Member News: October 2014

Nima Bassiri has begun a new appointment as Collegiate Assistant Professor in the Humanities and Harper-Schmidt Fellow in the Society of Fellows at the University of Chicago.

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Barbara Becker’s (University of California, Irvine) book Unravelling Starlight: William and Margaret Huggins and the Rise of the New Astronomy has been selected to receive the 2015 Donald E. Osterbrock Book Prize of the Historical Astronomy Division of the American Astronomical Society. The Donald E. Osterbrock Book Prize is awarded biennially to the author(s) of a book judged to advance the field of the history of astronomy or to bring history of astronomy to light. For more information see http://had.aas.org/osterbrock/.

In addition, on 29 August 2014, Becker participated in a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the first observation of a nebular spectrum by English amateur astronomer, William Huggins. The celebration was held at Guilford Technical Community College in Jamestown, North Carolina, and she gave an illustrated talk on the historic observation and the changes it stimulated in astronomical theory and practice. Following her talk, audience members viewed many of the nebulae that were among Huggins’s first targets. The crowd included many families who saw firsthand how science and history can work together to enrich and amplify the public’s appreciation of the disciplines.

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Luis Campos (University of New Mexico), newly elected to HSS’s nominating committee, has been promoted to associate professor with tenure in the History Department at New Mexico.

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Stephen Case successfully defended his dissertation, “Making Stars Physical: John Herschel’s Stellar Astronomy, 1816-1871,” in the History and Philosophy of Science program at the University of Notre Dame in July. He has accepted a position as assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry & Geosciences at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois, where he also works as the director of the Strickler Planetarium.

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Krishna Dronamraju’s (Foundation for Genetic Research) book, (ed.) Selected Genetic Papers of J.B.S. Haldane, first published by Garland in New York in 1990, has been reprinted and published by Routledge in London in 2014.

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Matthew Daniel Eddy (Durham University) co-edited (with Seymour Mauskopf, Duke University and William R. Newman, Indiana University) the 2014 Osiris volume “Chemical Knowledge in the Early Modern World.” He also has been awarded a fellowship at Durham University’s Institute for Advanced Study for the spring of 2016.

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Together with four colleagues, Monica H. Green (Arizona State University) has a brief comment forthcoming in Lancet Infectious Diseases. The comment responds to a piece by geneticists published in the journal earlier this year that made major claims about the paths of spread of the three plague pandemics. Green et al. argue that historical claims based on genetic data should take historical sources and professional historiography as seriously as the nucleotides. The citation is: Monica H Green, Lori Jones, Lester K. Little, Uli Schamiloglu, and George D. Sussman, “Yersinia pestis and the Three Plague Pandemics,” Lancet Infectious Diseases 14 (October 2014), 918.

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University of Michigan History of Medicine Professor Joel Howell’s class lecture “U.S. Government Human Radiation Experiments during the Cold War” was featured on C-SPAN. This class was from a course titled “History of Medicine in the Western World from the 18th Century to the Present.” You can view the lecture at http://www.c-span.org/video/?318318-1/us-government-human-radiation-experiments

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Taming the Unknown: A History of Algebra from Antiquity to the Early Twentieth Century by Victor J. Katz (University of the District of Columbia) and Karen Hunger Parshall (University of Virginia) was published by Princeton University Press in June 2014.

John Krige (Georgia Tech) is a Visiting Fellow at the Liu Institute for Global Issues at the University of British Columbia. He will be resident at Green College, UBC, for the fall semester.

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As of 1 July 2014, Bruce Lewenstein (Cornell University) is serving as chair of Cornell’s Department of Science & Technology Studies.

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Pamela O. Long (Independent Scholar) has received a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation “genius grant.” The foundation recognizes her as “an independent historian of science and technology who is rewriting the history of science, demonstrating how technologies and crafts are deeply enmeshed in the broader cultural fabric. Through meticulous analysis of textual, visual, antiquarian, and archival materials from across Europe, Long investigates how literacy, language, authorship, trade secrecy, and patronage regulated the interactions of scholars, artisans, architects, and engineers of the early modern period.” See more at: http://www.macfound.org/fellows/919/#sthash.JI0FWmp9.dpuf.

Others in the history and philosophy of science who have received this award include: David Pingree (1981), Robert Root-Bernstein (1981), Francesca Rochberg (1982), Mott T. Greene (1983), Frank Sulloway (1984), Horace Freeland Judson (1987), Noel M. Swerdlow (1988), Margaret W. Rossiter (1989), Evelyn Fox Keller (1992), Jed Z. Buchwald (1995), Peter L. Galison (1997), and Nancy Siraisi (2008).

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Richard Oosterhoff, a recent Notre Dame PhD, has accepted a postdoctoral position on a 4.5 year project at the University of Cambridge, starting October 2014. He is one of three fellows on the interdisciplinary project “Genius before Romanticism,” led by Dr. Alexander Marr, which will look at the language, concepts, and practices labeled “ingenious” in the early modern world. The project brings together diverse paths across European cultural history, including history of science, art, religion, and popular culture.

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Peter Pesic’s (St. John’s College) new book, Music and the Making of Modern Science, was just published by MIT Press in July 2014. It is also available in an innovative iBook available from Apple; if read on an iPad, the sound examples can be heard and seen at a touch.

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J. David Pleins’ (Santa Clara University) book In Praise of Darwin: George Romanes and the Evolution of a Darwinian Believer was published by Bloomsbury Academic Press in 2014.

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Robert Proctor (Stanford University) has won the Rachel Carson Prize from the Society for Social Studies of Science for his book, Golden Holocaust: Origins of the Cigarette Catastrophe and the Case for Abolition, in which he outlines the surprising extent to which historians of science and medicine have testified for the defense in tobacco litigation. In July of this year, Proctor himself was a key witness in Robinson vs RJ Reynolds, a Pensacola, Florida, trial that resulted in a $23.6 billion verdict for survivors of the afflicted smoker, one of the largest awards ever for a single plaintiff.

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Gregory Radick (University of Leeds) has been elected President of the British Society for the History of Science (2014-16). He has also been appointed Director of the Leeds Humanities Research Institute.

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Lynnette R. Regouby (University of Wisconsin) has been named as an American Philosophical Society (APS) post-doctoral curatorial fellow. She will conduct research in the collections of the APS and work with Museum staff in conceptualizing, developing, and implementing upcoming exhibitions.

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Marc Rothenberg, former Treasurer of the HSS, will retire on 31 October from the National Science Foundation.

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Karen Sayer (Leeds Trinity University) has been awarded the Museum of English Rural Life, Gwyn E. Jones Fellowship 2014-15 for the project “Rural Boundaries: The Control of Rats and Mice in British Agriculture c. 1800-2001.”

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Ruth Lewin Sime (Sacramento City College) has recently published two articles: “Science and Politics: The Discovery of Nuclear Fission 75 Years Ago,” in Annalen der Physik 526: 3-4 (2014) A27-A31, and “Auswanderung und Exil: Lise Meitner in Schweden 1938-1960,” in: Izabela A. Dahl and Jorunn Sem Fure (eds.), Skandinavien als Zuflucht für jüdische Intellektuelle 1933-1945 (Metropol Verlag, Berlin 2014), pp. 32-53.

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Geert Somsen (Maastricht University) will be the Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellow in Columbia University’s History Department for the academic years of 2014-15 and 2015-16. He was awarded this fellowship (by the EU) for his project “’Science and World Order.’ Uses of Science in Plans for International Government, 1899-1950.” He will work in close cooperation with the Center for International History, and the new Center for Science and Society, at Columbia. The project includes a third year which will be spent at his home university, in Maastricht, the Netherlands.

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James Strick, Associate Professor of STS and of Earth & Environment at Franklin and Marshall College, has a new book in press with Harvard University Press, for Spring 2015 publication. Wilhelm Reich, Biologist is a close historical study of Reich’s microbiological “bion experiments” from 1934–1939. Reich’s laboratory notebooks were consulted during the research; the Reich Archive is at the Countway Library of Medicine in Boston.

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The 2014 Cheiron Young Scholar Award has been awarded to Courtney Thompson, PhD candidate in History of Science and Medicine at Yale University, for her paper, “‘An Unfit Subject for the Gallows’: Phrenology, Insanity, and Criminal Responsibility in America, 1830-1850.”

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The Great Silk Road and MedicineEmanuela Appetiti and Alain Touwaide (both at the Smithsonian Institution) attended the conference of the International Society for the History of Medicine and organized a panel on the theme “The Silk Road and Materia Medica.” They were awarded the Golden Fleece of the History of Medicine Prize for their contributions to the history of medicine. (Photo credit: Vasileios Tritakis)

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Virginia Trimble (University of California, Irvine) gave talks on the history of (1) the structure of the Milky Way (for the Blaauw Centenary Symposium, Groningen NL, in April); (2) the quest for black holes in spectroscopic binaries (IAU Symp 308, Tallinn Estonia, in June); (3) the use of interferometry in mapping galaxies (IAU Symp 309, Vienna); (4) the impact of WWI on chemistry, physics, and astronomy; and (5) discovery of the elements, real and imaginary, by astronomical methods (American Chemical Society fall meeting, San Francisco, August).

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Stephen J. Weininger’s (Worcester Polytechnic Institute) paper, “Chemistry for the ‘Industrial Classes’: Laboratory Instruction, Mass Education and Women’s Experience in Mid-Western Land Grant Colleges, 1870-1914,” Bulletin for the History of Chemistry, 38, 2013, 97-108 was named the American Chemical Society’s History of Chemistry Division Outstanding Paper for 2013. The award covered the years 2011-2013. Additional information about the award can be found on the HIST website at http://www.scs.illinois.edu/~mainzv/HIST/awards/paper.php

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Catherine Westfall (Michigan State University) was named a 2014-2015 Samuel von Pufendorf Visiting Research Fellow in June 2014 in recognition of her research accomplishments. As part of the award, Westfall will spend most of her time from January to June 2015 at Lund University. There, she will contribute to a research project titled “Exploring Challenges for New Big Science: The Realization of ESS and MAX IV in Lund,” give a public lecture, lead graduate seminars, and mentor graduate students.

2014 ACLS Fellows

We are pleased to announce the 2014 cohort of the American Council of Learned Societies fellowship recipients who are members of the History of Science Society.

  • Deborah R. Coen / ACLS Fellowship
    Associate Professor, History, Barnard College
    “Dynamic Empire: Climate and Circulation in Late Imperial Austria”
  • Bradley Matthys Moore / ACLS Public Fellows Program
    Appointed as Research and Partnerships Manager,
    Lenox Hill Neighborhood House
  • William R. Newman / ACLS Fellowship
    Professor, History and Philosophy of Science, Indiana University, Bloomington
    “The Alchemy of Isaac Newton – A New Appraisal”
  • Christy Spackman / Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship
    Doctoral Candidate, Food Studies, New York University
    “Transforming Taste: Aesthetics in Medicine and Food”

Our congratulations to these scholars!