HSS 2000 Abstracts
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One of the most powerful discourses of nationalism is the argument that the components of a nation are "naturally" bound together. For the nation idealized in this discourse, its people, land, and sovereignty constitute an organic whole whose history is an analogy, or even an extenuation, of natural history. This paper examines an influential strand of Chinese nationalism in the first decade of the twentieth century when the influx of Western science - including natural history, Darwin's theory of evolution, and racial science challenged traditional Chinese knowledge of "nature." Chinese intellectuals constantly had to revise their conceptual framework and invent new language to accommodate Western learning. This paper analyzes how the historical actors defined and redefined history, tradition, and nationhood in relation to the transmutations of the concept of nature.
This paper examines the role of film in educating scientists, clinicians, and the general public about the transmission of malaria from 1940 to the present. The films were produced as both public health propaganda and as scientific/clinical training films directed at a specialized audience. They include both basic and applied science as well as material for general Western and indigenous audiences. I will set these films within their colonial and later post-colonial frames of discourse and also evaluate the films' impact on their target audiences, plus the role of foundation sponsorship in producing and distributing them. Archival sources for this study include: The Wellcome Trust (London), Imperial War Museum, Shell Centre (London), British Film Institute, World Health Organization, and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. This paper is part of a larger study of how film served as a way to disseminate "colonialist science," particularly in East Africa. There is a large body of anti-malaria films, including even a contribution by Walt Disney Productions, "The Winged Scourge" (1943)
In her Scientists and Amateurs: A History of the Royal Society (1949), Dorothy Stimson differentiated the few "true" scientists from a much larger group of practitioners who satisfied "their curiosity rather than attempting to pursue scientific learning." For the latter, she argued, science was "a recreation in which they delighted, not an activity to which they devoted their whole time and thought", though they served an important role as "a welcoming audience for the new discoveries" and as patrons to scientists. The passage of time has done little to dispel such an image and my paper intends to probe the nature of the scientific community during the seventeenth century in an effort to demonstrate that "amateurism" was a function of social or professional standing, not an indication of competence.
Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake in Rome in the year 1600, and this year (2000) several organizations are commemorating the four-hundredth anniversary of his death. This paper aims to make a small contribution to this anniversary from the vantage point of a Galileo scholar. That is, I would like to make a critical comparison and contrast between the respective trials of these two thinkers: I plan to focus on the causes for their condemnations by the Inquisition; the procedures followed during the proceedings; and the aftermath in modern Western culture. My expectation is that to compare and contrast the two trials together will provide a better understanding of both the Galileo affair and the Bruno affair. Some of the questions and working hypotheses to be explored and tested are: that just as in the Galileo affair one must resist the temptation to act as if the only issues were astronomical and scientific (and thus neglect the methodological, philosophical, and theological issues), so in the Bruno case one must resist the temptation of claiming the only issues were metaphysical and theological (and none astronomical); that although the cause for which Galileo was fighting was not worth dying for, Bruno's cause was, and indeed it required his ultimate sacrifice (as some authors have suggested, e.g., Ernest Renan, Albert Camus, and Hans Blumenberg); and what is the significance of the fact that the documentation of the two trials is similar only with respect to a single document, namely the "executive" summaries of the respective proceedings on the basis of which a final sentence was arrived at?
This paper examines the scientific and technological development of the isolator system designed and constructed by Professor James A. Reyniers of the Laboratory of Bacteriology at the University of Notre Dame (LOBUND) from 1928-1955. Originally designed in 1928 as an instrumental system to facilitate "germ-free" and pure culture work in bacteriology, the isolation machinery provided an experimental space free from possible external contamination. The system also provided biological and medical researchers with an equally effective space for bacterial containment. During World War II, and continuing throughout the Cold War, United States scientists utilized this system as an experimental bacterial and viral containment system for biological weapons research. Isolation units were employed in Reynier's group at the University of Notre Dame for the freeze-drying of typhus and by Karl Meyer research on plague sponsored by the United States Navy at the University of California at Berkeley. In addition, Theodore Rosebury who headed the Airborne Pathogen Laboratory at Camp Detrick, converted isolators into experimental cloud chambers to test Serratia Marcescens, Bacillus Globigii, Brucella Suis, Malleomyces Mallei, and Pasteurella Tularensis as possible air-borne biological weapons. Research conducted at Camp Detrick was especially important in early post war decision making on future biological weapons research projects. Much like the atomic bomb, the creation of this new class of weapons depended upon the invention and integration of new and existing technological and scientific instruments, machines, techniques, and methodologies. The research of Professor Reyniers provides the historian of science with an analysis of the instrumental applications to biological weapons research. In addition, an analysis of the work carried out by Reyniers and his laboratory allows one to probe the larger scientific and institutional forces that drove the United States biological weapons research program.
In a commentary on feminist critiques of science, Ruth Bleir writes that the lab coat gives the scientist "a faceless authority that his audience can't challenge . . . a powerful, mysterious, impenetrable, coercive, anonymous male voice." Thus the lab coat can be seen not only as a symbol of science, but of masculine science at the very least, it disguises the gender of its wearer. In this paper, I will examine the rise of the lab coat as a symbol of science, using paintings, prints, and photographs to document this development. I will also explore the difficulties which clothing posed for women wishing to participate in scientific inquiry, particularly in field biology, in the 19th century. As women became more involved in science, they became more involved with its trappings, signified by the number of female as well as male scientists photographed in lab coats. Women no longer have the problems of dress that plagued 19th-century women interested in science. But in putting on the white lab coat, they put on more than a protective covering against the grime and caustic chemicals of the lab they also put on clothing which supposedly symbolizes a superior way of thinking, a better way of looking at the world. Thus examining the dress of female and male scientists involves looking at more than the surface it entails examining the power of a symbol to influence people's attitudes toward science and scientists. While the lab coat is now often seen as passe, with many scientists eschewing its use, it is still very much a part of the iconography of science, and is still often used to represent science in nonscientific contexts.
Following the most recent glacial period, more than thirty genera of mammals disappeared from North America. The 1927 discovery of numerous stone points intermingled with extinct bison bones at Folsom, New Mexico, provided evidence that humans had once coexisted with these extinct mammals. Today many scientists interpret such "mass kill sites" as evidence for a human role in these extinctions. However, few scientists considered this possibility until the 1960s. Instead, they theorized that postglacial climate changes were responsible. Nineteenth-century European scientists, in contrast, were quick to link humans to late Pleistocene extinctions. In the late 1850s, similar discoveries convinced most scientists that humans and extinct animals had once coexisted. Almost immediately, many prominent English and French scientists argued that humans had contributed to these extinctions. In this paper, I argue that twentieth-century paleontologists and paleoecologists were reluctant to consider a human role in late Pleistocene extinctions because humans fell outside their traditional concerns and explanatory mechanisms. In other words, they assumed that natural scientists studied nature rather than humans. And because archaeologists and anthropologists rarely addressed changes in nature as sweeping as mass extinctions, the question of a human role remained in mostly unexplored terrain between the natural and human sciences. Three American scientists (Edwin Colbert, Loren Eiseley, and Carl Sauer) publicly discussed this question at length between 1927 and 1957. By examining the popular and technical works of these scientists, I argue that the process of preparing exhibits and writing works for general audiences encouraged communication between the natural and human sciences on the question of a human role in these extinctions. I show that popularization by scientists, which is often dismissed as a harmless but inconsequential diversion, can promote interdisciplinary collaboration and shape scientific knowledge.
Eckhardt Fuchs Max Planck
Institute for the History of Science
As a result of longstanding efforts by the German-American anthropologist Franz Boas, in 1911 the International School for American Archaeology and Ethnology was founded in Mexico City as an international research institution. Three US American universities and one scientific society, the German, French, and Mexican governments , and later several European institutions participated in the work of the EIAEA. In tracing the short history of this institute (1905-1920), the paper investigates the mechanics of transnational scientific cooperation. It was founded at a time when European and American scholars started to explore the pre-Columbian history of Mexico and when Mexico became a political battlefield of the imperialist rivalry between the USA and Europe. In the paper I will show that the initiative for the establishment of the EIAEA was based on the idea of uniting and centralizing the research on pre-Columbian history previously done by several countries and institutions. Although the Mexican government belonged to the undersigned of the statute of the EIAEA, this enterprise faced some opposition from Mexican anthropologists and archaeologists who feared scientific imperialism by their American and European colleagues. Whereas this controversy over the protection of Mexican antiquities and the scientific status of their own disciplines was mostly confined to the Mexicans, the changing international context - with the outbreak of the Mexican Revolution and the European Great War - greatly effected the scientific cooperation. Nationalist resentments led to changing and unstable alliances between the scientists depending on the foreign politics of their countries. The lack of governmental cooperation in funding and supporting the institute on the one hand, together with the intention of Mexican scientists to take over the scientific exploration of their own country as a national task led finally to the collapse of the EIAEA.
As the current vogue of the Enlightenment so forcefully reminds us, the modern "sciences of man and society" arose as part of a revolutionary epistemology that shifted the grounds of authority in policy making from "dead" tradition to active reason. In relation to feudal/monarchial states of the premodern past, the modal Enlightenment form of governance was, in fact if not in form, a republic, as Voltaire judged England to be, despite its monarchy, in light of the freedom of discourse there. Yet, within this Enlightenment frame of reference, the total and rapidly growing stock of social knowledge was taken as in some sense the possession and "voice" of civil society, to be intoned critically, in judgment of the actions of "rule" by a sovereignty of any type, even a virtuous republic. If the proper institutional settings for the rational, critical deliberations that judged the actions of states were voluntary associations of citizens in civil society, how would this expectation be altered when states, seeking improvement, competitive advantage, and a wider legitimacy, became increasingly dependent upon social knowledge and social science? How would the Enlightenment tradition of critical distance from power be maintained when states, and public officials in the rising numbers of statistical agencies, were increasingly the actual producers of social knowledge, and when governments drew upon and subsidized the development of social science expertise? How would expectations about this state/social knowledge relationship shift within the various social sciences, as various strands of professionalization and academicization proceeded from the late nineteenth century forward? Did a gendered access to work in social science (exclusively male in the universities a female preponderance in the social settlements and social welfare) produce a gendered conception of the state/social science relationship that approximated gendered legal conceptions of individual rights, or has this difference been unduly exaggerated, masking other, more important lines of difference in this regard? Can we argue that a "bureaucratic ideal," developed (quite different from what Weber expected) within the liberal social sciences from the 1880s through 1940s, that this ideal bridged or transcended concerns about maintaining boundaries between knowledge and reform to create a distinctively American vision of planning, linking the social sciences (especially economics and public administration), public social investigation, and the state? Then how did changes in the meaning(s) of planning undermine this vision, both in the post-World War II reversion to technocratic management, first widely posited in the 1920s, and in the post-1970s ideological wars? Why, in the current, post-liberal, post-modern climate, is there so much nostalgia for an Enlightenment vision of reasoned deliberation based on good theory, and yet so little success in imagining how our highly quantitative, model-oriented social sciences could serve as "that noble science of politics?" I hope to explore conceptions of the relations of social science and governance, as they have changed over time, mainly in the New Liberal era, 1880s through 1940s, but with some comments about implications for the location and role of the social sciences in more recent period of heightened relativism, identity politics and "hyper-democracy." I will also offer some comments on the papers of Professors Porter and Ross.
In the middle decades of the nineteenth century, questions of scientific expertise and authority were highly controversial. During this time, changes in the publishing trade created a new genre of cheap popular science books, whose publishers had to address such issues in deciding who to ask to write the books, and what style should be used. They also had to balance the commercial pressure to sell books, with their own religious or philanthropic ambitions about whom they should sell books to, and for what purpose. The publishers I examine in this paper focused their activities around their desire to convert their readers to evangelical Christianity, in part by relating science to revealed theology. I consider their methods of reaching their audience, from the material processes of printing and distributing, to the textual strategies that came into play once the book found a reader. In so doing, I argue that studies like this provide an alternative perspective in a field which has remained dominated by nineteenth-century narratives of secularisation and professionalisation.
Plants get sick, too. Sometimes this banal truism masks events of incredible significance. When the sick plants have economic importance to human beings, consequences of truly global scope may be entrained. The Irish potato blight of 1848 is a prime example of this fact. Other plant disease epidemics--epiphytotics--also plagued the Nineteenth Century. Since plant pathology at this time was sorely underdeveloped theoretically, the central question in each of these disasters was: How are these plant diseases to be understood? The present study, which focuses upon the scientific response to the devastating Nineteenth-Century grapevine plague known as the phylloxera crisis, attempts to answer this question in one important historical case. Bluntly stated, my two conclusions are these: 1. Understanding the grapevine phylloxera epiphytotic depended crucially upon then-extant medical models of human disease; and 2. Since there were two competing disease models prevalent at the time, a controversy regarding the etiology and nature of the malady inevitably arose. My argument is organized as follows. First, I describe the onset of the malady in some detail, and chronicle the first few years of its march across the vineyards of France. Secondly, in the following two sections, I provide a brief description of the Nineteenth Century versions, first, of two general models of human disease and, secondly, of plant pathology. In the penultimate section, I focus tightly upon the details of the first several years of controversy between leading proponents of the two sides in the dispute over the origin and nature of the malady. This discussion will situate the arguments of the two sides under the aegis of their respective human disease models. Finally, in a brief concluding note I will give an admittedly Whiggish summary of the outcome of the crisis, and relate it to a similar epiphytotic disaster unfolding in the vineyards of today's California.
In 1828, Jane Griffin, who had led a life of parties, balls, operas, museums, and tours of the Continent, married the Arctic explorer, Sir John Franklin. In 1836, Franklin became Governor of Van Diemen's Land. He and Jane arrived in 1837, and two years later founded a scientific society, where papers were presented by visitors John Gould and Joseph Hooker, among others. In 1837, Jane bought 130 acres for a botanical garden. Exhibits were arranged in Government House, pending construction of a museum. Jane then purchased 400 additional acres of land adjacent to the botanic garden, and erected a small museum of natural history. The foundation stone was laid in 1842. But the Franklins left Tasmania in 1843, and by 1853 the museum fell into disrepair, its library and collections dispersed, and the building became a storehouse for apples. Yet, for a short time, Tasmania was the first country outside of the United Kingdom to boast a Royal Society for the Advancement of Science, with a museum.
According to the Imperial Physician Marcus Marci von Kronland (1595-1667), citizens of Prague who fell ill in the 1660s faced twin dangers: either they chanced Galenic physicians who purged them with poisons, or fell victim to alchymical charlatans who purged their pockets with gusto. To remedy these social maladies, Marci prescribed a true and useful alchymy, apparently revivified through ancient theoretical foundations. However in assigning legitimacy to his own chymical arts, Marci sought support closer to home; he transmuted his arts into a rendering compatible with the locally plausible and longstanding Habsburg interests in astrology. By grounding his cosmology in the astrological/astronomical theories of Rudolfine court luminaries Johannes Kepler and Tycho Brahe, Marci recast the role of light as the bearer of both planetary influences and seminal forces. Moreover, he wove the works of these Habsburg notables, with whom he was gainfully affiliated, into a thickly plaited lineage that unravelled in some ancient, pre-Egyptian past.
Marci's Philosophia Vetus Restituta (Ancient Philosophy Restored) attempted to systematize nature's alchymical agency. He ambitiously proposed semina-carrying light as the explanatory mechanism for growth and transformation in metals, plants, animals and humans, and one that initiated and provoked rays carrying astrological influxes. Marci's strategies of legitimating alchymical magic suggest that he played the achievements of court astronomers, with whom he was aligned rather loosely, against the skepticism of University scholars, with whom he was employed. Simultaneously, Marci's text invites the reception of Keplerian astronomy into the dynamics of alchemical philosophies.
From 1904 through 1926, reports of remarkable morphological transformations of frogs, toads, salamanders, and other animals issued from Paul Kammerer's laboratory at the Biologische Versuchsanstalt [Institute for Experimental Biology] in Vienna. In his prolific technical and popular writings and especially in the "big show-lectures" he gave all over Europe and the U. S., Kammerer argued that his careful manipulation of the animals environment had caused them to change, and that the changes were hereditary. Further, he claimed that his insights into the evolutionary process could be put to use to ensure human progress, both physical and cultural. Kammerer's conclusions were irreconcilable with what later became a central tenet of Darwinian evolutionism: the non-inheritance of acquired characteristics. As a result, he has come to be seen as an opponent of Darwinism. His suicide in 1926, amid suspicion that he had faked one of his transformed specimens--the infamous midwife toad--has made it easy for modern Darwinians to dismiss him as a crank and a fraud. This paper therefore re-tells Kammerer's story with special attention to three aspects of his context: the intellectual faction within the Darwinian fold, with which he identified himself the material and institutional culture of his laboratory and his popularizing mission and presentation techniques. It shows Kammerer's battles to have been not against Darwinism, but for the inheritance of acquired characteristics within Darwinism, for the use of experimental methods in support of Darwinism, and for the popularization of a Darwinian world-view in the spirit of Ernst Haeckel. Finally, it offers a new explanation of the midwife-toad scandal and what it reveals about Kammerer's methods and the credibility of his work.
In a recent book focused on the transition period from Enlightenment
science to modern empirical science I described geography's difficulties
in reformulating itself as an intellectually respectable modern science.
My preferred way of describing the transition the field was undergoing
has been as a movement away from description and towards theory-based
explanation. I initially chose the word 'description' because it was the
word French geographers used in the title of their monumental Description
de l'Egypte and which, incidentally, was not used in a similar work on
Algeria thirty or so years later. It also seemed an excellent characterization
of the kind of geography practiced by map makers and universal geography
writers of the 18th century. In fact, those early nineteenth century geographers
who saw themselves as working in a defined tradition of research also
engaged in work that tied to a descriptive approach: mapping, universal
geography writing; and data collection for the exercise of state power.
On the margins of the group of people who described themselves as geographers
were a few individuals who in the first half of the 19th century were
beginning to problematize description and to structure their work around
the explanation of social phenomena, the explanation of natural phenomena
and the developing critical approaches to the study and analysis of past
societies. What I would like to explore in this paper is what Enlightenment
Geographers meant when they used the word 'description' and, perhaps more
importantly, exactly what I mean when I use the word. In so doing, I will
explore how philosophers of science have used the concepts of description
This paper focuses on the voyage of HMS Rattlesnake (1846 to 1850) as an example of scientific practice, its products and its representations in nineteenth-century voyages. The ship was engaged by the Admiralty in surveying the east coast of Australia and the south coast of New Guinea to ensure safe sailing for steam shipping between Australia and India. On its survey, the ship collected a substantial amount of physical data - terrestrial magnetism, weather and ocean soundings - and produced a number of charts and sailing instructions for the Admiralty. In common with other naval surveying vessels of the period, the ship carried several naturalists, including John MacGillivray, John Thomson and James Wilcox, in addition to Thomas Huxley, who practised their science and collected officially for public institutions and privately for commercial contacts. Natural history extended to ethnology and linguistics, both of which figured largely in the voyage's collecting activities. All of the naturalists, many of the ship's officers, and the commander kept journals and sketchbooks. Because of the existence of this material it is possible to go far beyond the published accounts and to get very close to the experiences of many on board. Historians have almost totally neglected (with a few notable exceptions), the sea and the ship as sites of scientific practice, especially in the nineteenth century. This paper will redress this balance and aims to place the sea and the ship at a crucial conjuncture of nineteenth-century science and empire-building. It will explore the nature of science on the move the integrative role of voyaging in scientific practice, including surveying and the key role of perspective in representing the practices and products of the voyage, in order to make better sense of what it meant to carve out an imperial space at the same time as doing science in this crucial period.
The periodic table's formulation by D. I. Mendeleev (1834-1907) in 1869 is often seen as one of the capstone theory constructions of the physical sciences in the nineteenth century. Few historians, however, have explored the intellectual origins of the table that is, to the set of resources upon which Mendeleev had to draw in order to construct the theory. These sources are chiefly two, both of which not usually seen as contributing to the periodic table: Gerhardt's organic type theory and concerns about hyper-light elements, including the chemical ether. This paper situates the intellectual construction of the periodic table in between these two disconnected (and discarded) traditions of chemical reasoning. Initiated by the Karlsruhe chemical congress of 1860, Mendeleev's speculations about the nature of atomic weight and the different types of organic and inorganic chemical organization were refined during his construction of a series of chemical textbooks: Organic Chemistry (1861, 1863), and the famous Principles of Chemistry (first edition, 1869-1871). Only by fusing the pedagogical functions of these textbooks with the twin intellectual origins can one come to an understanding of how this theory of classification emerged in post-Emancipation St. Petersburg.
A new pictorial genre emerged in early seventeenth-century Antwerp--the gallery painting. Painted representations of Kunstkammern, executed in meticulous detail, depicting overflowing collections of artificialia and naturalia were themselves transformed into the objects of cultivated curiosity and displayed prominently to visitors to the collections that they depicted. Commonly painted on portable copper-plates, these representations could also permit virtual viewing of a gallery, when sent to distant friends and relations. The minute detail in which these paintings were executed encouraged the use of magnifying lenses in their examination, further reinforcing the analogy between the pictorial representation of the gallery and the curiosities contained within its walls. In addition to their representational function of providing a faithful depiction of a particular collection, such works commonly had an extremely strong allegorical function. They encoded a model of the virtuous patron by situating him or her in relation to an idealised ordering of nature and artifice. They also encoded models of natural investigation, frequently depicting the debates between natural philosophers, the use of astronomical instruments and maps. Artists such as Jan Brueghel I, Frans Francken II, Rubens and Willem van Haecht used this genre to deliver increasingly complex messages about the relationship between the natural world and the various available techniques available for its representation. This paper will analyse one such painting in detail, comparing it with other examples of the genre. I identify the subject of the painting as Johannes Kepler, and explore the relationship between graphical representation and instrumentally produced astronomical knowledge that it describes.
During the 1890-1970 period, numerous women scientists were employed in Canada but remained in low-level positions for longer than did their male peers. Most women scientists performed "women's work" --poorly paid and under-valued jobs men did not want, and were not expected, to do. In fact, even the seemingly successful women scientists, such as the geneticist Carrie Derick (1862-1941), the chemist Clara Benson (1875-1964), the economist Mabel Timlin (1891-1976), the astronomer Helen Hogg (1905-1993), and the physicist Barbara Judek (b.1923) faced difficulties because of their gender. In this paper I will draw upon my research in the history of Canadian science to provide the context within which to discuss the experiences of women scientists who worked at various universities and government institutions.
This paper will examine the public health efforts of two figures during the early twentieth century. W.W. Peter, who received his Ph.D. in Public Health from Yale University, spent nearly twenty years (1911-1929) in China promoting public health through the use of visual tropes in public lectures. Dr. Tee Han Kee received his L.M.S. degree from Hong Kong Medical College in 1902. He then went to Manila, Philippines, where he promoted public health among the huaqiao (overseas Chinese) community up through the 1930s. The common link between these two figures is a learned and similar modern medical knowledge that they both utilized in their efforts to control diseases, such as cholera, among Chinese populations. In the case of Dr. Peter, his work in China reflects larger trends in early 20th century American science and American expansionist politics. Peter's public health work also illuminates the problematic details of deploying knowledge and practice in an area having its own cultural norms and behavior. In the case of Dr. Tee, we have the opportunity to see another facet of the transmission of medical knowledge in a Chinese context. Tee is among the first generation of Chinese who study western medicine in China. However, in an interesting twist of circumstances, Tee then carries this medical knowledge beyond the geographic boundaries of China and deploys it among the Chinese population of Manila. Chinese history has traditionally operated in the mode followed by many historical studies, that of the national history. With this, most histories of China, including those written in China, have focused on events that unfolded within what is defined spatially as China. Recently, studies of huaqiao have appeared in cultural studies literature, which challenge aspects of the national history. Moreover, an article focusing on huaqiao recently appeared in the Journal of Asian Studies that will surely attract the attention of China historians with its broad readership. As historical exposition begins to move beyond the mode of national histories, the China field will have to contend with aspects of Chinese history that unfold in spaces not traditionally considered China and have thus been ignored. Dr. Tee's scientific practice dovetails nicely into this growing area of Chinese history. The work of both Peter and Tee reflects specific mechanisms by which western scientific knowledge was transmitted and institutionalized in modern China and how this knowledge displaced, coexisted and competed with pre-existing Chinese forms of scientific knowledge and practice.
During the last decades of the nineteenth century representatives of different sectors of the German and Austrian intellectual community contributed to fundamental questioning of the popular image of the objectivity of scientific knowledge. While the contributions of the physicist Ernst Mach, the theologian Wilhelm Herrmann, and the philosopher Hans Vaihinger represent just three articulations of this concern, this paper investigates the individual agendae that motivated each one and inquires to what extent the common thread of their arguments caught on in the years around the turn of the twentieth century. Implicit in this inquiry is another: can these critiques of the objectivity of science suggest ways in which we can understand the obvious appeal scientific objectivity held for many and the function it performed for them?
Dynamical systems are the paradigm for the formal representation of complex natural systems in simulation modeling. Based on the notion of an abstract state, ecosystems are encoded in a closed set of equations with determined parameters. For the encoding, the system is severed from its environment and from background ´noise´ discriminating supposedly essential from accidental features. Parameters in dynamical systems are fixed a priori, many of them being parameters of convenience which fulfil the formal needs of (systems) theory. To account for ecosystem ´complexity´, the number of parameters often is increased unrestrictedly. The ensuing non-identifiability of parameters is a major shortcoming of simulation models. Such dynamical systems are conceptually closed and computable systems. In contrast, natural ecosystems are open, self-modifying systems. The self-modification of ecosystems leads to the continuous (on-line) production of internal novelty and thus of new parameters. Ecosystems are characterized by a history of system-environment interactions, in which order may emerge from ´noise´. Thus there are no grounds on which noise and(eco-)system could be distinguished. Historicity and self-modification of ecosystems make non-trivial predictions of future outcomes impossible. Concurrently, the closed simulation models containing numerous parameters of convenience lose reference to empirical reality and become mere ´fitting machines´, which can be adapted to any data set. Notwithstanding, the modeling process, as a learning and communication process, can be a mode of coping with different types of complexity.
National Institutes of Health scientists initially perceived AIDS primarily as a syndrome affecting gay men in the United States. But with the expansion of groups at risk in American to include recent Haitian immigrants in 1982 and the response in Haiti that this identification provoked, the NIH became drawn into international investigation of the spread of HIV. A short-term NIH investigation in Haiti was followed by a much larger and more influential project to examine the spread of HIV in Zaire and to understand the epidemiological and clinical differences of AIDS in different countries. This Zaire project was carried out in cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control and the Prince Leopold Institute of Tropical Medicine in Belgium. This paper will explore how NIH scientists began to perceive the international dimensions of the AIDS epidemic and the initiatives that were taken to investigate the implications of the global spread of the disease. As is often characteristic of NIH research, international AIDS research at the NIH began with personal initiative rather than a government mandated investigation. But the nature of Projet SIDA in Zaire was framed in part by Public Health Service directives. The paper will contribute to the examination of the complexities of undertaking AIDS research in the federal government and enlarge understanding of the interaction of federal agencies on public health problems.
In The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere Jürgen Habermas notes in the later 18th century the growing recognition of subjectivity, of the interior private space of the individual mind or soul, as the inverse side of the objective public sphere. The relation of self and other, of subject and object, he says, became problematic at this time. Subjectivity itself emerged as the inverse side of the public sphere with the appearance of psychological novels such as Pamela and Werther. It also emerged in the appearance of a new public psychology, distinct from the philosophy of mind long familiar through figures such as Locke, Hartley, Leibniz, Wolff, etc. I focus on Karl Philipp Moritz (1756-93). In his journal, the Magazin zur Erfahrungsseelenkunde, Moritz proposed such a discipline, founded on the public sharing of information. He invited members of the literate public such as doctors, pastors, teachers, prosecutors, etc., to share their knowledge of specific cases of aberrant behavior, providing the empirical evidence needed to construct a new science. Traditional analysis of the properties of mind formed only one strand of this tapestry. Contemporary medical thought, particularly the work of Moritz's friend, Marcus Herz, was another. It was to be a collaboration by the entire literate public, including writers (like Moritz himself) who could add their insights into human personality and motivation. There was another aspect to the project: the observer of human psychology must also observe himself. Moritz was aware of the paradox here: the self as knowing subject is also the self as an object to be known. In an attempt to establish an empirical psychology and delimit the boundaries between subjective and objective experience Moritz and his contributors offered their own psyches, their nightmares, hallucinations and depressions, for public scrutiny. Undertaken in the spirit of Enlightenment, the enterprise in fact problematized the relationship between subject and object and helped to construct the issues which would obsess Romantic writers and the Naturphilosophen.
The Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research was founded in New York City in 1901 through the philanthropy of John D. Rockefeller. Modeled on the Koch and Pasteur Institutes, it was the first research center in the United States devoted exclusively to studying the underlying causes of disease through scientific research. Between 1901 and 1946, more than 50 women held research positions at the Institute in areas including bacteriology, experimental surgery, chemistry, and biophysics. This paper makes use of archival sources and other biographical sources to assemble a prosopography of this group. Historian Lawrence Stone has defined prosopography as "the investigation of the common background characteristics of a group of actors in history by means of a collective study of their lives." The technique has been used to understand the behavior of scientific communities such as the Royal Society of London and 19th century British naturalists. The population examined here is relatively small. My aim in studying this group is twofold. First, to understand factors that empowered or inhibited women's participation in research at the Institute by looking at the educational backgrounds of women scientists, the circumstances that brought them to the Institute, and how their careers developed at Rockefeller and later. Second, to bring to light individuals or groups whose careers deserve more detailed inquiry through traditional biographical methods.
The concept of "the Scientific Revolution" has been criticized from a variety of viewpoints, for distorting our understanding of the history of natural enquiries. It has been observed that it remains useful for didactic purposes, although the items that are now placed into this empty box are quite different from the ones formerly thought crucial. There remains, however, one characteristic of the box that seems so natural that it is virtually unobserved, its intrinsic Englishness. The narratives that relate to this category always seem to end in the England of the early Royal Society, whether they start with Copernicus, Vesalius and Paracelsus or with Galileo and Mersenne. There are several related reasons for this phenomenon. The concept is mainly deployed by English-speaking historians. The concept was developed in post-war Cambridge. The concept was designed as a weapon for post-war reconstruction and the Cold War, showing that the modern world sprang from the England of the Restoration and the Glorious Revolution, not the French Enlightenment, which had led to totalitarianism. The concept was not challenged by socialist historians, who wanted to show that the modern world sprang from the English revolution of 1649 and accordingly emphasized economic developments, artisans and politico-religious radicalism, with only a slight modification in terms of location and chronology. However we rewrite our narratives to include additional features, the very shape of the box will tend to lead us to the world of Locke and Sydenham, Boyle and Newton, because that is the way it is designed, just as the less anachronistic concepts of the Renaissance, Reformation and Enlightenment focus our attention on particular countries.
This paper examines the changing nature of psychological authority in the U.S. between the World Wars, using an important but previously unexamined source. According to John Burnham's How Superstition Won and Science Lost, psychology was one of many fields in which journalists supplanted scholars as popularizers in the 1930s and beyond, with deplorable results. In my presentation I will examine Burnham's thesis using the Hearst newspapers Sunday supplement (American Weekly) as a primary source. Read by millions each week, this newsprint magazine featured hundreds of articles on psychological topics (at least one extensive article each week). In authorship, these show the classic signs of boundary creation and specialization in science: the philosophers and religious authorities of the early '20s are replaced by university-based psychologists with specialist training and degrees. In content, one sees the laboratory become the locus of scientific authority. Also, topics addressed change from grand moral questions (is the family doomed by the New Morality?) to those amenable to empirical research reported in academic journals. Contrary to Burnham, at least one psychologist (Donald Laird of Colgate University) volunteered to translate his work into tabloid-friendly essays with his own photos to add authority and drama. In Laird's writing and in anonymous articles, published scientific research was woven into coherent discussions of popular topics (e.g., can one read character from facial qualities?). I will conclude with a review of historical approaches to popularization that compete with or complement Burnham's.
Perceiving it to be a panacea for problems facing France after 1870, scores of popularizers worked to create a favorable public image of science. Directing their efforts at the middle classes, popularizers found it profitable to foster the ideology of that group. Hence, they made science popularization a means of ideological defense. Since this was a period when growing feminist demands significantly challenged the ideology of the middle classes, one area where the popularizers defended existing dominant assumptions was in their adoption of a negative conception of the role of women in society. This paper examines the stereotypical negative view of women incorporated in the popularization of science and medicine in France from 1870 to 1914. Specifically, it deals with visual images depicting science, and women's relationship to it, in various art forms of the period. Examining how science was portrayed in the Salon art of painters such as Jehan-Georges Vibert, Henri Gervex, Georges Chicotot, and in the sculpture of Louis-Ernest Barrias, makes obvious the gender stereotyping present in images of French science. By comparing these negative portrayals of women in science with illustrations that appeared in newspapers, popular science periodicals, and in science books, I show how the "low" art of the period reinforced the prevailing depreciative perception of women's intellectual and scientific abilities. For contrast, I will juxtaposition these negative images of women with positive images of male scientists in which they are depicted as heroes of modern life. By examining images of science popularization, I demonstrate that the popularizers' conception of women replicated and defended that of the dominant middle class. Science popularization in France in this period thus simultaneously promoted science and a negative stereotype of women.
My paper aims to examine a recurrent narrative in the history of units and standards. It is a comparison between the existence of different languages and lexicons, on the one hand, and the existence of diverse (and therefore the lack of the standard) weights and measures, on the other. For example, John Swinton stated in 1779 that "people who use measures differing both in size and name speak as it were different languages." My paper traces various appearances of this narrative in John Swinton, John Riggs Miller who wrote the book Equalization of the Weights and Measures of Great Britain (1790), John Frederick William Herschel's Preliminary Discourse, James Clerk Maxwell's article on "Atom," John Ambrose Fleming's proposal for the establishment of the Standardizing Laboratory, and William Thomson's 1883 lecture on "Electrical Units of Measurement." I will show that some changes in this "linguistic metaphor" through the 18th and 19th centuries were associated with, and mutually reinforced, the idea of "natural" units and standards.
The issue of the intended audience of a book is one which has recently gained the attention of historians of science. In many cases, natural philosophers had in mind a range of individuals-be they from a religious, political, or philosophical background-whom they wanted to speak to through their work. Therefore, understanding who the author had in mind as their readership can provide an important insight into how they wanted their book to be received and read, and may reveal the importance of specific parts of a work for different individuals. My aim in this talk is to examine such authorial intentions by looking at two of Christiaan Huygens' books on the pendulum clock, the Horologium published in 1658 and the Horologium Oscillatorium, Huygens' magnum opus, published in 1673. I first discuss the content of both of these works, using them as examples of how Huygens shaped the content his books in order to reach multiple audiences. I then take up the issue of dedicatory copies of texts, examining Huygens' lists of recipients which I have found for both editions of the Horologium. By evaluating these lists in conjunction with each book's content, I will argue that Huygens not only targeted a different audience in each part of his book, but he also reached a further audience by using the object of the book as a gift, which some of his recipients might never actually read, but would appreciate. From my discussion I hope to make clear the notion that early modern texts such as Huygens' were not written for a single audience of mathematicians or natural philosophers, but that the book-both as text and as object-was consciously directed toward many groups, including patrons, mathematicians, technicians, and men of letters.
Much recent work in the history of science has focused on how self-proclaimed experts in natural knowledge, especially members of the new scientific societies and academies, winnowed the reports of early modern European travelers for credibility and inclusion in the growing stock of knowledge about the natural world. Unlike the ideal Merchants of Light who sailed from Francis Bacon's Bensalem in search of knowledge, early modern travelers - sailors, merchants, soldiers, missionaries - spanned the globe for more instrumental purposes, from trade in silks and spices, to the conquest of lands and souls. Yet despite their diverse motivations, skills, and interests, such travelers often voyaged, like Bacon's Merchants of Light, in service to the state. Journeying from metropolitan France to the furthest reaches of French expansionist ambitions in Asia and the Americas, members of Catholic religious orders traversed an unstable terrain of official French endorsement dominated by the Parisian Académie des Sciences, whose doors were closed to members of the religious orders. This paper examines the complex processes by which these religious travelers sought, acquired, or claimed recognition from the French monarchy as expert scientific travelers.
Einstein's special theory of relativity was first introduced into China in 1917. Within only a few years, relativity had become widely known among Chinese intellectuals. China's reception of relativity in these early years was fast and almost unanimously positive. Fifty years later however, during the Cultural Revolution, Einstein and his relativity became the targets of organized criticism. This criticism was in general not scientific, but philosophical, ideological, and political. Critics often deliberately confused relativity in physics with relativism in philosophy. They labeled Einstein "the greatest bourgeois reactionary academic authority in natural science," and relativity a "reactionary bourgeois theory". The critics claimed they made Einstein and relativity "targets of revolution" because "Natural science can not be advanced without revolutionizing the theory of relativity." This organized criticism was only a beginning of the so-called unprecedented "proletarian scientific revolution" in China. Ironically, the criticism movement in a sense helped promote the studies on Einstein and relativity in China. One of most significant "by-products" was the publication of the comprehensive three-volume Chinese translation of Einstein's collected works, which were published in 1976, the year when the "Cultural Revolution" ended. In this paper, I will trace the origin and development of the criticism during the "Cultural Revolution". I will pay special attention to the motivations behind Einstein's detractors. Finally, I will discuss the consequences of the criticism and the lessons that may be drawn from this upheaval in Chinese science.
During the winter and spring of 1939, as many leading American physicists were rapidly following up on the announcement of nuclear fission, the prominent theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer and his Ph.D. candidate Hartland S. Snyder were theorizing about the collapse of massive stars that had exhausted their energy reserves into what have come to be called "black holes." In this paper I first argue that Oppenheimer's academic contacts at Caltech and Mt. Wilson over the preceding decade together with string of near misses in his chosen field set the stage for his astrophysical research. Then I delineate his immediate intellectual path from an interest in the sources of stellar energy to an engagement with the profound yet esoteric problem of stellar collapse, suggesting that Hans Bethe's breakthrough on the first issue was a powerful incentive for work on the second. Next I consider how Oppenheimer and Snyder developed their scenario for a black hole's formation. And finally I discuss the reasons why the contemporary physics and astronomy communities paid so little heed to their findings. Besides illuminating Oppenheimer's career and the history of theoretical astrophysics during the 1930s, this story is of interest for the light that it sheds on the general issues of problem choice and research evaluation in interdisciplinary domains.
For the past 15 years, I have taught a course at the University of Texas on "The History of the Atomic Bomb." It focuses tightly on events from the discovery of fission in 1938 to the Oppenheimer security hearings in 1954, and combines a detailed examination of the scientific and technical issues involved with extensive treatment of the social and political context. The students are required to write papers analyzing and evaluating the American decision to drop atomic bombs on Japanese cities, and for the purposes of this session, I will focus on how I handle this always controversial subject. I will also discuss how I use the mid-1990s controversy over the Smithsonian's planned "Enola Gay" exhibit to bring out the continued resonance of the story of the atomic bomb, and to raise broader questions about how history gets written, rewritten, used, and understood.
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