July 2018 – HSS News

2018 HSS Election

We extend our thanks to the Nominating Committee (Karine Chemla, Chair; Jahnavi Phalkey; Jutta Schickore; Assif Siddiqi; and Gabriela Soto Laveaga) for assembling the list of candidates for Council, Nominating Committee, Secretary (Luis Campos), Treasurer (Gwen Kay), and Council Delegate (Paola Bertucci)—the latter three ran unopposed. We offer a special thanks to all who agreed to run, providing our members terrific choices for the various offices.

Council Members (Term Jan 2019 thru Dec 2021)

Stephanie Dick
Sven Dupre
Julia Kursell
Ahmed Ragab
Neil Safier

Nominating Committee (Term July 2018 to June 2020)

Elena Aronova
Anna Maerker

Sally Gregory Kohlstedt Wins the Sarton

Sally Kohlstedt (University of Minnesota) has been voted the 2018 Sarton Medal. The HSS’s Committee on Honors and Prizes looked through numerous nominations and forwarded their top three choices to the Executive Committee (EC), which made its decision at the EC Spring meeting. The Sarton is the one prize that the Society now publicizes in advance, a practice that began last year when Gar Allen was so honored. The policy change allows friends and colleagues to attend the meeting in Seattle, where the prize will be awarded on the evening of 2 November.

We hope that members can attend the ceremony, which will feature two new prizes: the Phil Pauly Prize for the best first book on science in America and the Ron Rainger Prize, which recognizes the work (digital works included) of students and early career scholars who focus on the environmental sciences.

HSS Statement on Scholarly Conduct

At its 18 June 2018 virtual meeting, the HSS Council endorsed the following statement on professional conduct. The statement will appear on all HSS media.

HSS believes scholarly conduct should adhere to the highest ethical and professional standards. The Society expects contributors to its publications and meetings to present original work that respects the integrity of the research process and that conforms to rigorous standards in the citation and acknowledgment of the work of other scholars. The American Historical Association’s Statement on Standards of Professional Conduct is a useful guide.

Ida Stamhuis’s Farewell Symposium

Ida Stamhuis’s Farewell Symposium

This past April, scholars from around the world gathered on the occasion of Ida Stamhuis’s (pictured here) retirement from Vrije Universiteit. Ida is a long-time and faithful member of the HSS. Photo courtesy of Marsha Richmond.

2018 Osiris Call for Proposals

The Editorial Board of Osiris solicits proposals for Volume 37, which will appear in 2022. Osiris is an international research journal devoted to the history of science and its cultural influences and is a publication of the History of Science Society and the University of Chicago Press.

Osiris aims to connect the history of science with other areas of historical scholarship. Volumes of the journal are designed to explore how, where, and why science draws upon and contributes to society, culture, and politics. The journal’s editors and board members strongly encourage proposals that engage with and examine broad themes while aiming for diversity across time and space. The journal is also very interested in receiving proposals that assess the state of the history of science as a field, broadly construed, in both established and emerging areas of scholarship. Forthcoming volumes are concerned with the history of science, technology, and capitalism; science and science fiction; science, technology, and food; and global medical cultures and laws.

Proposals should include the following items:

  1. A description of the topic and its significance (approximately 2000 words), especially highlighting the significance of the proposed volume to the history of science, broadly construed. For an example of a successful proposal, see https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/pb-assets/docs/journals/Osiris-30-Sample-Proposal.pdf
  2. A list of 12 to 15 contributors and essay title + detailed description of each contributor’s individual essay
  3. A two-page c.v. of the guest editor(s)

The guest editor(s) and their contributors must be prepared to meet the Osiris publication schedule. Volume 37 (2022) will go to press­­—after refereeing, authors’ revisions, and copy-editing—in the fall of 2021. The guest editor(s) must therefore choose contributors who are able to submit their completed essays by the summer of 2020.

Proposals will be reviewed by the Osiris Editorial Board at the annual meeting of the History of Science Society. The announcement of the next volume of Osiris will be made in January 2019.

Proposals and all supporting material should be sent in paper or electronic copy by 15 October 2018 to both Patrick McCray and Suman Seth:

Patrick McCray
Department of History
University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9410

Suman Seth
321 Morrill Hall
Department of Science and Technology Studies
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853

HSS and the Strategic Plan

Members may recall that the Society devoted considerable resources to developing a strategic plan for the HSS, a path forward for the future. The hundreds of stake holders identified 6 priorities, all of which were designed to fulfill HSS’s mission: Foster interest in the history of science, promote discussion of science’s social and cultural relations, and bring this understanding to others worldwide (the full plan can be found here). The 6 goals are as follows:

  1. Create vibrant regular HSS meetings and facilitate networking through other associations and venues;
  2. Foster a publishing environment that promotes top-quality history of science scholarship in diverse media for diverse audiences;
  3. Support professional development of emerging history of science scholars in and outside the academy;
  4. Promote general interest in history of science among educators at all levels and the public, in part by providing opportunities to scholars to expand their audience and make their work more effective and relevant;
  5. Promote history of science in the United States by advocating on behalf of the field and its practitioners to the public, to government officials, to universities, and to potential employers of historians of science; and support advocacy of history of science in other countries; and
  6. Produce a sustainable governance and financial system for HSS that will promote a welcoming, culturally and international diverse and interdisciplinary organizational culture.

This is a lot and so the first question is how can we reach these goals. And although we have tried to implement many of these directives since the plan was adopted, we cannot realize all of them without additional resources. That is why I am pleased to report that, thanks to a generous bequest from long-time member Mark Levinson, who died this past year, we have secured donation software (Donor Perfect) that will help us with our development work. We hope that this important step will pave the way for HSS’s growth.

Jane Maienschein to Deliver HSS’s Hazen-Polsky Lecture

Jane Maienschein

Thanks to the generosity of Cynthia Hazen-Polsky (daughter of Joseph Hazen, an unparalleled HSS supporter whose gifts to the Society ranged from support of HSS’s annual distinguished lecture to an endowed fund for Osiris), we are pleased to announce that the biennial lecture endowed by Ms. Hazen-Polsky will be given by Jane Maienschein on 20 Sept at the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS). In her gift to HSS, Ms. Hazen-Polsky established the Hazen Education Prize, which recognizes excellence in history of science instruction; a regular activity that supports teacher training in the history of science; and the biennial lecture, which is given at the NYAS, of which Joseph Hazen was a member. The following information describes Dr. Maienschein’s talk.

A History of Embryos and Gene Editing in the Public Eye

Ideas about engaging the public concerning science are not new, but ideas about how and when to carry out that engagement have changed over time. In the particularly fraught area of understanding embryos, including stem cell research and gene editing, the research seems to many to strike at the heart of what it means to be human. Calls for public engagement have occurred since the 1970s, including attempts to promote discussion before the science gets done and recognizing that some may call for limiting what science is allowed. Recent reports from the National Academies of Science on stem cell research and gene editing call repeatedly for “public engagement.” Leading CRISPR researcher Jennifer Doudna argues in A Crack in Creation that scientists like herself need to take a lead in raising ethical and social questions about science. Yes, engagement can be useful and good, serving a variety of purposes and leading to sometimes productive talking, listening, and responding. But not always, and not in all ways.

This talk will look at examples of embryo and gene-editing research, placing it in historical context and looking at changing public reactions. With recent calls for public engagement around CRISPR research in particular and dispute about how we understand embryos: we can ask which public, about which science, engaged how, by whom, and why?

Jane Maienschein is University Professor, Regents’ Professor, President’s Professor, and Director of the Center for Biology and Society at Arizona State University. She is also a Fellow at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Author most recently of Embryos Under the Microscope and Whose View of Life?, she is also (co)editor of a dozen volumes including most recently Visions of Cell Biology and The Ark and Beyond.

Maienschein has served as president of the History of Science Society and of the International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology.

JSTOR for HSS Members

In its strategic plan, HSS identified professional development as one of our six goals. Specifically, the Society is focusing on supporting the “professional development of emerging history of science scholars in and outside the academy.” One of the ways in which the HSS can help our members advance their research and teaching is to facilitate access to the literature, and we are pleased to work with JSTOR to offer a 50% savings on a one-year JPASS subscription for members (regularly $199). JPASS, available as monthly or yearly plans, allows you to read whatever journal article you like and enjoy up to 120 PDF downloads a year from the JSTOR archive, an archive with over 7 million articles from 2 thousand journals (including Isis and Osiris), representing some 50 academic disciplines.
In addition to past issues of Isis and Osiris, members may find the following journals of particular interest:

  • The British Journal for the History of Science
  • Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences
  • Science Progress
  • Science, Technology, & Human Values

JSTOR adds new titles to JPASS every month so you’ll have a growing collection of the world’s leading scholarly journals only a click away. Sign up here.

Reference Resource: IsisCB Cumulative

IsisCB Cumulative is a digitized version of the Isis Cumulative Bibliography of the History of Science, spanning sixty years from 1913 to 1975. The full text is available as seven large HTML files corresponding to the seven volumes of the Isis Cumulative Bibliography covering that period.

IsisCB Cumulative is a companion to IsisCB Explore, a research tool launched last year that includes data from the Isis Bibliographies from 1974 to the present.

IsisCB Cumulative is the result of two years of effort that included scanning, transcribing, and encoding 5000 pages of text. The files contain nearly 154,000 citation records to works in the history of science, all of which are classified by historians of science and subject bibliographers. These include citations to about 83,000 articles, 44,000 books, 20,000 reviews, and 6000 chapters.

The current release of these volumes as individual HTML files is meant to provide temporary access to the digitized data, which will eventually be added to the IsisCB Explore.

IsisCB Cumulative and IsisCB Explore contain data accumulated and published annually and semi-annually in the journal Isis since its founding. Established by George Sarton, this bibliography has been continued by various scholars and librarians, including John Neu, Magda Whitrow, Joy Harvey, and, currently, Stephen Weldon.

The online publication of IsisCB Cumulative was made possible by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the History of Science Society, the University of Oklahoma Libraries, and the University of Oklahoma History of Science Department. The digitization efforts were overseen by Stephen Weldon, Sylwester Ratowt, and Conal Tuohy. Tuohy (see his website) parsed the transcribed text and created the HTML file (gitHub for the project). For more information about the Isis bibliographies see the project’s website: http://isiscb.org/. Individuals can also contact Stephen Weldon, editor of IsisCB, directly at spweldon@ou.edu.

New AAAS Fellows in the History and Philosophy of Science

Yves Gingras at the Section L Meeting

Ed Hackett at the Section L Meeting

Section L of the American Association for the Advancement of Science announced five new fellows at the AAAS meeting earlier this year. They are Ron Amundsen, Yves Gingras, Ed Hackett, David Resnick, and Janet Stemweld. This honor reflects their efforts to advance the history and philosophy of science. Congratulations to them all!

Farewell to HSS’s Empress of Engagement

Jessica Baron

Jessica Baron, HSS’s first Director of Media and Engagement, aka Empress of Engagement, has said farewell to the position but not to the HSS. The change arises from a restructuring of staff and benefits at Notre Dame and the Society can no longer afford to fund this half-time position. The move is unfortunate because Jessica had helped us considerably in implementing our strategic plan’s emphasis on broader engagement.

Jessica took a moribund HSS Facebook page and Twitter account and turned them into major pipelines for sharing the history of science. She created captivating articles for the Newsletter (in addition to exhibiting superior proof-reading skills (serial commas are non negotiable), organized Tweet ups at the annual meeting, functioned as photographer and publicist, gave untold hours to promoting Isis articles for the general public, helped create social media policies, and much more. We do plan on her coming to HSS conferences, and if you see her, please tell her thank you.