Fifteenth Biennial History of Astronomy Workshop (NDXV) Postponed

row of astrolabes

Biennial History of Astronomy Workshops

Announcement: The Fifteenth Biennial History of Astronomy Workshop (NDXV), originally scheduled for July 2021, has been postponed until the following year on June 8–12, 2022. Though we hope the effects of COVID-19 will largely be under control by summer 2021, the current economic fallout of social distancing is expected to have a significant effect on university budgets for the 2020–21 academic year. In this light, the workshop organizers have made the decision to postpone the workshop for one year knowing that workshop funding, and likely funding for many scholars who might attend, is in jeopardy. We will then return to our biennial schedule, so that the following workshops will be planned for 2024, 2026, and so on.

The NDXV workshop will take place at the University of Notre Dame as usual and will include the traditional one-day visit to the Adler Planetarium in Chicago. Further details, including the call for papers, sessions, and posters, will be provided towards the end of 2021.


In 1993 the first Biennial History of Astronomy Workshop took place at the University of Notre Dame and launched what has become a stimulating forum for scholars of all levels and interests in the history of astronomy. Notable has been the workshop’s attention to the teaching of the history of astronomy as well as the warm welcome given to graduate students and independent scholars.

A workshop typically attracts 60-65 scholars who take part in a thematic program of talks, panel discussions, and, in some years, hands-on demonstrations. All aspects of the history of astronomy receive attention and across all time periods. Furthermore, the workshop’s residential format ensures ample time outside of the scheduled meetings for participants to converse. When the weather allows, a visit to the Notre Dame Observatory is usually planned.

An evening banquet with a well-known speaker tops off the workshop and helps to make this biennial gathering much anticipated among historians of astronomy.

Upcoming Workshop

The Fifteenth Biennial History of Astronomy Workshop will be held June 8–12, 2022 at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, and will include a one-day trip to the Adler Planetarium in Chicago. Further details, including the call for papers, sessions, and posters, will be provided towards the end of 2021.

Recent Workshop

The Fourteenth Biennial History of Astronomy Workshop was held 19-22 June 2019. The theme of the upcoming conference was “Images in the History of Astronomy,” recognizing the broad variety of roles that images, both captured and created, have played in the historical development of astronomy. More details here…

Our invited guest speaker, Omar Nasim, Professor for the History of Science at the University of Regensburg (Germany), is a leading scholar on image-making and visualization in astronomy, following up his award-winning book Observing by Hand: Sketching the Nebulae in the Nineteenth Century with new research on astrophotography.

Acknowledgments: Generous support for the workshop is provided by the Graduate Program in the History and Philosophy of Science, the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts (ISLA), the College of Science’s Nieuwland Lecture Series, the College of Arts and Letters, and the Department of Physics of the University of Notre Dame, as well as the Vatican Observatory Foundation and the Adler Planetarium.

Eikón Imago: Call for articles extended to April 30, 2020

We want to present our Eikón / Imago Scientific Journal, edited by the CAPIRE Research Team of the Complutense University of Madrid. It is an annual academic publication whose research interest focuses on iconography and visual culture, from a thematic scope that encompasses the forms and meanings of the images of any era, culture or country, as well as any thematic, typological or disciplinary variant: religious, mythological, political, musical, fantastic, animalistic and other.

Each issue of Eikón / Imago Magazine consists of three sections:

  • Miscellany: related to any aspect of the general thematic coverage of the Journal (free peer review articles).
  • Monographic: the topic change every year. This year 2020 it is: War and Otherness. Images of the Enemy in the Visual Culture, from the Middle Ages to Nowadays (ed. by Borja Franco)
  • Reviews and Chronicles of new books, exhibitions, and conferences.

We are accepting article proposals for the monographic and miscellaneous sections before April 30th 2020 (deadline extended).

You can find more about us or write to us at

Donald Forsdyke on Theories of Aging, Informational Aspects of DNA, and England’s Pasteur

When messengers are not authors of messages they bear, they should not be praised for the novelty of ideas in the messages. Donald Forsdyke (Queen’s University, Canada) has made a case that certain accolades bestowed upon Peter Medawar and Erwin Schrödinger for their respective contributions to theories of aging and of informational aspects of DNA, should rightly be assigned to the Victorian polymath, Samuel Butler (see Biological Theory 15, 50-55). Forsdyke has extensive webpages on Samuel Butler, George Romanes, William Bateson and – of particular significance in light of COVID-19 – Romanes’ mentor, John Burdon Sanderson (1828-1905). The account in the 1860s of the rapidly spreading cattle plague (rinderpest) by “England’s Pasteur” was scrutinized by the politicians no less intently than they today scrutinize accounts of the rapidly spreading coronavirus. Visit the website.

Monica Green Talk Recording: What Happens When We Expand the Chronology and Geography of Plague? Or Why ‘Yersina pestis’ is a Good ‘Model Organism’ in These Pandemic Times

On 16 March 2020, Monica Green delivered a talk at the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research titled “What Happens When We Expand the Chronology and Geography of Plague? Or Why ‘Yersina pestis’ is a Good ‘Model Organism’ in These Pandemic Times.” The talk was recorded and can be found here: (introduction starts at 0:50, talk begins at 2:25).

2020 Fellows of the American Council of Learned Societies

The following fellows’ topics deal with elements of science, technology, or medicine. Please note the disciplinary breadth of the projects.


Javier Patino Loira  |  Abstract

Assistant Professor, Spanish and Portuguese, University of California, Los Angeles  –  Sharp Minds: Metaphor and the Cult of Ingenuity in an Age of Science (1639-1654)



Jon T. Coleman  |  Abstract

Professor, History, University of Notre Dame  –  The Mighty Kankakee: History Against the Current



Samira Sheikh  |  Abstract

Associate Professor, History, Vanderbilt University  –  Landscapes of Conflict: Geographical mapping in early modern Gujarat, India



Arjun Guneratne  |  Abstract

Professor, Anthropology, Macalester College  –  Ornithology at the margins: The social history of a field science in Sri Lanka



Shelley Streeby  |  Abstract

Professor, Literature and Ethnic Studies, University of California, San Diego  –  Speculative Archives: Hidden Histories and Ecologies of Science Fiction World-Making



Nathan Vedal  |  Abstract

Assistant Professor, East Asian Languages and Cultures, Washington University in St. Louis  –  The Category of Everything: Ordering and Circulating Knowledge in Early Modern Chin

NEH Grants in History of Science, Technology, or Medicine 2020

Costanza Dopfel Outright:

$6,000 [Summer Stipends] Saint Mary’s College of California

Project Title:

Fertile Florence: How a Demographic Disaster Shaped the Italian Renaissance.

Project Description:

Research for a book on the connection between the Black Death and the origins of the Italian

National Geographic Society Outright:

$350,000 [Humanities Collections and Reference Resources]

Project Director:

Sara Manco

Project Title:

The Early Color Photography Conservation and Digitization Project.

Project Description:

The cataloging and digitization of 15,030 early color glass slides created by explorers and researchers between 1914 and 1944, covering the Arctic regions, Greenland, and Alaska. An accompanying finding aid would include not only description of the photographs but also some 3,000 textual objects that document the content and the creation of the collection.

Dana Tulodziecki Outright:

$6,000 [Summer Stipends] Purdue University

Project Title:

Expanding the Notion of Epistemic Success in Science.

Project Description:

Writing one chapter of a book that will argue for a new way of thinking about scientific progress.

Purdue University Outright:

$35,000 [Humanities Connections Planning Grants]

Project Director:

Lori Czerwionka; Eric Nauman (co-project director)

Project Title:

Integrating the Humanities and Global Engineering.

Project Description:

A curricular development project integrating the humanities with global engineering through an expanded program of language and cultural study.

Newman University Outright:

$35,000 [Humanities Connections Planning Grants]

Project Director:

Cheryl Golden

Project Title:

Emphasis in Technology and Human Values.

Project Description:

The development of a new Emphasis in Technology and Human Values program integrating humanities study into pre-professional pathways.

Peter Der Manuelian Outright:

$6,000 [Summer Stipends] Harvard University

Project Title:

A Biography of American Egyptologist George A. Reisner (1867–1942).

Project Description:

Research and writing leading to a biography of the influential American Egyptologist George A. Reisner (1867–1942).

John Shank Outright:

$6,000 [Summer Stipends] Regents of the University of Minnesota

Project Title:

A History of the French Académie Royale des Sciences, 1495–1746.

Project Description:

Research and writing leading to publication of the first volume of a planned three-volume history of the French Royal Academy of Sciences from 1495 to 1746.

Nathan Vedal Outright:

$6,000 [Summer Stipends] Washington University in St. Louis

Project Title:

The Category of Everything: Ordering and Circulating Knowledge in Early Modern China.

Project Description:

Research leading to a book on the organization of knowledge in sixteenth- to eighteenth-century China, based on the digital analysis of reference works such as encyclopedias and dictionaries.

Doane University Outright:

$100,000 [Humanities Connections Implementation Grants]

Project Director:

Kathleen Hanggi

Project Title:

Implementing a Certificate in Integrated Humanities Program.

Project Description:

A three-year project to implement a new general education certificate program in integrated humanities for psychology and biology majors.

Corning Museum of Glass Outright:

$75,000 [Exhibitions: Planning]

Project Director:

Carole Ann Fabian

Project Title:

Reimagining 35 Centuries of Glass.

Project Description:

Planning for the reinterpretation of an encyclopedic glass exhibition.

Grant Bollmer Outright:

$6,000 [Summer Stipends] North Carolina State University

Project Title:

Measurement and Technological Inscription in the Psychology of Emotions, 1850 to the Present.

Project Description:

Completion of a book on the history of technologies used to measure human emotions.

John Eicher Outright:

$6,000 [Summer Stipends] Pennsylvania State University, Altoona Campus

Project Title:

Influenza, War, and Religion in Rural Europe, 1918–1920.

Project Description:

Researching a history of the 1918 influenza epidemic in rural Europe, investigating the social, political, and religious factors shaping responses to the medical crisis.

Misericordia University Outright:

$33,964 [Humanities Connections Planning Grants]

Project Director:

Melanie Shephard; Cosima Wiese (co-project director)

Project Title:

Environmental Humanities Curriculum.

Project Description:

Planning for a new interdisciplinary major and minor in environmental studies, with a specific humanities focus.

Vanderbilt University Outright:

$33,375 [Humanities Connections Planning Grants]

Project Director:

Bonnie Dow; David Wright (co-project director)

Project Title:

Integrating the Humanities in the Communication of Science and Technology.

Project Description:

Faculty and curriculum development to create new core courses for an undergraduate program in communication of science and technology.

Norwich University Outright:

$100,000 [Humanities Connections Implementation Grants]

Project Director:

Amy Woodbury Tease; Tara Kulkarni (co-project director)

Project Title:

Building a Humanities-Centered Interdisciplinary Curriculum to Foster Citizen Scholars.

Project Description:

A three-year project to implement a new team-taught curriculum integrating humanities with the sciences and professional fields.

George Mason University Outright:

$334,720 [Humanities Collections and Reference Resources]

Project Director:

Lynn Eaton

Project Title:

Preserving the Legacy of James M. Buchanan.

Project Description:

Arrangement and description of 282 linear feet of archival material, including correspondence, memos, photographs, audiovisual recordings, and ephemera related to the career of James M. Buchanan, who won the Nobel Prize in economics in 1986 for his development of Public Choice Theory.

Museum of Flight Foundation Outright:

$236,824 [Humanities Collections and Reference Resources]

Project Director:

Nicole Davis

Project Title:

Processing the William P. and Moya Olsen Lear Papers.

Project Description:

The arrangement, description, cataloging, and selected digitization of 170 cubic feet of archival materials and 260 objects from the William P. and Moya Olsen Lear Collection, including correspondence, photographs, model planes, invention prototypes, and 33 audio recordings and 18 films related to groundbreaking discoveries in aviation and radio that span the twentieth century.

Anat Schechtman Outright:

$6,000 [Summer Stipends] University of Wisconsin, Madison

Project Title:

Non-Quantitative Notions of Infinity in Seventeenth-Century Philosophy.

Project Description:

Writing two chapters of a book on the concept of infinity in the writings of philosophers of the seventeenth century.

Call for volunteers: Critical hospital equipment service manuals

Heroic medical teams around the world are either dealing directly with or preparing for an onslaught. Biomedical technicians (biomeds for short) are the repair experts at hospitals, and in many regions they are stretched thin. There are a wide variety of machines made by a number of different manufacturers at hospitals around the world, and there is no single resource for how to repair all of them.

Some manufacturers heroically host service manuals for their equipment on their website, and some make them more challenging to locate. There is no single source of information for biomeds to access. Biomed forums are frequently populated with requests for specific PDF service manuals. The closest thing to a central resource is Frank’s Hospital Workshop, a fantastic website run out of Tanzania with hundreds of manuals and very helpful how-to resources for maintaining medical equipment. But Frank’s site is a one-person operation, and a single point of failure, should overwhelming traffic come calling.

We put out a call for manuals, and the medical community responded.

We have been donated a trove of tens of thousands of medical equipment service manuals. We’ve already uploaded the high-priority ventilators to iFixit, and now we’re working on getting the rest online.

iFixit’s team of about ten technical writers has been working to organize these files for the last two weeks, and we’re just overwhelmed. We can’t do it on our own.

We estimate that we have about 2,000 hours of file curation and organization to build this library. I am looking for people willing to donate at least 20 hours of time. The work is straightforward but requires attention to detail—mostly file organization and renaming. It’s a chance to learn a lot about the medical device maintenance world in a short amount of time! Did you know that hospitals have machines for calibrating their endoscopy machines? Well, you do now!

Can you help? Do you know someone that can? We need librarians, academics, and anyone else with a love for organization and a little extra time right now. No specific repair or medical knowledge is required.

We are going to host a training for new volunteers on Monday at 5:00 PM Pacific on Zoom. Please share this with anyone who could help. (We can set up another training for volunteers in different time zones if we have enough volunteers.)

Reach out to if you can help!

Kyle Wiens

Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier Named Acting National Science Foundation Director

National Science Foundation Press Release

Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier, Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, has been named Acting Director of the National Science Foundation effective March 31, 2020.

Droegemeier has previously served two six-year terms on the National Science Board, the governing body of NSF. He currently serves as the President’s Science Advisor and Director of OSTP, with responsibility for coordination of science and technology initiatives across the Federal Government.

“Director Kelvin Droegemeier has unmatched experience as the science advisor to the White House and leader the Office of Science and Technology Policy. He has a distinguished career of advancing the progress of science. NSF will continue to thrive under his leadership,” said former Director of NSF Dr. France Córdova.

The Director of the National Science Foundation is charged with managing the day-to-day operations of the Foundation and leads a workforce driven to improve the world through research, discovery and innovation.

“I am honored to serve in this acting capacity for NSF, and it is a homecoming of sorts as a former member of the National Science Board and longtime recipient of grants from NSF. I thank President Trump for his confidence as well as his appreciation that maintaining continuity of science leadership is more important now than ever. Dr. France Córdova has been a tireless advocate for science the past six years and is leaving NSF with a solid leadership team in place. My role at NSF is a temporary one as we all excitedly await the swift Senate confirmation of Dr. Panchanathan. I had the privilege of serving on the National Science Board with both Dr. Córdova and Dr. Panchanathan and both are exceptional leaders. The future is bright, and the United States will continue to lead the world in science and technology as we transition from one NSF Director to the next,” said The White House OSTP Director Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier.

“Kelvin has devoted his career to ensuring that science and engineering discoveries benefit and protect Americans. He has a deep appreciation for NSF’s foundational role in our innovation economy, as well as how the pieces of our ecosystem build on the seed corn of basic research. He loves our agency and I can’t think of a better caretaker. I look forward to working closely with him again,” said The Chair of the National Science Board Dr. Diane Souvaine.

Representatives for the Society for Social Studies of Science

Interested in being a student representative to the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) Council? Apply now!

The Student Section of the Society for Social Studies of Science (6S) is now accepting (self-)nominations for a new representative. The tentative deadline for nominations is May 1, 2020. Please submit nominations. For full consideration, please submit a CV, a statement of interest (not to exceed 300 words), and the name and contact information of one professional reference. (***A previous email sent out to student 4S members erroneously said to apply by emailing materials to the current reps; please use the above form instead.)

Applications will be reviewed by current 6S representatives and one member of the 4S Council, and up to three students will be asked to stand for election by all student members of 4S. Election of the new 6S Representative will occur in conjunction with the 4S Council elections, which will likely occur in late Spring or Summer 2020.


Job Description of a 6S Representative:

Elected representatives lead the student section of 4S (6S) and represent students on the 4S Council. They are elected in the spring/summer, for a term that lasts approximately 3 years. While they are not expected to attend the 4S meeting during the year in which they were elected, they are expected to attend the meeting (including the 4S Council meeting) during the three subsequent years of their term.
 6S Representatives must demonstrate characteristics of leadership, management, and organizational skills, interest and enthusiasm in serving as 6S representative, and maintain good academic standing in their graduate program.


Responsibilities for the Annual Meeting:

In addition to representing 6S at the 4S Council meeting, 6S Representatives will plan at least three events at each 4S meeting (a 6S business meeting, a workshop on issues of interest to students such as research interests, publishing or surviving job interviews, and an evening social event). They are also expected to attend and participate in the 4S Council meeting and 4S Business Meeting, representing student needs and concerns as appropriate. They should also work with the mentorship program coordinator and student volunteers coordinator as needed. They must produce a yearly written report to the 4S Council on 6S activities (in advance of the 4S Council meeting). Finally, they may help to organize accommodation or ride sharing to lessen the costs of attending the 4S annual meeting.

As 4S is an international organization, we strongly encourage students based all around the globe to apply! If you have any questions about the position of 6S representative or about the application process in general please do not hesitate to contact current student representatives Angela Okune (, Katie Ulrich (, or Aadita Chaudhury (


See more information online.