Member News – January 2021

Pnina G. Abir-Am (Brandeis University) published “The Women Who Discovered RNA Splicing,” in the September-October 2020 issue of American Scientist (Vol. 108, no. 6), which was identified by the editor-in-chief of the journal as the issue’s top article. The next issue of the HSS Newsletter will feature a piece by the author on the ramifications of the magazine’s decision not to feature a collective portrait of these women scientists on the cover of the issue.

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Warwick Anderson (University of Sydney) and M. Susan Lindee (University of Pennsylvania) co-edited “Pacific Biologies: How Humans Become Genetic,” a special issue of Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences (Vol. 50, issue 5) with the following contributions:

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The Power of the Periphery: How Norway Became an Environmental Pioneer for the World by Peder Anker

Peder Anker (New York University) published The Power of the Periphery: How Norway Became an Environmental Pioneer for the World (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2020), which is an Open Access Book.



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Ancient Measurement: How Ancient Civilizations Created Precise and Reproducible Standards by Roland Boucher

Roland Boucher (Independent Scholar; Yale ‘55) published Ancient Measurement: How Ancient Civilizations Created Precise and Reproducible Standards (Indiana: Archway Publishing, 2020).



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Progress Unchained: Ideas on Evolution, Human History and the Future by Peter Bowler

Peter Bowler’s (Queen’s University, Belfast) book Progress Unchained: Ideas on Evolution, Human History and the Future is currently in press with Cambridge University Press. It uses developments in evolution theory as a model for understanding changes in the wider ideas of progress, charting the transition from a linear “chain of being” model to a more open-ended “Darwinian” view in which the future is unpredictable.

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Nahyan Fancy (DePauw University) received an ACLS Project Development Grant in Summer 2020 to support the writing of his new monograph, “In Ibn al-Nafis’s Shadow: Arabic Medical Commentaries in the Post-Classical Period, 1200-1520.” Additionally, Fancy published “Verification and Utility in Arabic Commentaries on the Canon of Medicine: Examples from the Works of Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī (d. 1210) and Ibn al-Nafīs (d. 1288)Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 75 (2020): 361–382.

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Anne Fausto-Sterling (Brown University) was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Bern, at a virtual ceremony on December 5th, 2020.

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Andrew Fiss (Michigan Technological University) published Performing Math: A History of Communication and Anxiety in the American Mathematics Classroom (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2021), as well as “Laughing Out of Math Class: The Vassar Mathematikado and Nineteenth-Century Women’s Education” in Configurations, vol. 27, no. 3 (Summer 2019): 301-329.

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After several years of health problems and then reaching the 70-year age limit, Robert Marc Friedman retired from his professorship at University of Oslo. He continues to work full-time on a number of projects combining new research with public outreach. These include a screenplay for a full-length animation film about Lise Meitner (initial funding from the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation) and a play about Victor Moritz Goldschmidt (initial funding Norwegian Research Council). His 2002 play “Remembering Miss Meitner” has now been translated into Spanish and will be staged at the Rialto Theatre in Valencia in March, preceded by a workshop on physics and gender. The play will be published with historical background in the Johns Hopkins University Press Introduction to History of Science series. His play about Einstein, Planck and the politics of science, “Banned in Berlin” is getting readied for development towards a production in London.

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Astronomy of the Inca Empire: Use and Significance of the Sun and the Night Sky by Steven Gullberg

Steven Gullberg (University of Oklahoma) published Astronomy of the Inca Empire: Use and Significance of the Sun and the Night Sky (Springer Nature, August 2020). It is the first major book on Incan astronomy in over 20 years.

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Hans Haubold (United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs), Arak Mathai (McGill University), and Lewis Pyenson (Western Michigan University) published an article “Space Science and Technology Education, Teaching, Research” in Space Policy 53 (Aug.2020):101384.

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The Renaissance of General Relativity in Context by Roberto Lalli (ed.)

Roberto Lalli (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science) contributed toward two chapters in the recently published The Renaissance of General Relativity in Context (Birkhäuser Basel, 2020) of which he was also an editor: “The Renaissance of General Relativity in Context: A Historiographical Review” (pp. 1-14) and “The Socio-Epistemic Networks of General Relativity, 1925-1970” (pp. 15-84).

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Science in the Monastery: Texts, Manuscripts and Learning at Saint-Bertin by Steven J. Livesey

Steven J. Livesey (University of Oklahoma) published Science in the Monastery: Texts, Manuscripts and Learning at Saint-Bertin (Turnhout: Brepols, 2020) this past summer.

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Philip L. Marston (Washington State University) published “Maxwell Stress Excitation of Wire Vibrations at Difference and Sum Frequencies of Electric Currents in Separate Circuits,” Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 148, no. 4 (October 2020): 1808–16 and “Comment on Oscillatory Optical and Acoustical Radiation Pressure,” Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer 254 (October 2020): 107226.

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Adrienne Mayor (Stanford University) published the following articles:

  • “The Real Amazons,” National Geographic Magazine (May-June 2020), and translations of the same in National Geographic France, Spain, and Italy.
  • “Beyond Nature: Human Enhancements in Myth and History,” Noema 1 (June 8, 2020).
  • “Imagining the Captive Amazon in Myth, Art, and History,” In Imagination and Art, ed. Keith Moser. Leiden, 2020: Brill, 2020.

She has also has taught four online courses in “Myth and Science,” 92nd Street Y, New York, and led a workshop on “Ancient Science Fictions: Imagining and Building Automatons in Classical Antiquity” for AlphabetX (GoogleX) Moonshot Division, Everyday Robots Project.

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A new translation of Gregor Mendel’s classic “Experiments on Plant Hybrids” (1865) by Staffan Mueller-Wille (University of Cambridge) and Kersten Hall (University of Leeds) edited by Ondřej Dostál which first appeared online as the first British Society for the History of Science Translations series has been published along with a detailed commentary as a paperback book by Masaryk University Press (2020).

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Tóxicos Invisibles: La construcción de la ignorancia ambiental by Agustí Nieto-Galan (ed.)

Agustí Nieto-Galan (Institut d’Història de la Ciència (IHC), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) published Tóxicos Invisibles: La construcción de la ignorancia ambiental (Barcelona: Icaria 2020).



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Science on a Mission: How Military Funding Shaped What We Do and Don’t Know about the Ocean by Naomi Oreskes

Naomi Oreskes’s (Harvard University) book Science on a Mission: How Military Funding Shaped What We Do and Don’t Know about the Ocean is forthcoming in March 2021 from the University of Chicago Press.



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Pragmatism’s Evolution: Organism and Environment in American Philosophy by Trevor Pearce

Trevor Pearce (University of North Carolina at Charlotte) published Pragmatism’s Evolution: Organism and Environment in American Philosophy (Chicago: University of Chicago, 2020).



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The Transmutation of Chymistry: Wilhelm Homberg and the Académie Royale des Sciences by Lawrence Principe

Lawrence Principe (John Hopkins University) published The Transmutation of Chymistry: Wilhelm Homberg and the Académie Royale des Sciences (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2020).

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Andrew Reynolds (Cape Breton University) published two articles: “Reception of Darwinism in mid-to late Nineteenth Century Nova Scotia” in Scientia Canadensis 42, 1 (2020): 5-28 and “Haeckel and the Philosophy of Sponges” in a special issue of Theory in Biosciences, (Special issue commemorating the 200 year anniversary of the death of Ernst Haeckel, guest editors Uwe Hossfeld, Gregory Levitt, Ulrich Kutschera), 138, 1 (2019): 133-146. He is also working on a book titled Understanding Metaphors in the Life Sciences, to appear in Cambridge University Press’s Understanding Life series edited by Kostas Kampourakis.

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Neeraja Sankaran (Editor, HSS Newsletter) was the organizing editor of “Diversifying the historiography of bacteriophages,” a special issue of Notes and Records: the Royal Society Journal of the History of Science (Vol. 74, no. 4) containing the following original articles and commentary:

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James Secord (University of Cambridge, Dept. of History and Philosophy of Science) has been elected as a Fellow of the British Academy.

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Greek Medical Manuscripts - Diels’ Catalogues by Alain Touwaide (ed.)

Alain Touwaide (Institute of the Preservation of Medical Traditions) published “Greek Medical Manuscripts – Diels’ Catalogues,” five volumes. Berlin and Boston, MA: De Gruyter, 2020.



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The Scientific Spirit of American Humanism by Stephen Weldon

Stephen Weldon (University of Oklahoma) published The Scientific Spirit of American Humanism (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2020).

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Dominik Wujastyk (University of Alberta) was awarded a four-year Insight Grant by the Canadian Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to investigate the history of medicine in early South Asia. The project revolves around the Compendium of Suśruta Samhita (सुश्रुतसंहिता), a foundational treatise on classical Indian medicine written in Sanskrit about two thousand years ago, comparable to the Hippocratic Corpus or the Huangdi Neijing. Full details of the project are available on the website http://sushrutaproject.org.

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More From Our January 2021 Newsletter