January 2018 – News from the Profession

Call for an Editor-in-Chief for the Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

By Thomas Hockey

My publisher, Springer, recently approached me about a potential third edition of the Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers (BEA). (The American Astronomical Society/History of Astronomy Division’s awarding the BEA 2nd edition with the AAS/HAD Osterbrock Prize may have played a part in their decision.) Yet I believe that it is time for me to retire to Editor-in-Chief Emeritus. Should Springer decide to proceed, my role will be to recommend to Springer a new Editor-in-Chief and advise him or her the best I can.

For instance, it will be up to the new Editor-in-Chief to bring to the project a new board of editors and establish a royalties distribution—to be approved by Springer. (Some of the crack editors from editions 1 and 2 may wish to continue.) The Editor-in-Chief also commissions article authors and has the last say on writing style, adherence to guidelines, and content. The BEA is published in English.

There should be approximately 200 new entries to add to those 1,800 already in the 2nd edition. There are still some figures from past centuries whom it would be beneficial to include; however, as the birth date limit for BEA 2 was 1920, there will be many persons born in the 1920s yet to add. The topics of new articles are up to the Editor-in-Chief. The number of portraits should be increased by approximately ten percent.

I would imagine that the 3rd edition would be published in 2021 or sooner; thus staffing should commence relatively soon. Ideally, interested parties will be able to discuss the project with a Springer representative and me at January’s AAS/HAD meeting. For instance, it could then be decided whether the BEA III is to be paper bound, or e-subscription only.

If there is interest in this rewarding but long-term position, please e-mail me for specifics, at the address below.

Thomas Hockey, Editor-in-Chief, the Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

Call for Submissions: Human Arenas

Human Arenas, an interdisciplinary journal of psychology, culture, and meaning is now online and ready to accept submissions. The first issue will be available in March/April 2018. HSS members are especially invited to submit your valuable contributions and to experiment with the new formats of academic writing the journal is developing.

The Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, at Yale University, seeks a person with interest and expertise in Economics and History for a postdoctoral position.

The appointment will begin in July of 2018 and continue until June of 2019. The primary duties of the postdoctoral associate will be to research and write a history of the Cowles Foundation and its relationship to the discipline of Economics. In doing so, the researcher will draw upon published materials, the Cowles archives, and archival materials at other locations. Under appropriate circumstances, the Cowles Foundation will support the publication of the results of the research by a major university press. The position will include a competitive salary and benefits as well as research funds. We will begin to review applications in December with a decision to be made early in the spring semester for a person to start in the fall of 2018.

Yale University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. Yale values diversity among its students, staff, and faculty and strongly welcomes applications from women, persons with disabilities, protected veterans and underrepresented minorities. Applicants should submit a letter of application, C.V., and three letters of recommendation to https://econjobmarket.org/postings.php?posid=4883

December 2017 HPS&ST Note

The December HPS&ST Note is now available.


  • Introduction
  • HPS&ST Conference at Zhejiang Normal University China
  • Philosophy Publications Archive: New Site for Downloadable Papers
  • 4th Latin American Conference of the International History, Philosophy and Science Teaching Group (IHPST-LA), September 3 to 5, 2018, Federal University of ABC, UFABC, Santo André, Brazil
  • The International Committee for the History of Technology’s 45th Symposium, 17 to 21 July 2018, Saint-Étienne, France
  • ICOHTEC Prizes for Outstanding Books and Articles in the History of Technology
  • History, Philosophy, and Science Teaching: New Perspectives
  • Rounded Globe, Downloadable Open-Access Books
  • Opinion Page: Mario Bunge, “In Defense of Scientism”
  • Recent HPS&ST Research Articles
  • Recent HPS&ST Related Books
  • Seeking an Assistant Editor
  • Coming HPS&ST Related Conferences

This HPS&ST monthly Note is sent to about 7,500 individuals who directly or indirectly have an interest in the connections of history and philosophy of science with theoretical, curricular, and pedagogical issues in science teaching, and/or interests in the promotion of more engaging and effective teaching of the history and philosophy of science. It is also sent to different HPS lists and to science education lists. It is an information list, not a discussion list, and seeks to serve the diverse international community of HPS&ST scholars and teachers by disseminating information about events and publications that connect to HPS&ST concerns.

Contributions to the Note (publications, thematic issues, conferences, Opinion Page, etc.) are welcome and should be sent to the editor: Michael R. Matthews, UNSW, m.matthews@unsw.edu.au.

Those who wish to subscribe to the list to receive the monthly Note should send a message to: hpsst-list-subscribe@lists.unsw.edu.au. There is no need for subject header or any message; the email itself suffices for addition to the hpsst-list.

East Asian Science, Technology and Society: an International Journal, Volume 11, Number 4 Published

The table of contents for East Asian Science, Technology and Society: an International Journal Volume 11, Number 4, December 2017 has been released. Please visit the website for more information.

The Othmer Library of the Chemical Heritage Foundation Acquires the Library of the Late Allen G. Debus, Noted Historian of Early Alchemy and Medicine

The Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) is pleased to announce the acquisition of the library of the noted historian of early alchemy and medicine Allen G. Debus (1926–2009), thanks to the generosity of his widow, Brunilda L. Debus. The collection of approximately 800 titles includes over 300 rare books and important secondary and reference works on the history of early medical chemistry. As is to be expected, the largest number—120—date from the 17th century, which was Professor Debus’ specialty, with an additional twenty-three from the 16th century. CHF will be honoring Professor Debus and his library with a special event at its facility in Philadelphia on Friday, 15 June 2018. Several historians of science will speak on Professor Debus’s work and his influence, including Dr. Ku-Ming Chang (a former student of Professor Debus, now at the Academica Sinica in Taipei (R.O.C.)), Dr. Margaret Garber (California State University, Fullerton), and Dr. Lawrence Principe (Johns Hopkins University). CHF will also offer a closer look at the significance of his collection from CHF’s Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts, Dr. James Voelkel, and general remarks about Professor Debus himself, with members of his family taking part.

As is to be expected from a scholar who focused on Paracelsus and medical chemistry, the collection is strong in these areas, with six titles by Paracelsus and two or more each by authors such as Jean Béguin, Nicaise Le Fèvre, Antoine Deidier, Daniel Sennert, and Petrus Severinus. There are an exceptional number of works of Joseph Du Chesne, a.k.a. Quercetanus, on whom Professor Debus wrote the entry in the Dictionary of Scientific Biography and who featured strongly in his book, The French Paracelsans. The collection is also strong in the works of the physician and natural philosopher Robert Fludd. Surprisingly, about two thirds of the collection do not duplicate works already held in the Othmer Library. Often, the overlap seems miraculous. For instance, the Allen G. Debus Collection includes a first edition Musaeum Hermeticum (1625), whereas the Othmer Library only held the second, 1678 edition. Alternately, the Othmer Library held the first edition of Whitelocke Bulstrode’s An Essay of Transmigration, in Defence of Pythagoras: or, a Discourse of Natural Philosophy (1692), and the Allen G. Debus Collection includes a second edition (1717). In two cases, CHF has otherwise identical titles that differ only in the publisher’s imprints. Of great value especially are works in the Allen G. Debus Collection by important authors in the Othmer Library collections that CHF did not already hold, for instance two works by Isaac Newton, his The Chronology of Antient Kingdoms Amended (1728) and Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel, and the Apocalypse of St. John (1733), and American alchemist George Starkey’s Des hochgelahrten Philalethae drey schöne und auserlesene Tractätlein von Verwandelung der Metallen (1675). A dedicated book collector and expert in the subject like Professor Debus creates a collection that is far more than the sum of the individual volumes it contains. The Othmer Library is very fortunate to have received whole such a wonderful resource and looks forward to sharing the Allen G. Debus collection with researchers today and in the future.

Fellowships in Aerospace History

The Fellowships in Aerospace History are offered annually by the National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA) to support significant scholarly research projects in aerospace history. These fellowships grant the opportunity to engage in significant and sustained advanced research in all aspects of the history of aerospace from the earliest human interest in flight to the present, including cultural and intellectual history, economic history, history of law and public policy, and the history of science, engineering, and management. NASA provides funds to the American Historical Association, the History of Science Society, and the Society for the History of Technology to allow each association to award a fellowship. Applications will be entered into consideration for all three fellowships.


Applicants must possess a PhD in history or in a closely related field, or be enrolled as a student (having completed all coursework) in a doctoral degree-granting program. Preference will be given to scholars at early stages in their careers. Stipends may be awarded only to US citizens or permanent residents.

Fellowship Term

The fellowship term is for a period of at least six months, but not more than nine months, and should commence no later than January 2019. The fellow will be expected to devote the term entirely to the proposed research project. Residency is not required, but office space may be provided by the Kluge Center at the Library of Congress upon request for a minimum of three months. Fellows are encouraged to take advantage of resources at the National Archives, the National Academies of Science, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, NASA Headquarters, and other collections in the Washington, DC, area.

Other Requirements

The fellow will be expected to write a report and present a public lecture on the fellowship experience. If the fellow is in residency in Washington, DC, a presentation at NASA headquarters is encouraged. The fellow shall provide to the NASA History Office a copy of any publications that might emerge from the research undertaken during the fellowship year.


The stipend is $21,250 for a six- to nine-month fellowship, which includes travel expenses. The fellowship income is classified as stipendiary—there are no provisions for paying fringe benefits or withholding taxes—and will be disbursed in equal payments over the term of the fellowship. Funds may not be used to support tuition or fees. A fellow may not hold other major fellowships or grants during the fellowship term, except sabbatical and supplemental grants from their own institutions, and small grants from other sources for specific research expenses. Sources of anticipated support must be listed in the application form.

To Apply

Click here for the application. The applicant must submit a completed application including a specific and detailed research proposal that will be the basis of the fellow’s research during the term. Completed applications are due April 1, and should include:

  • Applicant’s CV
  • A proposal of not more than 10 pages (double-spaced)
    • describing your qualifications for a fellowship
    • detailing briefly the research project you propose to undertake
    • relating your anticipated experiences as a fellow to your goals
    • indicating clearly why NASA is the appropriate place to conduct the proposed research
  • Optional: No more than 10 pages of any additional writings (material cannot be returned)
  • At least two and not more than four letters of recommendation that address the historical competence of the applicant, his/her ability to apply historical concepts and methods to aerospace science, technology, management or policy, and his/her ability to communicate both orally and in writing

Deadline, Submission Information, and Notification

The HSS has partnered with AHA and Interfolio to manage our fellowship application process. Applying through Interfolio is FREE for applicants. When submitting an application, if you don’t already have an account with Interfolio, you will be asked to set up an account and create a password, but you will NOT be charged any fee to create the account. Applications must be submitted through Interfolio by April 1 each year. Mailed, e-mailed, or faxed applications will not be accepted. Names of the winners will be announced in June.

Please contact info@hssonline.org with any questions.

American Historical Association Prizes

The following titles, which were honored by the American Historical Association at its 2017 conference, may be of interest to HSS members:

The George Louis Beer Prize in European international history since 1895

Erik Linstrum (University of Virginia) for Ruling Minds: Psychology in the British Empire (Harvard Univ. Press, 2016)

The Albert J. Beveridge Award on the history of the United States, Latin America, or Canada, from 1492 to the present

David A. Chang (University of Minnesota) for The World and All the Things upon It: Native Hawaiian Geographies of Exploration (Univ. of Minnesota Press, 2016)

Michele Aldrich Award

The History and Philosophy of Geology Division of the Geological Society of America is pleased to announce a new student research award.

The Michele Aldrich History and Philosophy of Geology Student Research Award will provide up to US $4,000 with supporting budget for travel/archival research in the history and philosophy of geology. The application deadline is 1 February 2018. Information, web links, and a “Steps to Success” PDF guide can be found on the award website. Students and recent graduates are eligible.