Joseph H. Hazen Lecture in New York

Since 2006, the HSS has been proud to sponsor a biennial lecture in New York City made possible by a generous gift from Cynthia Hazen Polsky, daughter of Joseph Hazen. (For more information on Joseph Hazen and this gift see the April 1997 Newsletter). Our deep thanks to Jean-François Gauvin, Chair of our Committee on Education and Engagement, and to the many others who have worked so diligently on this lecture.

Here are the details. The lecture is scheduled for 23 April at 2 pm (14:00) EST and our featured speaker is Latif Nasser, a graduate of Harvard’s history of science program. This will not be a standard lecture but an interactive encounter, which will include some of HSS’s most dynamic members.


While a grad student in the history of science, Latif Nasser started moonlighting as a journalist.  Upon graduating, he took the plunge covering science in print for the Boston Globe, through the podcast Radiolab, and in a Netflix docuseries called Connected.  In this Hazen lecture, he will tell a bit about this professional left turn, as well as give a few tips about how to tell science stories – past and present – to audiences outside academia.

Host, Connected (Netflix)

Co-Host, Radiolab (WNYC Studios)

Latif is co-host of the award-winning WNYC Studios show Radiolab, where he has reported stories on everything from snowflake photography to space junk to a polar bear who liked to have sex with grizzly bears. In addition to his work in audio, Latif is the host and executive producer of the Netflix science documentary series, Connected.  He has also given two TED talks, and written for the Boston Globe Ideas section. He has a PhD from Harvard’s History of Science department.

Image: (and just give credit to WNYC Studios)

 Moderator: Alex Wellerstein

Alex Wellerstein is a historian of science and nuclear technology at the Stevens Institute of Technology, where he is the Director of Science and Technology Studies in the College of Arts and Letters. His first book, Restricted Data: The History of Nuclear Secrecy in the United States, is being published by University of Chicago Press in spring 2021. He received his PhD from the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University in 2010, and a BA in History from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2002. His writings on the history of nuclear weapons have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Magazine, Harper’s Magazine, and the Washington Post, among other venues, and his online nuclear weapon effects simulator, the NUKEMAP, has been used by over 25 million people globally.

Special guest: Ingrid Ockert

Ingrid Ockert is a historian of science and media. She earned a PhD from Princeton University’s History of Science Program in 2018. Based on archival materials and interviews with industry insiders, her dissertation provides a comprehensive study into the production of science television series in the United States. Her research focuses on a central question: what makes science ‘fun’? Ockert is a former HSS/NASA Aerospace History Fellow and Haas Postdoctoral Fellow at the Science History Institute. She’s written for Physics Today, Science, and Scientific American. Currently, she works as a communications coordinator for the Workforce Development and Education Department at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Commentators: Sarah Pickman & Sarah Qidwai

Sarah Pickman is completing her Ph.D. in History of Science and Medicine at Yale, where her dissertation focuses on the material culture of exploration in extreme environments, especially polar environments, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Her broader interests include the histories of anthropology, museums, physiology, and colonial science, and she has a professional background in museum administration.

Sarah A. Qidwai is a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto’s Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, where she is working on a dissertation on the history of science and Islam in British India. Her dissertation focuses on the Indian Muslim Polymath Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan (1817-1898) and situates him within the existing historiography of nineteenth-century history of science. Her research interests include science and colonialism and she has published and provided discourse on what is left out when we use terms such as ‘Darwinism’ to represent the history of evolutionary biology.