October 2015 – Member News

Warwick Anderson (University of Sydney) and Ian R. Mackay’s book Intolerant Bodies: A Short History of Autoimmunity (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014) has been awarded the 2015 New South Wales’ Premier’s Award for General History. The judges called the book clear, engaging, and a “sophisticated but highly readable history [that] helps close the gap between medical science and the general public’s understanding.” Previous winners include Inga Clendinnen, Richard Bosworth, Chris Clark and Anderson himself for The Collectors of Lost Souls: Turning Kuru Scientists into Whitemen (JHU Press, 2008).

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Mitchell G. Ash (University of Vienna) has published a volume jointly edited with Josef Ehmer entitled Universität – Politik – Gesellschaft (Vienna University Press, 2015). This is the second volume in a four-volume series on the occasion of the 650th anniversary of the University of Vienna. He has also published a book-length essay titled “Die Universität Wien in den politischen Umbruchzeiten des 19. und 20. Jahrhunderts” in the work.

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Ronald S. Calinger (The Catholic University of America) has published Leonhard Euler: Mathematical Genius in the Enlightenment (Princeton University Press, 2015). This is the first full-length biography of Leonhard Euler.

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Matthew K. Chew (Arizona State University) published “Ecologists, Environmentalists, Experts, and the Invasion of the ‘’Second Greatest Threat’” in the International Review of Environmental History (Vol 1:7-40. 2015). This is the first issue of the journal from the Australian National University Press.

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Lorraine Daston (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science), Sally Ragep (McGill University), and Jamil Ragep (McGill University), the Executive Board of the Islamic Scientific Manuscripts Initiative, announce the launch of a website that is making available images of 123 scientific and mathematical codices from the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin: https://ismi.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de. They look forward to announcing other launches in the near future. Questions should be addressed to Sally Ragep at sally.ragep@mcgill.ca.

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Jean De Groot was promoted to full professor in the School of Philosophy at The Catholic University of America, effective August 2015.

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Liborio Dibattista (Università di Bari) has published a new book: Liborio Dibattista Emozioni infettive. Saggi storico-filosofici sul contagio emozionale. (Mimesis, 2015).

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Dawn Digrius (California State University) and Howard Falcon-Lang have published “Palaeobotany Under the Microscope: History of the Invention and Widespread Adoption of the Petrographic Thin Section Technique,” Quekett Journal of Microscopy 42: 253–280, 2014.

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Ryan Feigenbaum (Villanova University; New York Botanical Garden) received a 2015–2016 Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship to conduct research for his project, “For the Love of Plants: Poetic Botany in the Late Eighteenth Century,” at the Humanities Institute of the LuEster T. Mertz Library at the New York Botanical Garden. He also published his article, “Toward a Non-anthropocentric Vision of Nature: Goethe’s Discovery of the Intermaxillary Bone,” in the Goethe Yearbook, vol. 22 (2015).

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The intellectual foundations of population genetics were attacked in 2014, both by its major historian, the late William Provine (in his self-published “The ‘Random Genetic Drift’ Fallacy”), and by one of its leading exponents, Masatoshi Nei (“Mutation-Driven Evolution,” Oxford University Press). Thus, historian Mark B. Adams now has support for his “La génétique des populations était-elle une génétique évolutive?” (Fischer J-L, Schneider WH (eds.) Histoire de la Génétique, 1990, pp 153-171. ARPEM, Paris). Likewise, Donald Forsdyke (Queen’s University, Canada) hopes for reappraisal of the speciation views of George Romanes and William Bateson (“The Origin of Species Revisited,” McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2001). There were many people to mention in the Acknowledgements of the latter text. However Will was up-front. The Acknowledgements began (p. ix): “I am indebted to William Provine whose works greatly eased the sifting of the ‘Darwinian’ literature.” More details of this debt were provided in the text.

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James Fleming (Colby College) has been awarded the Eduard Brückner Prize 2015 for outstanding achievement in interdisciplinary climate research. The award, administered by the Helmholtz Zentrum Geesthacht für Material und Küstenforschung, was presented on September 21 at the German Climate Conference in Hamburg organized by the Deutsche Meteorologische Gesellschaft, http://www.dkt-10.de/. Geographer, meteorologist, glaciologist, and climate scientist Eduard Brückner (1862-1927) was an early advocate for the importance of climate change and its effects on the economy and social structure of society.

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The October 2015 issue of Sky & Telescope contains a strong review of Setting Aside All Authority: Giovanni Battista Riccioli and the Science against Copernicus in the Age of Galileo (University of Notre Dame Press) by Christopher M. Graney (Jefferson Community and Technical College). Owen Gingerich, author of God’s Planet, says that for students of the Copernican revolution, “here is an unexpected contribution that will force the experts to revise their lecture notes. Christopher Graney (with translation assistance from Christina Graney) has almost single-handedly revised the traditional story about Jesuit Giambattista Riccioli’s list of pro and con arguments for the heliocentric cosmology. Big surprise: in 1651 the geocentric cosmology had science on its side.”

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Mott T. Greene (University of Puget Sound, emeritus) has published a biography of Alfred Wegener: Alfred Wegener: Science, Exploration, and the Theory of Continental Drift (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015). It is now available for pre-order from Johns Hopkins and on Amazon. It will be available at the HSS annual meeting (discounted for HSS members) and at the Geological Society of America meeting, in Baltimore, earlier in November. His synopsis of the history of climate maps has also just appeared: “Climate Map,” In Mark Montmonnier, (ed.) The History of Cartography, Volume 6. Cartography in the Twentieth Century. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015. pp. 227-232. He reports: “I also urge my HSS colleagues to look at Henry Frankel’s tour-de-force history of the continental drift controversy. My review gives a sense of the breadth and depth of his achievement: Henry R. Frankel: The Continental Drift Controversy (4 volumes). New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Earth Sciences History 34 (2015) No.1: 160-162.”

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Vanessa Heggie (University of Birmingham) authored the introduction to a special section of the Journal of the History of Biology on the Harvard Fatigue Laboratory: V. Heggie, “Introduction–Special Section: Harvard Fatigue Laboratory,” Journal of the History of Biology 48 (3), 361-364. The full listing for the special section is here: http://link.springer.com/journal/10739/48/3/.

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Gerald Holton (Harvard University, emeritus), David Cassidy (Hofstra University), and James Rutherford have published Comprendre la Physique, (Presses Polytechniques et Universitaires, 2014).

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Daniel Kevles retired from Yale on 30 June 2015. In 2015/16, he will be an Interdisciplinary Fellow at the NYU Law School and a Scholar in Residence at Columbia Law School. In the spring, he will teach a seminar (“The Engineering and Ownership of Life”) in the History Department at Columbia. He spent this last winter as the Visiting Mellon Senior Scholar at the Mertz Library at the New York Botanical Garden.

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Anthony John Kinder, BA (Hons), MSc, DIC, FRAS, historian of astronomy, currently retired from the National Health Service of the UK, is compiling an historical database of all members of the British Astronomical Association since it was founded in 1890, and of the Royal Astronomical Society since it was founded in 1820.

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Director of the Center for Biology and Society (CBS) at Arizona State University, Jane Maienschein, was named an ASU University Professor—a new credential to add to her already impressive list of Parents Association, President’s, and Regents’ Professor titles. Maienschein was also awarded the David L. Hull Prize by the International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology at the 2015 meeting in Montréal, Canada. Maienschein, in collaboration with Manfred Laubichler and several other ASU professors, secured funding and ran a workshop on STS data-management protocols at the National Science Foundation. The outcome of this workshop promises to have a large impact on the HSS community.

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Christoph Meinel (University of Regensburg, Germany, emeritus) was honored for his contributions to the history of chemistry with the 2015 HIST Award of the American Chemical Society’s Division of the History of Chemistry.

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In response to the Ebola crisis in West Africa, Gregg Mitman (University of Wisconsin – Madison), in collaboration with Sarita Siegel, directed and produced a short documentary, In the Shadow of Ebola, which offers an intimate portrait of a family and a nation torn apart by the Ebola outbreak in Liberia. The film is available online on PBS/Independent Lens and has been adopted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as part of its mandatory training program for incoming Epidemic Intelligence Service officers. He also published an article, “Ebola in a Stew of Fear,” in the New England Journal of Medicine that offers a historical and cultural perspective on the outbreak and was part of a National History Center Congressional Briefing last November, along with Julie Livingston and Randall Packard, on Ebola and the African public health crisis.

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Scott L. Montgomery (University of Washington) and Alok Kumar (SUNY, Oswego) have published A History of Science in World Cultures: Voices of Knowledge (Routledge, 2015). It is a fully up-to-date, detailed survey of the evolution of scientific thought in eight major world civilizations, with individual chapters devoted to ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, China, India, Islam, pre-Columbian Americas, and Medieval-Renaissance Europe.

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Ronald Numbers (University of Wisconsin – Madison, emeritus) and Kostas Kampourakis have published Newton’s Apple and Other Myths about Science, which debunks the widespread belief that science advances when individual geniuses experience “Eureka!” moments and suddenly comprehend what those around them could never imagine. The book will be available from Harvard University Press in early October 2015.

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Michael A. Osborne (Oregon State University) received an Honorable Mention in the 2014 John Lyman Books Awards in the category “Naval and Maritime Science and Technology” for his book The Emergence of Tropical Medicine in France (University of Chicago Press, 2014). The awards recognize excellence in the publication of books that make significant contributions to the study and understanding of maritime and naval history.

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Raffaele Pisano was awarded his Habilitation (HDR) as Full Professor by the University of Lorraine, France. He continues to serve as Vice President elect (2011-) of the Inter-Divisional Teaching Commission (DLMPS/IUHST). He is also under contract (with Paolo Bussotti) for a full translation from Latin into English of four volumes of Newton’s Principia, Geneva Edition (2020, Oxford University Press).

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Karen Rader was promoted to Professor of History in the Department of History at Virginia Commonwealth University in May. Her book Life on Display (co-authored with Victoria E.M. Cain) won the American Education Research Association’s (AERA) Division F (History and Historiography) New Scholar’s Award in April 2015 and the History of Education Society’s annual book prize for the best book in the field in August 2015.

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Martin Reuss was the first recipient of the “Public Outreach Career Award,” recently established by the American Society for Environmental History. The award was presented at the Society’s annual conference, which was held in Washington, D.C. last March.

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David Rhees retired 4 Sept 2015 after 23 years of distinguished service as Executive Director of The Bakken Museum in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In 1992, when he arrived, The Bakken had seven employees, a budget of half a million dollars and served about 5,000 people a year. Today, The Bakken serves some 75,000 people a year with a budget of $2.4 million and a staff of nearly 40 educators, curators and other employees. A highlight of his tenure was leading an expansion and renovation project, completed in 1999, which doubled the size of the existing Tudor mansion adjacent to Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis. As a result, an organization that was known mainly to international scholars for its rich historical collection, was transformed into a broad-gauged public museum beloved by generations of children, parents, teachers, researchers, and other adults. A capstone of his career was completed in January with the publication of Dreaming On With Earl Bakken, which he co-edited, about the museum’s founder, inventor of the first transistorized cardiac pacemaker, and co-founder of Medtronic. Based on interviews with Bakken and his friends, family and colleagues, the book was the result in part of an oral history project on Minnesota’s medical device industry, or “Medical Alley.” In retirement, he plans to write a monograph on the history of medical technology in Minnesota and its global expansion.

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Rachel Rothschild recently began a position as an assistant professor and faculty fellow at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, after earning her PhD at Yale University in May of 2015.

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Alexandra Rutherford and Michael Pettit (both at York University, Toronto) have co-edited a special issue of the journal History of Psychology entitled “Feminism and/in/as Psychology” (Volume 18, No. 3: 2015). The issue includes an introduction by the editors and six articles that explore the conjoined trajectories of feminism and psychology and their relationship to gender and sexuality over the course of the 20th century.

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Carola Sachse (University of Vienna) has published “Grundlagenforschung. Zur Historisierung eines wissenschaftspolitischen Ordnungsprinzips am Beispiel der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft (1945-1970)” in Dieter Hoffmann, Birgit Kolboske, Jürgen Renn (Hg.), Dimensionen einer Geschichte der Kaiser-Wilhelm/Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, (Berlin: 2014); “Des excuses pour quoi faire?,” in Lise Haddad and Jean-Marc Dreyfus (Hg.), Une médecine de mort, Paris: Vendémiaire 2014, S. 219-236; “Tiere und Geschlecht. ‘Weibchen oder Männchen’? Geschlecht als Kategorie in der Geschichte der Beziehungen von Menschen und anderen Tieren,” in Gesine Krüger, Aline Steinbrecher, Clemens Wischermann (Hg.): Tiere und Geschichte. Konturen einer Animate History, (Steiner Verlag, 2014); “Vom Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut für Anthropologie, menschliche Erblehre und Eugenik zum Max-Planck-Institut für molekulare Genetik,” in Martin Vingron (Hg.) Gene und Menschen, 50 Jahre Forschung am Max-Planck-Institut für molekulare Genetik (Berlin: 2014).

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Sara J. Schechner (David P. Wheatland Curator of the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, Department of the History of Science, Harvard University) would like to introduce two new books related to object-centered history based on major exhibitions at Harvard’s Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments. Time and Time Again: How Science and Culture Shape the Past, Present, and Future, by Sara J. Schechner, is available for free in iBook and PDF format. The second book is connected to an earlier exhibition, entitled Tangible Things: Making History through Objects, by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Ivan Gaskell, Sara J. Schechner, and Sarah Anne Carter. Published by Oxford University Press, 2015. It is available in paper, hard cover, and as an epub. Learn more here: https://global.oup.com/academic/product/tangible-things-9780199382286?cc=us&lang=en&#.

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Efram Sera-Shriar (University of Cambridge) edited the Special Issue: “Historicising Humans in Nineteenth-Century British Sciences,” Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 51 (2015), 19-63. Link to special issue: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/13698486/51
Matthew Shindell left his postdoc in the Harvard University Department of the History of Science and moved into a new, permanent position at the Smithsonian Institution as Curator of Planetary Sciences at the National Air and Space Museum in September.

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Carlos Eduardo Sierra (Universidad Nacional de Colombia) has published “La Polemoética en la Ciencia Ficción” in Revista de Bioética Latinoamericana, Universidad de los Andes (Venezuela), Vol. 16, No 1, 2015; “La Anticipación Bioética en la Obra de Karel Capek” in Bioética & Debat: Tribuna abierta del Institut Borja de Bioética, Universitat Ramon Llull, Spain. February 2015; “La Anticipación Polemoética en la Obra de Jack Williamson” in Bioética & Debat: Tribuna abierta del Institut Borja de Bioética, Universitat Ramon Llull, Spain. April 2015; “La Dimensión Ética en la Obra de los Hermanos Strugatski” in Bioética & Debat: Tribuna abierta del Institut Borja de Bioética, Universitat Ramon Llull, Spain. June 2015; “La Dimensión ética en la Obra de René Rebetez” in Bioética & Debat: Tribuna abierta del Institut Borja de Bioética, Universitat Ramon Llull, Spain. July 2015; and new articles on history of astronomy in Circular de la Red de Astronomía de Colombia, Nos 800, 803, 804, 806, 808 and 810.

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Dana Simmons (University of California, Riverside) has published Vital Minimum: Need, Science and Politics in Modern France (University of Chicago Press) in which she traces the history of the vital minimum, revealing the intersections between technologies of measurement, such as calorimeters and social surveys, and technologies of wages and welfare, such as minimum wages, poor aid, and welfare programs.

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Ronald K. Smeltzer has just published “Science Illustrated with Chine Collé: A Unique Example,” in The Private Library s.6, vol.7:2, Summer 2014. The primary subject is a complex method for color illustration, involving black-line lithography, attachment of colored paper, and hand-coloring in gouache and watercolor, in a mid-19th-century French chemistry book. (N.B. “2014” is correct; this issue is late.)

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Miriam Solomon (Temple University) has published Making Medical Knowledge (Oxford University Press, 2015).

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Frank W. Stahnisch (University of Calgary, Canada) has recently become an Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the History of the Neurosciences (Routledge – Taylor and Francis Group, Philadelphia). For more information see http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/njhn20/current#.VdS0Z843Wag. Together with Dorothy Porter (University of California at San Francisco) he has co-edited a book, entitled Trading Zones and Boundary Concepts in the History of Medicine and Medical Humanities, which includes contributions by Abygale Woods, Aimee Medeiros, and Warwick Anderson. It will be published next month with the University of Utah Press, as a special volume of the Western Humanities Review. For more information see http://ourworld.info/whrweb/.

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Anthony N. Stranges has published Science Changed the World (Kendall Hunt, 2015), an introductory survey of the history of science from ancient times to the present.

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Roger H. Stuewer (University of Minnesota, emeritus) has been awarded an American Association of Physics Teachers Homer L. Dodge Distinguished Service Citation, which will be conveyed to him in a Special Session at the AAPT Meeting in New Orleans in January 2016.

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Virginia Trimble (University of California Irvine) gave three historically-oriented talks at the August Triennial General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union in Honolulu, (1) “The Impact of WWI on Astronomy, a Teachable Century”, (2) “As International as They Would Let Us Be (from Eratosthenes, via the Celestial Police, to the formation of the International Astronomical Union)”, and (3) “The Time-Line of Binary Stars from Discovery to the Establishment of Commission 42 to its Death”.

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Albert van Helden Awarded the 2015 LeRoy E. Doggett Prize

Van HeldenThe Historical Astronomy Division of the American Astronomical Society is pleased to announce that Professor Albert van Helden is the tenth recipient of the LeRoy E. Doggett Prize for Historical Astronomy. The Doggett Prize, the history of astronomy’s highest honor, is awarded biennially to an individual who has significantly influenced the field through a career-long effort. The 2016 LeRoy E. Doggett Prize awarded to Professor van Helden recognizes

  • his outstanding scholarship in the history of the telescope,
  • his extensive and insightful exploration of telescopic astronomy in the 17th and 18th centuries,
  • his significant contributions to Galilean studies, and
  • his dedicated service to the historical astronomy community and the public at large.

Van Helden is recognized as the leading authority on the history of the telescope. His scholarship is best illustrated in his magisterial monograph, “The Invention of the Telescope,” in the Transactions of the American Philosophy Society, published in 1977. An extension of this monograph points to van Helden’s second major scholarly project, Galileo’s rapid improvement of the weak (nominally 3X magnification) terrestrial telescope then spreading throughout Europe to make it suitable for astronomical observation. Van Helden’s other publications, in journals such as Isis, Osiris, and the Journal for the History of Astronomy, have enlarged upon these contributions, demonstrating, among other things, the limited role science played in the development of the telescope during the 17th century in contrast to the dramatic role the telescope played in the evolution of scientific understanding of the cosmos.

In his second book, Measuring the Universe, he summarized the development of observational astronomy from antiquity to the end of the eighteenth century. His discussion of the observations and interpretations of Ptolemy, Tycho Brahe, Galileo, Huygens, Cassini, and others explains how the characteristics of the instruments available to astronomers limited their understanding of the fundamental astronomical problems of the time. In later papers on telescopic astronomy, Professor van Helden described the process through which observational astronomy approached maturity, as well as the idiosyncrasies of each important astronomer. He demonstrated how differences in their observing practices led some, but not all, to discovery. He illuminated the conflicts among leading astronomers over questions of interpretation and authority. Taken as a whole, his papers convincingly demonstrate van Helden’s mastery of the technical as well as the social aspects of observational astronomy.

Galilean studies constitute an equally important contribution of Professor van Helden’s career. He published the first complete English translation of Galileo’s Sidereus Nuncius to appear in the 20th century. Both Sidereus Nuncius and his translation of the letters passing between Galileo, Christoph Scheiner, and others in their debate on the nature of sunspots (On Sunspots in collaboration with Eileen Reeves), have been recognized for the integrity of their translations. Both books feature comprehensive interpretive introductions, comments in the text, and conclusions that ensure their accessibility. Neither book is likely to be displaced as a standard in this field of scholarship for decades to come. In other papers, van Helden describes Galileo’s career and the state of the science and culture in the community of astronomers around Galileo. Professor van Helden’s dedication to Galileo scholarship revealed itself in The Galileo Project (http://www.rice.edu/Galileo). Although his website was intended for secondary education, it is in fact an invaluable entry point for Galilean studies on a collegiate level.

Professor van Helden’s dedication to the history of astronomy, and more broadly, the history of science, could be characterized no more effectively than by pointing to his extended participation as a member of the editorial boards of the Journal for the History of Astronomy (for 25 years and more), and Isis (for five years). His stature within the history of science profession was acknowledged by his election as the History of Science Society’s President (1998-1999).