April 2016 Member News

The Royal Society of New South Wales (the oldest learned society in the southern hemisphere) has awarded Warwick Anderson (University of Sydney) its History and Philosophy of Science Medal for 2015. In 2014, he was elected a Fellow of the Society.

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The Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) awarded Anila Asghar and Jamil Ragep (both of McGill University) a Partnership Development Grant, “Science Teaching in Pre-Modern and Modern Islamic Societies: Pedagogical Approaches in Religious, Institutional, and Geographical Contexts,” which will run from 2015 until 2019 and sponsor 5 workshops.

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Joe Bassi’s (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University) new book, A Scientific Peak: How Boulder Became a World Center for Space and Atmospheric Science, was selected for a 2015 Choice Award (Honorable Mention/History Category) by Atmospheric Science Librarians International (ALSI). The book chronicles the early stages of Boulder’s meteoric rise to become known as one of America’s smartest cities.

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The IRCPS is pleased to announce a new series of publications, Interpretatio: Sources and Studies in the History of Science, edited by Alan C. Bowen (Institute for Research in Classical Philosophy and Science) and Francesca Rochberg (University of California, Berkeley). This online series consists of devoted articles (less than 100 pages in length) on topics in the history of pre-modern science. Please go to http://www.ircps.org/interpretatio and to http://www.ircps.org/interpretatio/about-A for information about the series and its availability, respectively. For articles currently online, please go to http://jps.library.utoronto.ca/index.php/interpretatioa. Prospective authors are warmly invited to contact the editors.

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Ron Brashear (Chemical Heritage Foundation) is the chair elect of the Division of the History of Chemistry of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society. He will serve as chair in 2017-2018.

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Ron Calinger’s (Catholic University of America, Emeritus) latest book, Leonhard Euler: Mathematical Genius in the Enlightenment has been published by Princeton University Press. At 669 pages, it is the first full-length biography of Euler. The book was reviewed in The Economist in January and includes an assessment by his contemporary Pierre-Simon Laplace who called Euler “the master of us all,” referring to mathematicians and those in the new mathematical sciences, especially in rational mechanics and theoretical astronomy. Dr. Calinger was invited to be part of the “Authors’ Series” at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, on April 12, near the birthday of Euler.

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The upcoming issue of Historia Scientiarum will be a special volume titled “Soviet Science beyond the Borders,” (vol. 26, No. 1) and will include articles by William deJong-Lambert (Bronx Community College), Hirofumi Saito, Tsuyoshi Fujioka, and Hiroshi Ichikawa.

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Krishna Dronamraju (Foundation of Genetic Research) delivered the plenary address at the 103rd Annual Meeting of the Indian Science Congress Association, on the “History of biomarkers in disease, especially cancer,” at the University of Mysore, India. His book, Science and Controversy: A Biography of J.B.S. Haldane, will be published by Oxford University Press this year. Krishna is a former pupil of Haldane.

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James Fleming (Colby College) will become Colby’s Charles A. Dana Professor of Science, Technology, and Society. Jim has written, edited, or co-edited 22 books, and his new book, Inventing Atmospheric Science, is a history of modern meteorology. The director of the Science, Technology, and Society Program, he came to Colby in 1988. He holds a B.S. from Pennsylvania State University, an M.S. in atmospheric science from Colorado State University, and an M.A. and PhD in history from Princeton University.

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Members who enjoyed the works of Michel Morange, Matthew Cobb, and Michael Ruse, may—despite its forbidding title—like the new edition of Evolutionary Bioinformatics (Springer 2016) by Donald Forsdyke (Queen’s University, Canada). Chock full of history (somewhat different from that expounded by these distinguished authors), plus some philosophical splashes, the 3rd edition has an expanded section on brain informatics and is backed by online videos for high school students and others new to the field. The contents may be viewed at: http://post.queensu.ca/~forsdyke/book06.htm. Bookmetrix recorded 16,636 2nd edition chapter downloads between 2013 and 2015.

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The PROSE Awards, which recognize “the very best in professional and scholarly publishing,” chose W. Bruce Fye’s (Mayo Clinic), Caring for the Heart: Mayo Clinic and the Rise of Specialization (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015) for honorable mention in the History of STM category.

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Jean Gayon (University of Paris) has recently co-edited four different books and an article:

  • Jacques Monod – A theorist in the era of molecular biology / Un théoricien à l’ère de la biologie moléculaire, Guest Editors : Jean Gayon, Michel Morange, François Gros. Comptes Rendus Biologies, Volume 338, Issue 6, Pages 369-424 (June 2015).
  • Inquiring into Human Enhancement. Interdisciplinary and International Perspectives. Edited by Simone Bateman, Jean Gayon, Sylvie Allouche, Jérôme Goffette and Michela Marzano. London, Palgrave MacMillan, 2015.
  • Inquiring into Animal Enhancement. Model or Countermodel of Human Enhancement. Edited by Simone Bateman, Jean Gayon, Sylvie Allouche, Jérôme Goffette and Michela Marzano. London, Palgrave MacMillan, 2015.
  • L’épistémologie française 1830-1970, M. Bitbol & J. Gayon, eds., Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 2nd revised ed., Paris, Editions Matériologiques, 2015.
  • The Contributions — and Collapse — of Lamarckian Heredity in Pasteurian Molecular Biology: 1. Lyosegeny, 1900-1960 (with L. Loison and R.M. Burian), Journal of History of Biology, Published online 05 January 2016, 48 p., DOI 10.1007/s10739-015-9434-3.

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Loren Graham (MIT), together with his co-author Jean-Michel Kantor, went on a book tour in Iran in November-December 2015 for their book Naming Infinity, which has just been published in Farsi, among 10 other languages. They lectured at the universities of Teheran, Isfahan, and Shiraz. Loren’s new book, Lysenko’s Ghost: Epigenetics and Russia, was published in March, 2016 by Harvard University Press.

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Ben Gross was recently appointed Associate Vice President for Collections at the Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering, and Technology in Kansas City, Missouri, beginning January 2016.

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Katja Guenther’s (Princeton University) book Localization and Its Discontents: A Genealogy of Psychoanalysis and the Neuro Disciplines was published by the University of Chicago Press in December 2015. The book has been shortlisted for the 2016 Pickstone Prize awarded by the British Society for the History of Science for the “best scholarly book in the history of science.”

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Erling Haagensen is presently working on a supplement to the article “Medieval Round Churches and the Shape of the Earth” (Isis 2015; 106(4), 825-834). The 4 round churches/observatories seem to indicate a hitherto unknown, but ingenious, way of using the traditional astro-geodetic method by Eratosthenes. Mr. Haagensen is now asking for help from a competent geodesist to evaluate his findings. If his conclusions are sound, he will invite the person in question to coauthor an article. If interested, please email him at merling@merling.dk.

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Danian Hu (The City College of New York) has published a new article, “American Influence on Chinese Physics Study in the Early Twentieth Century,” Physics in Perspective, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 268-297 (January 2016). Hu has also been recently appointed to the editorial board of the following two journals:

  • Endeavour—a quarterly magazine reviewing the history and philosophy of science in the service of mankind; 2016-
  • Studies in the History of Natural Sciences [自然科学史研究]— the only national journal in the People’s Republic of China devoted to interdisciplinary and comprehensive studies in the history of science, technology, and medicine; 2015-

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Allison Kavey’s (City University of New York) co-edited book with Elizabeth Ketner, Imagining Early Modern Histories, was released by Ashgate in January. Two chapters in particular are of interest to historians of science: Hyunhee Park’s piece on imagined geographies in early modern Asia and the intellectual effect of the fictional attribution of the Corpus Hermeticum on Renaissance natural philosophy.

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Christine Keiner (RIT College of Liberal Arts) is pleased to announce that an HSS-sponsored session at the American Historical Association meeting in 2014 has led to the publication of “Panama Canal Forum: From the Conquest of Nature to the Construction of New Ecologies,” which has appeared in Environmental History. It features several articles by HSS members.

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John Krige (Georgia Tech) and Jessica Wang (University of British Columbia) edited the latest special issue of History and Technology: An International Journal entitled, Nation, Knowledge and Imagined Futures: Science, Technology and Nation-Building, Post-1945. 31:3 (2015), 171-340. The journal features an introduction by the editors and articles by Lauren Hirshberg, Bill Leslie, Projit Mukharji (University of Pennsylvania), Clapperton Mavhunga, Jenny Smith, Gabriela Soto Laveaga (University of California, Santa Barbara), Edna Suárez-Diaz (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México), and Gisela Mateos and Zuoyue Wang (California State University).

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Elizabeth A. Lamprecht (Adrian College) has recently published a paper and an article review:

  • “The Life of Mary Fairfax Somerville, Mathematician and Scientist: A Study in Contrasts” in the Michigan Academician: Papers of the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters, Volume XLII 2015 Number 1, pages 1-25.
  • “The Allure of Mathematics or Book Review: Seduced by Logic: Émilie Du Châtelet, Mary Somerville, and the Newtonian Revolution, by Robyn Arianrhod” in the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, Volume 6, Issue 1, January 2016, pages 277-284.

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Kenneth M. Ludmerer (Washington University in St. Louis) received the 2016 Distinguished Service Award from the Washington University School of Medicine for his contributions to medical education and the history of medicine.

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Adrienne Mayor (Stanford University) served as a nonfiction judge for the 2015 National Book Awards. Her chapter, “Warrior Women: The Archaeology of Amazons,” in Women in Antiquity: Real Women Across the Ancient World, ed. Jean Turfa and Stephanie Budin, is forthcoming with Routledge; and she wrote the Foreword for John Colarusso’s Nart Sagas from the Caucasus (Princeton 2016). She continues as a monthly contributor to the award-winning history of science website “Wonders and Marvels.” This spring Mayor has been invited to give a talk at the Carlos Museum, Emory University; to present the annual Burnett Lecture in Classics at San Diego State University; and to speak at University of California-Davis and the California Classical Association, all on her book The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women (Princeton 2014), which is being translated into German by Phoibos (Vienna).

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Edward K. Morris (University of Kansas) is the 2016 president-elect of the American Psychological Association’s Division 26—the Society for the History of Psychology.

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Tom Mullaney (Stanford University) curated/opened an exhibit at Stanford University entitled The Chinese Typewriter: The Design and Science of East Asian Information Technology.

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Tania Munz was recently appointed Vice President of Research and Scholarship at the Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering, and Technology in Kansas City, Mo., beginning January 2016.

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Donald L. Opitz (DePaul University) was appointed Associate Dean of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment in DePaul University’s School for New Learning and Faculty Fellow of the OpEd Project’s Public Voices Greenhouse at DePaul.

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Laura Otis’s (Emory University) book, Rethinking Thought: Inside the Minds of Creative Scientists and Artists, was published this year by Oxford University Press. The book examines the ways that individual people differ in the conscious experience of thought, especially with regard to visual mental imagery and verbal language. It compares findings from neuroscience, psychology, philosophy, and linguistics with the insights of creative people.

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F. Jamil Ragep (McGill University) and Taro Mimura edited and translated Epistles of The Brethren of Purity: On Astronomia: An Arabic Critical Edition and English Translation of Epistle 3 (Oxford University Press, 2015), in association with The Institute of Ismaili Studies.

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Jessica Riskin’s (Stanford University) latest book, The Restless Clock: A History of the Centuries-Long Argument over What Makes Living Things Tick was published in March 2016 by the University of Chicago Press.

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Michael F. Robinson (University of Hartford) has published The Lost White Tribe: Explorers, Scientists, and the Theory that Changed a Continent (Oxford University Press, 2016). The book traces the rise and fall of the Hamitic Hypothesis, a racial theory rooted in the Hebrew Bible and adapted by explorers and scientists in the late nineteenth century to shape colonial practices around the world.

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Carlos Eduardo Sierra C. (Universidad Nacional de Colombia) is a peer reviewer for Revista Latinoamericana de Bioética (Latin American Journal of Bioethics) and has recently published five articles:

  • Sierra C., Carlos Eduardo. “Cajal y la disciplina intelectual.” In: Comarca (Asociación Promoción Integral de Ayerbe y Comarca, APIAC). N° 88 (Enero-Marzo 2016). (Spain).
  • On History of Astronomy: Sierra C., Carlos Eduardo. In: Circular de la Red de Astronomía de Colombia. Nos 825, 827, 829, 831.
  • Sierra C., Carlos Eduardo. “La dimensión ética en la obra de Antonio Mora Vélez.” In: Bioética & Debat: Tribuna abierta del Institut Borja de Bioética, Universitat Ramon Llull. (Febrero 2016). (Spain).
  • Sierra C., Carlos Eduardo. “Convivencialidad y altermundialismo: El legado de Iván Illich.” In: Red Universidad Nómada, 7 de Enero de 2016, http://www.uninomada.co/inicio/index.php/altermundialismo. (Colombia).
  • Cajal y la ética pública. In: Comarca (Asociación Promoción Integral de Ayerbe y Comarca, APIAC). N° 87 (Octubre-Diciembre 2015). (Spain).

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Marianne Sommer’s (University of Lucerne) new book History Within: The Science, Culture, and Politics of Bones, Organisms, and Molecules (Chicago University Press, 2016) will be available in stores starting in April 2016.

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Edna Suárez-Díaz (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) and Gisela Mateos have published their book Radioisótopos itinerantes en América Latina. Una historia de ciencia por Tierra y por Mar (Itinerant Radioisotopes in Latin America. A history of science by land and sea) (UNAM 2015). The book follows the Mobile Radioisotope Exhibition, organized by the International Atomic Energy Agency, in its travel through six Latin American countries between 1960 and 1965.

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David R. Topper’s (The University of Winnipeg) latest book, Einstein for Anyone: A Quick Read (Vernon Press, 2015), foreword by Stephen Brush is available at a 22% discount (using code CFC170D19F on checkout).

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Peter D. Usher’s (Pennsylvania State University) book, Shakespeare and Saturn: Accounting for Appearances, was recently published by Peter Lang Publishers in 2015.

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In 2015, Glen Van Brummelen (Quest University, Canada) won the Mathematical Association of America’s Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo award, which honors distinguished teaching of undergraduate mathematics in North America.

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Nick Wilding (Georgia State University) published Faussaire de Lune. Autopsie d’une imposture: Galilée et ses contrefacteurs with the Bibliothèque Nationale de France on the recent forgery of Galileo’s Sidereus Nuncius. His Galileo’s Idol: Gianfrancesco Sagredo and the Politics of Information (Chicago, 2014) won the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Italian Studies from the Modern Language Association. He is currently a fellow at the Cullman Center at the New York Public Library.

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Adrian Wüthrich (Technical University Berlin) is one of 12 principal investigators and collaborators who received funding for setting up an interdisciplinary research unit on the “Epistemology of the Large Hadron Collider.” The subproject in the history of science will be concerned with the development of the concept of virtual particles.

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Gar AllenSymposium in Honor of Gar Allen

Garland (Gar) Allen retired in 2014 as Professor of Biology at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. A symposium, organized by Jane Maienschein (Arizona State) and Michael Dietrich (Dartmouth) in October 2014, focused on his 1978 book, Life Science in the Twentieth Century, and addressed the following question: “What Would the History of 20th-Century Biology Look Like If Written Today?” Speakers included William Bechtel (UC San Diego), John Beatty (University of British Columbia), Richard Burkhardt (University of Illinois), Carl Craver (Washington University), Michael Dietrich, Paul Farber (Oregon State), Kim Kleinman (Webster University), Jane Maienschein and Diane Paul (University of Massachusetts, Boston). Allen gave a general summary of his own answer to the symposium question. Everett Mendelsohn was the lead speaker and moderator. The general consensus of the participants, including Allen himself, was that the intervening developments in historiography, as well as the developments in biology in the last quarter of the century, would lead to a very different understanding of the development of biology. The papers are slated for publication in a special issue of the Journal of the History of Biology. Following these newer developments, Allen is currently finishing a book on the history of genetics in the twentieth century.

Historians of Science Win the Herbert Feis Prize from the American Historical Association Two Years Running!

Established in 1984, the Feis Prize is offered annually by the American Historical Association to recognize distinguished contributions to public history during the previous 10 years. The prize is named in memory of Herbert Feis (1893–1972), a public servant and historian of recent American foreign policy, with an initial endowment from the Rockefeller Foundation. The prize was originally given for books produced by historians working outside of academe. In 2006, the scope of the award was changed to emphasize significant contributions in the field of public history.

Pam Henson receiving the Joseph H. Hazen Education Prize from HSS President Paul Farber at the 2011 HSS meeting

Pam Henson receiving the Joseph H. Hazen Education Prize from HSS President Paul Farber at the 2011 HSS meeting.

 

Naomi Oreskes receiving the HSS’s 2011 Watson Davis and Helen Miles Davis Prize for best book aimed at a general audience. The prize was for Merchants of Doubt (which she co-authored with Erik Conway).

Naomi Oreskes receiving the HSS’s 2011 Watson Davis and Helen Miles Davis Prize for best book aimed at a general audience. The prize was for Merchants of Doubt (which she co-authored with Erik Conway).

HSS is delighted to announce that Pamela M. Henson (The Smithsonian Institution Archives) is the 2016 recipient of the prize. Pam is director of the Institutional History Division of the Smithsonian Institution Archives, and is warmly acknowledged by countless scholars in our field who benefit from her experience and support during their visits to the archives. The citation mentions how she has helped to steward and grow our national collections for decades, enriching the fabric of public history while doing so. In her career she has curated over a dozen exhibits, mentored the careers of countless scholars, advised Smithsonian secretaries and regents, and made major contributions of her own to the history of science.

Naomi Oreskes (Harvard University), professor of the history of science and affiliated professor of Earth and planetary sciences at Harvard University, won the prize in 2015. The citation explains how she has shaped the practice of public history; she has engaged with many communities and professionals across the disciplines who wish to maintain the primacy of evidence, context, and truth in the dialogue between historians and public decision makers. By insisting that “history matters,” she has extended the role of the past in the public policy debates of the present, shaping the careers of her students, colleagues, and the communities they serve.

Congratulations to Pam and Naomi!

Sarton Memorial Lecture, 2016: David Kaiser (MIT) on “Einstein’s Legacy: Studying Gravity in War and Peace”

Sarton Memorial Lecture, 2016: David Kaiser (MIT) on “Einstein’s Legacy: Studying Gravity in War and Peace”This past February 14th, in Washington DC, David Kaiser delivered the 2016 Sarton Memorial Lecture at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The Sarton Memorial Lecture has a long and distinguished history, having been offered as an integral part of the program at AAAS meetings since 1960, and always focusing on the significant role that history and philosophy play in understanding science as it is practiced today. It is supported by Section L of the AAAS, which is the Section dedicated to the history and philosophy of science, and is sponsored and organized by the History of Science Society. It is one of the “big three” lectures delivered annually by the Society (Sarton (AAAS), Distinguished (HSS), and Hazen (New York Academy of Science), in case you didn’t know).

David spoke to a packed room eager to hear about Einstein. In a remarkable coincidence, only a few days’ beforehand, astronomers announced the observation of gravitational waves that, exactly one hundred years earlier, had been predicted by Einstein’s theory. This amazing development (which could hardly have been better timed) was woven into David’s lecture with great aplomb.

David Kaiser is Germeshausen Professor of the History of Science and Professor of Physics at MIT, where he is also Chair of the Program in Science, Technology, & Society. His books include, Drawing Theories Apart: The Dispersion of Feynman Diagrams in Postwar Physics (2005), which received the Pfizer Prize from HSS for best book in the field, and How the Hippies Saved Physics: Science, Counterculture, and the Quantum Revival (2011), which was named “Book of the Year” by Physics World magazine. The Hippies also won the Davis Prize from the HSS for best book aimed at a general audience. David’s current project is a history of research on general relativity over the twentieth century (in which those gravitational waves will surely now appear).

His Sarton lecture elegantly showed how historians integrate science, history, and politics. The popular image persists of Albert Einstein as a loner, someone who avoided the hustle and bustle of everyday life in favor of quiet contemplation. Yet we heard how Einstein was deeply engaged with politics throughout his life; indeed, he was so active politically that the U.S. government kept him under surveillance for decades, compiling a 2000-page secret file on his political activities. His most enduring scientific legacy, the general theory of relativity—physicists’ reigning explanation for gravity and the basis for nearly all our thinking about the cosmos—has likewise been cast as an austere temple standing aloof from the all-too-human dramas of political history. David explained that this was hardly so, nor could it have been so. The lecture examined the many ways in which research on general relativity was embedded in, and at times engulfed by, the tumult of world politics over the course of the twentieth century. It was a terrific topic, a great lecture, and a very appreciative audience. Thank you David!

From the Isis Editorial Office

By the first of March, 2016, Eric Jorink has resigned as one of the two book review editors (the other is Ad Maas from the Museum Boerhaave). In addition to Eric’s one day at the office he is also, beside his principal job at the Huygens ING Institute, a part-time Full Professor at Leyden University. To wear three different hats in quick alternation over the week has understandably become a bit too troublesome for him. A worthy successor has now been found at the same supportive Institute in the person of Dr. Huib Zuidervaart.

HSS/NASA Fellowship Awarded to Gemma Cirac

The 2015-2016 HSS/NASA Fellowship in the History of Space Science has been awarded to Gemma Cirac, historian of sciences and technologies at Institute Pierre Simon Laplace in Paris, France. Cirac’s research project examines the satellite data infrastructures as applied to the domain of Earth observation. The fellowship will allow her to do nine months of research, working in archives at the NASA History Archives in Washington D.C. and NOAA’s library in Silver Spring, as well as conducting interviews with involved key actors in the United States.

Interested in exploring and explaining transformations in how satellite data have been collected, produced, distributed, and used in different domains of the Earth system sciences (and other applications) over time, she is currently researching for a paper on the processes of commercializing satellite weather data, which are achieving increasing momentum since the beginning of the 21st century in the United States. This research constitutes the last part of a book that Cirac is preparing on the trajectories of satellite data from their design and gathering to their utilization in different contexts. Together with her doctoral dissertation “POLDER and the age of space sciences: A study of technological satellite data practices,” Cirac addresses historical and epistemological aspects of how we measure the Earth with space-based technologies and transform these measurements into information about the oceans, the atmosphere, the vegetation or the climate, and how, in so doing, the Earth is transformed into a political and economic object.

Cirac is the author of three articles. The first, “Les conservateurs de données satellitales. Histoire d’une mise en invisibilité” was published in the French review Terminal. The second one, “Factories of satellite data-production. Remote-sensing and Earth sciences in France” is in the course of being edited by the journal ICON. The last one, provisionally entitled “Satellite remote-sensing for what? The emergence of distinct research communities around satellite data in France,” is in a peer-review phase at Technology and Culture. She has also contributed to the collective book “Observer la Terre depuis l’espace” with a chapter dedicated to “Documenter le climat.”