Vol. 44, No. 3, July 2015
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Since Isis moved to Utrecht we have been working hard at the Book Review department to establish a routine in our daily procedures. Thanks to our fantastic assistants Noortje Jacobs, Ruben Verwaal, and Sebastiaan Broere, we’re off to a great start. One important hurdle we had to clear was the integration of the existing book review administration system within Editorial Manager, the online manuscript submission and peer review system provided by the University of Chicago Press and officially adopted by our office in March 2015.
Our main activity in the EO these past few months, aside from the usual litany of annual meetings, board meeting, prize coordination, and hundreds of other duties, has been the implementation of the strategic plan. The plan has many parts, some of them dependent on more money and/or more staff. We are making strides in reaching some of our goals, but most of the action steps for each goal are not one-off tasks.
The U.S.’s National Archives and Records Administration (colloquially the National Archives, or NARA) may not be the first place that leaps to mind when you’re thinking about the history of science, but we actually hold all kinds of surprising records that document scientific activity. Permanent records from hundreds of federal agencies doing all sorts of work make their way to the archives and are used by researchers in many unusual fields.
The Joint Atlantic Seminar for the History of Biology, commonly known as “Jas-Bio,” is an annual conference for historians of the life sciences that has been hosted by various universities along the Northeast Corridor since 1965. In March of 2015, Jas-Bio returned to Yale University—the site of the first meeting—to mark its fiftieth anniversary.
At a moment during a mixed academic social gathering where the conversation turned to the divide between the STEM disciplines and the humanities, the authors, a historian of science and a physicist, chatted about teaching the history of humankind’s ideas about the universe together. At this early stage in the evolution of the history/physics course “The Universe and Humanity’s Place in It,” the bureaucratic and pedagogical hurdles seemed considerable.
The full name of the American Philosophical Society is “American Philosophical Society, Held at Philadelphia, for Promoting Useful Knowledge.” One can debate what “useful knowledge” actually is (Benjamin Franklin would see it as practical and scientific knowledge), but there is no doubt that the APS promotes scholarship and knowledge-sharing through its several departments: publishing, giving out grants, creating museum exhibits, holding semi-annual meetings for its members, and the use of its library collections.
Twice a year, the Executive Office asks our volunteers to report on their activities over the prior six months. The Executive Committee discusses these reports at its biannual meetings, where it offers guidance, considers various action items, prepares motions for presentation to Council, and, always, expresses deep appreciation for the dozens of volunteers who devote their time and intellect to Society business.
The IWHC-2015-Tokyo meeting on “Transformations of Chemistry from the 1920s to the 1960s” was held on March 2-4, 2015 at Tokyo Tech. The participation of historians of science from over half a dozen countries was made possible by a group grant to historians who studied the history of chemistry in Japan during the above period.