October 2017 – News from the Profession

History of Science, Technology and Medicine 2016-2017 Annual Report Summary

(Prepared for the History of Science Society, by Babak Ashrafi, Executive Director)

The Consortium for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine is an international consortium of educational, cultural, and scientific institutions that promotes public and academic understanding of the history of science, technology, and medicine through public and scholarly programming. Established in 2007 as a regional collaboration of eleven institutions in the Philadelphia area, today, the Consortium includes 23 members throughout the United States as well as in Canada. The History of Science Society joined the Consortium in 2016. This year, CHSTM welcomed two new members: the Society for the History of Technology and the Adler Planetarium in Chicago. SHOT requires no introduction for HSS members. But not everyone may be familiar with the Adler. It is America’s oldest planetarium and the only independent planetarium in the world holding significant library and object collections and engaging in science and history research. Prospective fellows or any researcher may search across Consortium book and manuscript collections at our web site: https://www.chstm.org/consortium-special-collections-search-hub.

The Consortium’s scholarly programming encompasses a research fellowships program and scholarly working groups. In 2016-2017, the Consortium supported twenty fellows from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. These scholars made 60 research trips to library and museum collections of member institutions. The fellowships include one NEH Postdoctoral Fellow, two dissertation fellows, five fellows in residence, and twelve (short-term) research fellows. Topics ranged from American psychical research in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (Alicia Puglionesi) to nineteenth-century Hawai‘i’ sugar plantations (Lawrence Kessler, CHSTM) to the sulphur industry in Mexico in the mid-late twentieth century (Oscar Moisés Torres Montúfar, El Colegio de México).

In 2017-2018, the largest fellowship class to date is pursuing research on the history of China, Egypt, and India, as well as diverse regions in the United States and transnational areas. These scholars will complete more than fifty research trips at member institutions. As with 2016-2017, the fellowships include one NEH Postdoctoral Fellow, and two dissertation fellows. This year, the Consortium will host six fellows in residence and fund thirteen (short-term) research fellows. Research topics range from textile factories in twentieth-century China (Yuan Yi, Columbia University) to women’s higher education in physics (Johanna F. Behrman, Johns Hopkins University) to Cold War university industrial patronage (Joseph D. Martin, National Science Foundation). More information on past and current fellows can be found here: https://www.chstm.org/fellowships/chstm-fellowships.

Scholarly working groups complement fellows’ research. In 2016-2017, working groups met 65 times and included the participation of 220 scholars from 100 different institutions from as far away as Istanbul, Krakow, Sao Paolo, Beijing, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Groups include: Ancient and Medieval Sciences; Biological Sciences; Early Modern Science; Earth and Environmental Sciences; History and Philosophy of Science; Human Sciences; Medicine and Health; Physical Sciences; Science Beyond the West; and Technology. Prospective participants may apply to join via the working group page on our web site, and working group members may participate in person or online. More information on scholarly working groups can be found here: https://www.chstm.org/groups.

The Consortium’s public programming encompasses public lectures and discussions, film viewings, and more. These events share the products of scholarship—and spur new conversations—with public and academic audiences. The Consortium uses the history of science to offer broad audiences historical perspectives on pressing contemporary issues. Member institutions in the Philadelphia area have hosted events as well. Thanks to a grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts, this programming will expand in 2017-2020 and will be hosted at member institutions located anywhere.

The Consortium is in the last year of a campaign to establish a $2,000,000 endowment for its fellowship programs. For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017, the Consortium derived 74% of its income from grants, 22% of its income from membership dues, and 4% of its income from gifts. In that year, 67% of its expenses went toward fellowships, 22% toward administration, 7% toward events, and 4% toward producing online content.

To learn more about and stay abreast of the Consortium’s activities, visit our web site and join the mailing list at https://www.chstm.org/. The web site provides a list of upcoming regional and Consortium events, Consortium fellowships information, and working group meeting information.

CHSG and Friday Harbor

The Columbia History of Science Group will hold its annual meeting on beautiful San Juan Island (Washington State) 2-3 March 2018. Erik M. Conway will deliver Friday evening’s keynote address. Graduate students, faculty, and independent scholars are all welcome to submit proposals for consideration on Saturday’s program (typically 9-11 speakers). Please visit columbiahistoryofsciencegroup.org for more information on the meeting, or to be included in CHSG’s mailing list.

American Chemical Society, GE Joint Effort Could Broaden Use of Science Emojis

(The full article can be found on the ACS website.)

For most of us, emojis are a fun way to express ourselves. But for many scientists, these expressive icons are a disappointment because so few of them represent aspects of their daily work lives. That could soon change, however. Nine new science emojis proposed jointly by the American Chemical Society (ACS) and General Electric (GE) are being considered by a technical review board for addition to the hundreds already in use.

“I’m delighted that ACS in collaboration with GE is leading the effort to create science emojis,” says ACS Executive Director and CEO Thomas J. Connelly Jr., PhD. “Emojis have become an essential communication tool in today’s society, with more than 6 billion emojis and emoticons sent around the world every day on mobile messaging apps. Science emojis would boost—and help demystify—science in modern conversation, and ACS is committed to ensuring that science and scientists are represented.”

The nine proposed emojis are a lab coat, test tube, microbe, petri dish, DNA structure, compass, abacus, fire extinguisher and goggles. They came to life last year during a brainstorming session sponsored by GE and led by ACS staff at Emojicon, a conference in San Francisco devoted to all things emoji. These icons will be evaluated for inclusion as official emojis this fall by the Unicode Consortium, a nonprofit that develops and maintains software standards used internationally. If approved, one or more of them could be rolled out for use in 2018 while the others could begin appearing on phone keyboards in the next few years.

Of the more than 1,300 emojis currently available, fewer than a dozen explicitly represent science. These include a microscope, a telescope, and an alembic (an alchemical still used for distillation). Prior to this joint effort, ACS and GE had each sought to rectify this scarcity in its own way: ACS developed chemojis, a set of chemistry-themed digital stickers, while GE created Emoji Science, an emoji-based science information campaign.


The American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society, is a not-for-profit organization chartered by the US Congress. ACS is a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related information and research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. ACS does not conduct research, but publishes and publicizes peer-reviewed scientific studies. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

To automatically receive press releases from the American Chemical Society, contact newsroom@acs.org.

International Congress on the History of Science and Technology

HSS Director, Jay Malone (right) with Josué Bertolin on the Praia Vermelha campus of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, site of the 25th International Congress of History of Science and Technology. Bertolin was conducting interviews for Brazilian television. He is a student at Universidade de São Paulo and gave a fascinating talk titled “Science and Faith in Debate: A Brazilian Experience.” A report on the Rio congress will appear in the January Newsletter.

Highlights from the Commission on Women and Gender Studies in History of Science, Technology and Medicine’s business meeting in Rio de Janeiro, 27 July 2017

After the President of the Commission, Maria Rentetzi, welcomed the attendees and opened the meeting, Secretary of the Commission, Donald L. Opitz, provided a report on the activities of the Secretary since 2013. Four annual reports were submitted to the DHST (each November), with summaries of Commission activities and financial status. The Secretary created a listserv for the Commission, hosted by DePaul University (USA), and this listserv has improved communications among Commission members. Other developments include the establishment of Facebook and Twitter sites. Although the Commission has a website, it is proposed to develop a new website in the current year. DHST funds have been granted for this purpose. The Secretary also reported on the successes of Commission-sponsored symposia and its “in-between” conference in Prague in 2015, “Gendering Science: Women and Men Producing Knowledge.”

In her President’s Report, M. Rentetzi recalled the conditions of her election in 2013 in absentia to underline the constraints on scholars in economically distressed countries like Greece. This situation is a wider phenomenon and limits the ability of Commission members to attend meetings. For this reason, it has been a priority of the Commission to seek new grant funding to support the travel of scholars in financial need. Since becoming President, Rentetzi has sought to attract more young scholars and new ideas to the Commission. One strategy was through the creation of the Agnodike Fellowship. It has also been a Commission priority to attract better geographical representation among its participants and members. There remain gaps in this representation, especially from Africa. Special effort was made to recruit speakers from underrepresented geographical regions to the Commission’s 2015 conference in Prague, and through networking one of the plenary speakers was Francisca Nneka Okeke of Nigeria.

The President underscored the importance of communications and social media for the Commission’s continued development and vitality. As an example, the symposium, “Revisiting the Marie Curie Effect,” organized by Isabelle Lémonon for the European Society for History of Science meeting in Prague in 2016, originated in a post she made to the Facebook page and ideas that circulated on the listserv.

The President offered these recommendations for the Commission’s future work:

  1. Establishment of “Regional Representatives”: Europe (2), United States (2), Latin America (2), Asia (2), and Africa (2). The representatives’ responsibilities would be to assist in disseminating information about the Commission and its opportunities within their respective regions.
  2. Éva Katalin Vámos Distinguished LectureThe President recalled the discussion held in Prague during the ESHS meeting, at which the Commission members present supported the establishment of a Distinguished Lecture in the name of the late Éva Katalin Vámos, a Hungarian historian of science who for many years worked at a museum for history of technology in Budapest. Vámos was the second President of the Commission (following Margaret Rossiter). The Commission officers agreed to create parameters for the selection and a call for nominations. Members who are interested in participating in the selection should contact the Secretary. The first Éva Katalin Vámos Distinguished Lecturer will be selected for the 2019 “in-between” meeting.
  3. The in-between meeting of the Commission will be held in 2019, in Tel-Aviv, with Nurit Kurisch as local host. Once details of the meeting’s time and place are secured, a call for suggested conference themes will be sent to the listserv.
  4. The President encourages Commission members to consider a COST Action application, and other possible grants. COST Action is a European Union grant for networking, e.g., summer schools, exchange visits, travel, conferences, and workshops. Commission officers offered to assist Commission members with applications.
  5. It is proposed to host a Summer School in Greece on the theme: “gender and digital history of science,” perhaps in 2019 in connection with the Tel-Aviv meeting.
  6. A redesign of the website is proposed, and will be carried out in the upcoming months under the Secretary’s initiative.
  7. A discussion about archiving Commission reports and records took place. Catherine Jami indicated the archive of the DHST in Paris is restrictive. One question is whether the archive should be digital or physical. Past presidents have records that may be combined with other archives, in which case the Commission should have a catalog of where records will be deposited. The DHST will update its archive every four years. It’s an open question whether Commission records can be included. The issue needs further discussion, especially to identify which records already exist and where.Meanwhile, the Secretary will post all public reports and minutes to the new website.
  8. Rentetzi and Jami presented on the ICSU project, “A Global Approach to the Gender Gap in Mathematical and Natural Sciences: How to Measure It, How to Reduce It?” (The “Gender Gap.”) This project includes three objectives: to carry out a global survey to see how the experiences of men and women in the sciences may differ; to carry out a publications analysis; and to create a database of best practices.CWGS members are invited to submit a list of their publications that relate to the project, so that the Commission can make available its expertise to the project. The Commission might also have the opportunity to contribute directly to the research as participants (e.g., conducting interviews). Jami will inquire if there is funding to support such research. A workshop was held in Paris in June, attended by Jami (representing IUHPST) and Anne-Sophie Godfroy (representing the Commission). Workshops will be held in Taiwan (8-9 Nov.), Bogotá (22-24 Nov.), and Cape Town (30 Nov. -1 Dec.). Members of the Commission based in these regions are invited to attend the workshops, and if interested should let the Secretary know.

Respectfully submitted by
D.L. Opitz (USA)

International Society for the History of Medicine

The latest issue of the ISHM Newsletter is now available.

Among the news, you will find an update on the 46th ISHM Congress (Portugal, 2018), and information about conferences, calls for papers, and recent publications relevant to the history of medicine. The countries covered include UK, Italy, France, Chile, USA, Poland, Arab Emirates, Canada, and Argentina. If your country is missing, please send relevant news to Emanuela Appetiti (eappetiti@hotmail.com) so that it will be represented in the next issue!

Inside, you will also find the link to the latest free issue of Vesalius, which presents a selection of the papers presented during the 45th Congress in Buenos Aires, in September 2016.

NEH Announces $39.3 Million for 245 Humanities Projects Nationwide

Grant Awards Support Local Cultural Organizations, Museums, Archives, Colleges And Universities, State Humanities Councils, And Individual Scholars

This round of funding, NEH’s third and last for fiscal year 2017, will support vital research, education, and public programs in the humanities. These peer-reviewed grants were awarded in addition to $46.1 million in annual operating support provided to the national network of state and local humanities councils during fiscal year 2017. “NEH grants ensure that Americans around the country have the opportunity to engage with our shared cultural heritage,” said NEH Acting Chairman Jon Parrish Peede. “From traveling exhibitions and teacher workshops to efforts to preserve local history, these projects demonstrate the power of the humanities to build connections, stimulate discovery, and contribute to vibrant communities.”

The following grants (alphabetized by state) may be of interest to readers of the HSS Newsletter:

McCalla Tannehill Historic Ironworks State Park, Alabama
Match: $150,000 [Creating Humanities Communities Grants]
Project Director: Phillip Ratliff
Birmingham Industrial Heritage Trail
The Birmingham Industrial Heritage Trail and a mobile app that will interpret five anchor sites as well as pathways between the sites through audio stories triggered by GPS location. The free app will also allow users to access historic photos, music, and lengthier oral histories to deepen the knowledge about Birmingham’s industrial past.

Anchorage Alaska Association for Historic Preservation
Match: $60,000 [Creating Humanities Communities Grants]
Project Director: Katherine Ringsmuth
Cannery History Project Project
Development of a traveling exhibition and companion book on the lifeways and history of the people associated with the Bristol Bay salmon fishery.

University of California, Los Angeles
Outright: $174,314 [Scholarly Editions and Translations]
Project Director: Olga Yokoyama
A New Translation of Russian Intellectual I. P. Pavlov’s Work on Psychology and the History of Science
Preparation for publication of an English translation of 67 essays by the Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov (1849–1936).

Tampa University of South Florida
Outright: $75,000 [Digital Humanities Advancement Grants]
Project Director: Steven Jones
Reconstructing the First Humanities Computing Center
The digital recreation of the laboratory of pioneering digital humanities scholar Father Roberto Busa to study the methods used by his team in early computational work with scholarly texts.

Bloomington Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.
Outright: $330,000 [Scholarly Editions and Translations]
Project Director: Rega Wood
Richard Rufus Project
Preparation for print and online publication of 13th-century philosopher Richard Rufus’s In Aristotelis De Anima, Scriptumin Metaphysicam Aristotelis, and Oxford Lectures.

Indianapolis Indiana Humanities
Outright: $300,000 [Community Conversations]
Project Director: Leah Nahmias
One State/One Story: Frankenstein
Implementation of a statewide, multi-format program that uses the novel Frankenstein to discuss the impacts of scientific and technological change on human life and society.

Ames, Iowa Iowa State University
Outright: $63,113 [Collaborative Research]
Project Director: David Miller
Revolutions in the History of Early Modern Philosophy and Science
A conference of contributors to The Cambridge History of Philosophy of the Scientific Revolution, at which the contributors will refine their essays for the volume.

Franklin County, Massachusetts Dean College
Outright: $60,364 [Humanities Initiatives: Community Colleges]
Project Director: David Dennis; Jessica Pisano (co-project director)
Making Humanities Matter
A two-year faculty and curricular development project to integrate humanities and science with experiential learning in history of science courses.

Lansing Michigan Humanities Council
Outright: $300,000 [Community Conversations]
Project Director: Joseph Cialdella
Third Coast Conversations: Dialogues about Water
Implementation of a series of public programs across Michigan that would address the historical, cultural, and environmental impact of water.

Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey
Outright: $400,000 [Scholarly Editions and Translations]
Match: $125,000
Project Director: Paul Israel
Papers of Thomas A. Edison
Preparation for publication of volumes 9 and 10 of the selected papers of inventor Thomas Edison (1847–1931), covering the period 1888–1892.

SUNY Research Foundation, College at Cortland
Outright: $195,406 [Institutes for School Teachers]
Project Director: Kevin Sheets
Common Ground: Americans and Their Land During the Gilded Age and Progressive Era
A two-week workshop for twenty-five schoolteachers using the Adirondacks to explore the interconnection of urban and wilderness environments in America from the late-nineteenth through early-twentieth-century.

CUNY Research Foundation, Graduate School and University Center
Outright: $65,912 [Scholarly Editions and Translations]
Project Director: Romina Padro; Eduardo Barrio (co-project director)
An Edition of Seminars on the Theory of Truth by American Philosopher Saul Kripke
Preparation for print publication of a three-volume edition of the philosopher Saul Kripke’s Seminars on the Theory of Truth.

Intrepid Museum Foundation, New York
Outright: $126,283 [Institutes for School Teachers]
Project Director: Lynda Kennedy
The Cold War through the Collections of the Intrepid Museum
A two-week institute for twenty-five schoolteachers on the history, experience, and legacy of the Cold War through its technology.

Janice Nimura, New York
Outright: $50,400 [Public Scholar Program]
How the Blackwell Sisters Brought Women to Medicine—and Medicine to Women—in 19th-Century America
Research and writing leading to publication of a dual biography of Elizabeth Blackwell (1821–1910) and her sister Emily Blackwell (1826–1910), pioneering women in American medicine.

Salt Lake City Salt Lake Community College, Utah
Outright: $189,043 [Institutes for College and University Teachers]
Project Director: Melissa Helquist
The Book: Material Histories and Digital Futures
A four-week institute for twenty-five college and university faculty on the history and technologies of the book.

Blacksburg Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia
Outright: $40,000 [Digital Humanities Advancement Grants]
Project Director: Edward Ewing
Viral Networks: An Advanced Workshop in Digital Humanities and Medical History
An advanced workshop on incorporating digital humanities tools into medical history research. Preceded by a series of virtual meetings and activities, the two-day workshop will be held at the National Institutes of Health and will result in an open-access publication of scholarly essays.

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Outright: $92,494 [Seminars for School Teachers]
Project Director: Edward Ewing
Flu! The 1918 Spanish Influenza in U.S. and World History
A three-week seminar for sixteen schoolteachers on the history and impact of the 1918 Spanish influenza epidemic, held in Blacksburg, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

Doctoral Dissertations in HSTM

You can view the latest batch of recent doctoral dissertations harvested from the issues 77-11 A and B of Dissertation Abstracts that pertain to the broad scope of the history of medicine and science at the following URL: http://www.hsls.pitt.edu/histmed/dissertations. Our thanks to Jonathan Erlen for his work on this.

American Philosophical Society Grants and Fellowships

The American Philosophical Society’s grant and fellowship programs will be of interest to many HSS members. These include grants for exploration and field research in astrobiology, dissertation completion fellowships, and general grants in all fields. Detailed information about the programs can be found on the APS website: www.amphilsoc.org.

Newberry Library Awards

The Newberry in Chicago, Illinois has announced its Long-Term and Short-Term Fellowship awards for 2017-18. The awards support 11 long-term and 46 short-term fellows, with funds coming from Newberry endowments, grants, gifts, and consortia, as well as partnerships with other institutions and scholarly organizations.

A complete list of fellows is available on the Newberry website as well as a profile of each Long-Term Fellow.

The Newberry Fellowship program provides scholars the opportunity to extensively use our collections in a supportive environment. Often, fellows make exciting finds, develop new interpretations, and deepen their contextual understandings.

Fellows also participate in a lively community of scholars, including other fellows, curators, librarians, and our research centers, focused on advancing our understanding of the humanities.

A list of fellows with topics that may be of interest to HSS members appears below.

For further information on the fellowships, contact D. Bradford Hunt, Vice President for Research and Academic Programs, The Newberry Library, research@newberry.org

Lawrence H. Kessler
Postdoctoral Fellow
Consortium of History of Science, Technology and Medicine Fellow
Planter’s Paradise: Environment, Empire, and Hawai‘i’s Sugarcane Plantations

Deirdre Moore
PhD Candidate in the History of Science at Harvard University
Newberry Consortium in American Indian Studies Graduate Student Fellow
Indigenous Knowledge and Breeding of Cochineal Insects in 18th Century Colonial Mexico

Michelle Navakas
Assistant Professor of Literature at Miami University
Newberry Library-Jack Miller Center Fellow
Coral in Early American Literature, Science, and Culture

Katherine Walker
PhD Candidate in Literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Newberry Library-American Society for Environmental History Fellow
Reading the Natural and Preternatural Worlds in Early Modern Drama

Grant Recipients

Arielle Saiber
Associate Professor of Literature at Bowdoin College
Weiss/Brown Publication Subvention Award
Computation and Writing in Renaissance Italy