in postwar Australia, this paper argues that Australia, like many other countries, primarily chose to adopt the American fractionation method because Cohn proved exceptionally willing to share scientific knowledge and technical advice with antipodean colleagues.
When teaching in science studies programs, one regularly engages, in one form or another, the rather vexed relationship between the scientific fact or object and the temporal frame from which it emerges. Students are quick to see the social, cultural, and historical context that in some way surrounds such facts, but, at the same time, are quick to place those same newly minted fact in the rarefied realm of atemporal universality. One way of engaging this problem is through detailed analysis of film popularizations of scientists and their discoveries. This paper examines two mid-century film biographies, William Dieterle's Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet (1940) and Mervyn LeRoy's Madame Curie (1944 ) and attempts to show how those films' narratives and the technology of the cinema confound the spatialized, atemporal moment of discovery with the temporal duration of laboratory protocols and film editing techniques. A careful look at these films reveals how seemingly singular events (the isolation of the TB bacillus, the moment of diagnosis, the discovery of radium in a glowing dish) are actually Events-a term developed by Gilles Deleuze in his somewhat idiosyncratic reading of Alfred North Whitehead (The Fold). Through this notion of the Event (and, in A Thousand Plateaus, his concept of the "virtual"), Deleuze expands and explicates Whitehead's notion of how "actual entities" are a "concrescence of prehensions which have originated in the process of becoming" (Process and Reality). What makes these films invaluable in a classroom is that they enact that "concrescence" and, at the same time, raise precisely the philosophical questions that prompt Whitehead's philosophical concept.
Like many nineteenth-century scientists, William James entered the formal study of nature through medical training. His only academic degree was an M.D. earned from Harvard in 1869. His work in physiological psychology in the 1860s through 1890s paralleled the professional developments in medicine toward laboratory and physiological explanation for disease, most notably the advent of the germ theory of disease. However, James maintained an ambivalence about these scientific changes within medicine. This paper will investigate James's attraction to the alternatives to regular medicine based on his family's practice of the popular folk medicine homeopathy through his defense of non-conventional healers in the 1890s. This paper will also be an opportunity to investigate why James went against the mainstream and also why he was so guarded in his defense of the alternatives. Remaining open to irregular medicine with its denial that health could be explained by physical and chemical operations, was a part of his rejection of scientific reductionism.
In the early modern period texts devoted to the study of natural phenomena and to mechanical arts began to integrate visual images and text to communicate their messages. Such texts include da Vinci's Tratado de Estatica y Mechnica En Italiano (1493), Andreas Vesalias' De humani corporis fabrica libri septem (1543), William Gilbert's De Magnete (1600), and of course Galileo's Siderius Nuncius (1610) and Designe Macchie del Sole (1612). Texts intended to educate English readers on the art of navigation similarly depended on the use of visual images to elucidate the lessons they offered. Prime examples of such are translations into English of Joannes Taisnier's Opusculum perpetua memoria dignissim (1562) and Martin Cortes' Breve compendio de la sphera y de la arte de navegar (1551). Both texts were translated by Richard Eden: Taisnier's as A very necessary and profitable book concerning navigation in 1579, and Cortes' as The Arte of Navigation in 1561. While work has been done on the integration of text and image in early modern Europe, the similar integration in early modern England is much less studied. At the HSS 2000 conference in Vancouver I will demonstrate the connection between text and visual image by examining a particular image and its accompanying text in early editions (1561 to 1584) of Eden's Arte of Navigation alongside the textual emendations that mark the image's disappearance in a later edition (1596). I will also argue that the multi-layered and moveable visual images in this text may be the most important element in facilitating the student navigator's progress from student to practising mariner because they occupy a position between mere representation and three dimensional model. By examining the relationship between text and image, between image and reader, we can enhance our understanding of the development of literate practices among a class of artisans more devoted to the life of the hand than to the life of the mind.
In February 1922, William Jennings Bryan's popular assault on evolution went upscale, when the New York Times published his essay, "God and Evolution." This drew almost immediate responses from biologist Edwin Grant Conklin, paleontologist Henry Fairfield Osborn, and Protestant pastor Harry Emerson Fosdick. Shortly after this, the essays by Conklin and Fosdick were reprinted as the inaugural numbers in what would become a series of nine "Popular Religion Leaflets" on "Science and Religion," published between 1922 and 1931 by the American Institute of Sacred Literature, a correspondence arm of the University of Chicago Divinity School. Shailer Mathews supervised the series and wrote one of the pamphlets himself Fosdick later wrote a second. The other five were written by prominent American scientists: Robert A. Millikan, Kirtley Mather, Edwin Frost, Michael Pupin, and Samuel Christian Schmucker. A tenth pamphlet, co-authored by Mathews, Arthur Holly Compton, and Charles Gilkey, is closely related but not actually part of the series. Although the pamphlets were underwritten by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and distributed very widely, they are virtually unknown to both historians of science and historians of religion. This paper tells how the pamphlets were found, sketches their history, and analyzes their highly interesting content, placing them in the larger context of the history of Christian thinking about science.
In the past few years, dozens of historians and philosophers of science (including the author of this paper) have developed courses on religion and science in response to a program sponsored by the John M. Templeton Foundation. Brief comments on this phenomenon are followed by a discussion of syllabi and supporting materials from one such course, focusing on pedagogical issues related to our discipline. The audience will be encouraged to raise questions about the program and about the types of courses it supports.
The North-South Exchange viewed from the Boundary: Abdus Salam's Conception of the Scientific Internationalism during the Cold War
Abdus Salam was founder and first director of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics--ICTP--at Trieste, a leading institute for co-operation between Third World physicists and [his--their] colleagues in the North during the Cold War. ICTP constituted a meeting point between North and South as well East and West, thus a boundary. ICTP spread a particular view of internationalism and co-operation between North and South. In this paper, I describe Abdus Salam's views of international co-operation in physics and its role in the development of the Third World. His ideology entailed a specific reading of the history of science and a conception of the North-South relations. His experiences as a member of a heterodox Muslim sect, as Pakistani and Professor at Imperial College, as well as his position as director of ICTP shaped that ideology. I analyse the genealogy and the evolution of his internationalists ideas. Finally, a comparison is made between the Salam's arguments, and those developed by natural scientists working the South and close to the "dependency theory."
The use of a geographical model for accounts of the progress of knowledge was commonplace in the Enlightenment, and for that reason we tend to treat it as a metaphor, a conventional figure of speech. Its frequency might instead indicate the importance of controversies over the role of maps and map projections to Enlightenment discussions of the status of physical knowledge. That is, the description of knowledge as a process of creating a true map of the earth might not be metaphorical at all, but quite literal and the subject of much debate. Was the globe an essentially mathematical object, a transcendental structure for organizing physical knowledge? Or did the very arbitrariness of the map projection, the mathematical graticule, betray the impossibility of any transcendental orientation before or outside of experience? This proposition will be examined with respect to theories of map projection and the survey of Hanover organized by Tobias Mayer and Georg Lichtenberg at Göttingen Georg Forster's Göttingen-based compilations of travel literature his essay on "Cook der Entdecker" and his debate with Kant over the authority of travellers' reports.
When George Ellery Hale established his Mount Wilson Solar Observatory in 1904, his primary intellectual goal was to build a staff of astrophysicists fully acquainted with the latest developments and methodologies in physics. Over the next decade, as he built the two successively largest telescopes in the world, Hale remained firm in his conviction, but failed time and again to attract strong physics to his isolated Mount Wilson telescopes and laboratories in Pasadena. With the establishment in 1919 of the NRC postdoctoral fellowship program for physics and chemistry, and then in 1924 of the International Education Board (IEB) fellowships, all fuelled by Rockefeller money, a mechanism was in place to attract the best young theorists to Pasadena, where Hale had also transformed a small technical school into the California Institute of Technology and placed it in the hands of Robert A. Millikan. Thus what Hale set into motion for largely astrophysical motives resulted in the creation of a major new center for pure physics, where leading European physical theorists would visit, and send their students, to gain access to the best astrophysical data in the world. Here I discuss the impact upon Mount Wilson and upon theoretical astrophysics resulting from the residencies of European theorists, specifically Svein Rosseland, a student of Bohr, and Albrecht Unsöld, a student of Sommerfeld, in the 1920s.
The project to rebuild the palace of Versailles got under way in the 1660s, and even before the court had arrived, the gardens were stocked with exotic birds and animals. The menagerie of Versailles presents a striking example of the marriage of 'curiosity' and 'magnificence', or the ways in which the practice of natural investigation in seventeenth-century Europe could profit from the spectacular culture of the princely court. The animals at the menagerie were dissected by members of the Académie royale des sciences and thereby became the stars of the sumptuous Memoires pour servir à l'histoire naturelle des animaux (with text by Claude Perrault and engravings by Sebastien Le Clerc). This paper follows the archival traces of the production of this book, from the menagerie to the library. Just as the menagerie itself was a product of the network of collecting agents bringing the animals to Versailles, the book and its images were the outcome of the interaction of several scenes of activity between the court and the printshop. Le Clerc's illustrations, for example, reveal the tension between ideals of observational accuracy and the generic conventions set by other royal publications. The problem of how these images could be made to travel can then be explored through the English translation of the book made by members of the Royal Society. By following such processes in the making of the Histoire naturelle des animaux, we can uncover the diverse strategies of display and inscription available to early modern natural historians.
As a graduate student with Hans Spemann and later as a young research biologist in the 1920s and 1930s, Johannes Holtfreter contributed to the extremely influential German research tradition concerned with the problem of embryonic induction. Although his relationship with Spemann had never been particularly good, the rise of National Socialism fueled Holtfreter's criticism of Spemann, his work, and his approach. Beginning in the early 1930s, Holtfreter understood Spemann's position on induction, on the organizer, and on gastrulation to be expressions of nationalism and authoritarianism. Holtfreter's voluntary departure from Nazi Germany in 1939 and his subsequent experiences as a refugee scholar solidified his convictions and led him to argue against Spemann's "organismic" approach to experimental embryology. In its place, Holtfreter offered a mechanistic understanding of fundamental embryonic processes such as gastrulation. In Holtfreter's case, the politics of gastrulation motivated his turn to more reductionistic and mechanistic explanantions of embryological phenomena.
For the mid-nineteenth-century French physicist Henri-Victor Regnault, nature--not the experimenter--was the ultimate judge in experimental matters. The experimenter's task was to conceive experimental conditions that would allow nature to reveal its laws directly to the scientist, excluding any analysis or correction a posteriori. This ideal created a paradoxical situation in which the experimenter wished to control every single aspect of experimentation, but at the same time aimed at complete self-effacement, considering himself the ultimate source of all disturbances: nature dictated the course of investigation and enslaved the experimenter. Regnault's ideal was an aseptic experiment, free of human contamination, in which the scientist assumed only the role of catalyst, letting nature perform without interference. Given that contemporaries of the 1840s considered Regnault to be Europe's most outstanding experimentalist, Regnault's relentless pursuit to provide a basis f! or objective knowledge in experimentation and to make nature speak unambiguously characterise the (short-lived) hopes for absolute certainty of a whole generation of experimentalists.
Beside Galileo's training in perspective with Ostilio Ricci, early in his career, as shown by Settle, and the scarce evidence offered by the books on optics present in Galileo's library, as shown by Favaro, little is known about the immediate context of Galileo's optics before he began improving the Dutch telescope in 1609. This paper will propose a study of the texts and knowledge of optics circulating in the circle of Gian Vincenzo Pinelli, a patron and avid book and manuscript collector, Galileo became involved with from his early days in Padua during the last decade of the sixteenth century. Among many other things, Pinelli owned the unpublished manuscripts, consisting of lecture notes and drafts of book chapters, on optics of Ettore Ausonio and Giuseppe Moleto, the latter a professor of mathematics at the university of Padua and a student of Maurolico, and the first a mathematician and physician from Venice. That Pinelli took an interest in optics, is shown, on the one hand, by his collection of mathematical instruments, and, on the other, by his own copying of notes of Moleto and his annotations to the "Trattato della Pittura" of Leonardo. However, also Galileo, who would have had access to Pinelli's library, was attracted by the wealth of optical information present in this library, as is shown by his copying of Ausonio's "Theorica speculi concavi sphaerici". By presenting the optics circulating in the Pinelli circle from hitherto unstudied manuscripts, this paper will try to uncover the immediate optical context at the end of the sixteenth century from which Galileo emerged. Finally, this paper will try to establish to what extent the optics circulating in Galileo's information network at this particular moment in his career might have been useful to his own optical work.
The paper highlights the efforts of Rev. John Zahm, C.S.C., priest of the Congregation of the Holy Cross and Notre Dame professor of physics and chemistry, to champion the theory of evolution in Catholic circles in late nineteenth century America. Fr. Zahm's articulate, informed and short-lived crusade to reconcile evolutionary science with Catholic tradition, coming as it did in the anti-liberal, ultramontanist atmosphere of official Catholicism, offers striking parallels to the Galileo case. The pattern of controversy in both "affairs" reveals a persistent, defining issue in the science-religion relation as the claim to the right of interpretation. Zahm, leading a small coteria of like-minded priest-scientists, asserted his authority to reinterpret Catholic theology in light of his interpretation of evolution. His educational agenda, his status as a practicing scientist, his position as priest in a religious order, his flair for popularization, his sense of vocation as a public intellectual, and his allegiance to an Americanist view of the church -- together sketch the complex framework of his adjudicating role. Fr. Zahm's quick rise and fall in this role spotlight peculiarly Catholic forms of interpretive authority while suggesting elements common to other Christian traditions. In the end, Zahm's case indicates that neither he nor Galileo were as much martyrs for science, or victims of religion, as ill-fated advocates of a new magisterium.
The early modern scientific community consisted not only of practitioners of the traditional and established scientific disciplines--astronomy, mathematics, optics, medicine, etc.--but of a much larger community of scientific "amateurs," including alchemists, distillers, pharmacists, craftsmen, artists, and virtuosi. My paper will explore this underground community of "amateur scientists" in sixteenth-century Italy by looking at the intellectual circles of the surgeon and natural philosopher Leonardo Fioravanti (1517- c. 1588). From Naples to Venice, Fioravanti engaged with like-minded experimenters who engaged in a great hunt for "secrets of nature." Although he failed in his various attempts to find a princely patron, and was thus excluded from courtly scientific circles, Fioravanti became a part of informal experimental academies in several different cities. In my paper, I shall attempt to reconstruct Fioravanti's various circles and "academies" in Italy and Spain, basing my research on a database of several hundred names of individuals whom Fioravanti mentions in his writings. This prosoprographical approach will shed light on the kinds of persons and practices that constituted the "underworld of science" in sixteenth century Italy.
American social science witnessed unprecedented institutional growth in the decades following the Second World War. This expansion of the social sciences after the war garnered unprecedented public notoriety for individual scientists and brought some into positions of social authority. In the case of prominent scientists like the behaviorist psychologist, B. F. Skinner, and the cultural anthropologist, Margaret Mead, the public role of the 'scientific social expert' also allowed for participation in broader political, scientific, and cultural dialogues concerning contemporary issues in American life. In the 1950s and 60s Skinner and Mead each developed broad social theories and engaged in ongoing public debates about the acceleration and expansion of modern life. Rapid change in postwar America had also engendered cultural and scientific revisions of human nature and individuality. While Skinner argued for a mechanistic and reductive approach to human nature, Mead supported a more multidimensional and holistic interpretation. In my forthcoming paper I will examine some of the ways in which these contrasting approaches to the 'self' were shaped by the expectations of various public constituencies. Skinner and Mead were particularly outspoken on the importance of education as a vehicle of social reform. Their respective views on education reform brought them public notoriety in part because of the perceived need in the early 1960s for greater military and industrial preparedness in the era of the Cold War. But the dynamic of popularization in each case was also influenced by the common realization that the ever-widening gaps between generations of Americans had rendered traditional techniques of pedagogy, curriculum structure, and administration in American education obsolete. The social experience of each new generation had become increasingly different, and innovative educational methods were needed in order to prepare people for modern life. In addressing the impact on American education of both Skinner's famous technologies of teaching (i.e., teaching machines and programmed learning) and Mead's highly publicized critiques of educational methods, I will also explore the public appropriation of scientific representations of the individual and their relationship to contemporary trends in American culture during the 1960s and 70s.
Cartographic practices have always featured, sometimes prominently, in general histories of Enlightenment science. They are most obvious in accounts of eighteenth-century attempts to measure the size and shape of the earth and to determine the longitude at sea they provide a persistent context for all reconnaissance expeditions from the metropolitan centers to the European and colonial margins and they served as a conceptual device for organizing and rationalizing observations of spatial phenomena. The relationship between cartography and science can thus be approached in a number of different ways, and at different scales: the individual (e.g., astronomers who happened also to make maps) the institutional (e.g., scientific academies) the social (e.g., the marketplace within which scientific and cartographic texts were disseminated and sold) and, the cultural (e.g., the use of "map" as a metaphor for botanical taxonomy). This paper provides, from the standpoint of cartographic history, a preliminary framework within which to organize these many different elements. Recognizing that there is nothing essential about either "science" or "cartography," this paper will begin by exploring the principal modes of eighteenth-century cartography (defined in terms of their spatial conceptions, technologies, social institutions, and cultural expectations). From there the task will be to determine the most significant intersections-in practices (e.g., instrumentation) and attitudes (e.g., the "quantifying spirit")-of mapping activities with those of the sciences. At worst, discussion, with historians of science, of the flaws in this (admittedly ambitious) framework, will stimulate a much needed interdisciplinary exchange. At best, this framework will provide a basis for further explorations in the intermingling practices and ideals of mapping and science.
Until recent decades, cosmology has seemed to all but its advocates to be a game rather than a science. Many astronomers complained that it was all theory and no data. The problem was that cosmological effects were expected to manifest themselves only at distances too great to be observed. From the 1950s and 1960s, however, a subset of the astronomy and physics communities argued that certain very bright objects--galaxies and quasars--could be seen to such great distances that they might eventually serve as cosmological benchmarks to measure the universe as a whole. Most workers agreed, however, that galaxies and quasars were so poorly understood that any attempt to apply their observation to cosmology was wildly premature. This paper is about the debate over the maturity of astronomical data and theory, and focuses on why investigators so differed in whether they felt the time was ripe to make a science of observational cosmology. Was it a matter of field and affiliation? Of differing commitments to observation vs. theory? Of differing intellectual taste and style? The paper draws on my research into the life and work of one of the cautious optimists and pioneering theorists in galaxy evolution, Beatrice Tinsley (1941-1981).
Jim Endersby University of Cambridge
Joseph Hooker's Pacific floras- of New Zealand (1855) and Tasmania (1860) were partly the product of his own travels and collections in the region, but were largely compiled using the herbarium at Kew. Neither that herbarium nor the floras could have existed without the efforts of collectors based permanently in the colonies. Wiliam Colenson was one of the most signifcant in New Zealand, and Ronald Gunn did similarly invaluable work in Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania). The correspondence between Hooker, Gunn and Colenso reveals complex relationships, characterised by both deference and friendship, and mediated by exchanges of plants, knowledge, and money. A central theme is a polite but often fierce competition over the value of their respective knowledges -- the global, generalising erudition of the metropolitan expert, and the local, particular expertise of the colonial collector. Sometimes sharp deifferences over plant taxonomy and distribution emerge from these competitng interests. For example, Hooker argued that Kew's herbarium and library gave him the sole authority to name species and determine their geographical and morphological limits, and while Gunn and Colenso largely accepted his authority, they occasionally tried to assert that their more detailed knowledge of livng plants gave them unique insights into such questions. A close reading of the letters, together with an examination of Victorian botanical collecting practices, reveals a complex negotiation over the status of particular knowledges.
Nathan L. Ensmenger University of Pennsylvania
In the early 1950s, the academic discipline that we know today as computer science existed only as a loose association of institutions, individuals, and techniques. Although computers were widely used in this period as instruments of scientific production, their status as legitimate objects of scientific scrutiny had not yet been established. Computer programming in particular was considered by many to be a "black art, a private arcane matter, general programming principles were largely nonexistent, and the success of a program depended primarily on the programmer's private techniques and inventions." Those scientists who left "respectable" disciplines for the uncharted waters of computer science faced ridicule, self-doubt, and professional uncertainty. As the commercial computer industry expanded at the end of the decade, however, corporate interest in the science of computing increased significantly. Faced with a serious shortage of experienced, capable software developers, corporate employers turned to the universities as a source of qualified programmers. Academic researchers, unsure of what skills and knowledge were associated with computing expertise, began to develop a detailed psychological profile of the "ideal" computer scientist. Their profile included not only an aptitude for chess, music, and mathematics, but also specific personality characteristics ("uninterested in people," "highly detail oriented," etc.). Many of these early empirical studies turned out to be of questionable validity and were of almost no use to potential employers nevertheless, many of the characteristics identified in these early personality profiles survived in the cultural lore of the industry and are still believed to be indicators of computer science ability. My paper explores the development of computer science as an academic discipline from the perspective of the corporate employers who encouraged it as a means of producing capable programming personnel. I explore the uneasy symbiotic relationship that existed between academic researchers and their more industrial-oriented colleagues. I focus on the use of psychological profiles and aptitudes as a means of identifying "scientific" abilities and expertise.
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