Abstracts Archive

Crowning the career of the Munich Latinist Eduard Wölfflin (1831-1908) was his role in founding the Thesaurus linguae Latinae, a massive lexicon that aimed to deliver an unprecedently complete history of the words it treated. The work, begun in the 1890s and still in progress today, is a standard research tool for philologists. For Wölfflin it re...

Thematic Approaches to the Study of ScienceContributed Paper

Johan Baptista van Helmont’s famous willow tree experiment purported to demonstrate that “164 pounds of wood, bark, and roots had come up from water alone,” suggesting the preeminence of water as the foundation for botanical growth. This experiment has a long afterlife among agricultural reformers in seventeenth-century England, but rather th...

ChemistryContributed Paper

An intriguing, but little noticed, puzzle exists in the historiography of science in modern China: While Tianyanlun (On Heavenly Evolution), the Chinese translation of Thomas Huxley’s Evolution and Ethics, is widely celebrated as THE most influential book in modern Chinese intellectual history, it received little credit in the history of science....

Thematic Approaches to the Study of ScienceContributed Paper

The Natural Philosophy Department of the University of Edinburgh in the 19th century is mostly associated with their famous professors, known for their inventions or their method of teaching, in which they used a wide range of instruments. In this talk, I will explore who in addition of the teaching staff had access to the instruments of the Natura...

Thematic Approaches to the Study of ScienceContributed Paper

In the decade preceding World War II, the so-called Prague Linguistic Circle (Prague linguistic school) developed the ideas of Ferdinand de Saussure. While the original circle practically ceased to exist during World War II, its ideas were clandestinely revived and developed during the rule of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (1948-1989). Just...

Aspects of Scientific Practice/OrganizationContributed Paper

Established in 1834 for the collection of facts, the Statistical Society of London (SSL) played a central role in the moulding of statistical facts. The SSL defined statistical facts as the aggregation of numerous observations and reduced the value of single observations to isolated facts that alone could not be accepted as evidence. For the produc...

Social SciencesContributed Paper

This paper, which is also a contribution to the somewhat understudied area of the history of biography, discusses a couple of short accounts of the life of the English chemist Humphry Davy (1778-1829) and the three major biographies published in the years following his death. These latter were an ‘anti-biography’ by John Ayrton Paris (1831) and...

Thematic Approaches to the Study of ScienceContributed Paper

In the late 19th century many biologists in Central Europe turned to the field of malacology, the study of snails and other molluscs. In a period when global environments changed tremendously due to human intervention and the growth of global transport and economy, many biologists believed that snails with their sluggish pace would allow them to tu...

Earth and Environmental SciencesContributed Paper

In their efforts to follow the instructions emanated from the Council of Trent, Sixtus Vth Bull Coeli et Terrae, and the rules established by the commissions of the Roman and the Spanish Indexes of Forbidden Books, Spanish Inquisitors involved in trials for the practice of astrology dealt with not only the reports of experts about the discipline, b...

Physical SciencesContributed Paper

This paper explores the US-Korea collaborative environmental assessment of Seoul, South Korea, in 1971-1975. With increasing global-scale pollution during the Cold War, environmental scientists and government officials of the U.S. recognized value of collecting environmental data. In this context, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAI...

Earth and Environmental SciencesContributed Paper

Between 1858 and 1859, Emperor Napoleon III’s government determined a national pitch to which musicians should tune their instruments. The following year, the British Society of Arts attempted to emulate this standard. Amid tense Anglo-French relations, however, British audiences interpreted the French pitch as a measure of the country’s politi...

Physical SciencesContributed Paper

Informed by the recent achievements of bacteriology, doctors and scientists started researches on the last decades of the 19th century aiming to find a therapeutic serum against snakebites. Among then, one can mention Albert Calmette, a French doctor in duty in Indochina, and Vital Brazil, a Brazilian doctor based in São Paulo. Other than the simi...

Medicine and HealthContributed Paper

Clustering around the introduction and proliferation of the birth control pill in 1960 U.S., I present a cultural history of this invention’s enduring consequences for the liberatory imagination through an intertextual conversation between an unexpected trio: science fiction novelist Ursula Le Guin, radical feminist Shulamith Firestone, and the P...

Thematic Approaches to the Study of ScienceContributed Paper

Anthropologists studying American Indians groups in the 1880s and 1890s occasionally remarked on community sects dedicated to the consumption of peyote (Lophophora williamsii) for spiritual purposes. These “peyote cults,” which spread from Mexico into the central US in the late nineteenth century, were first seen negatively, as anthropologists ...

Social SciencesContributed Paper

During the eighteenth-century, the Spanish Empire held a virtual monopoly on the production of cochineal, a lucrative red dye commodity sourced from insects grown on cacti largely in the south of modern day Mexico. The cochineal insect had been domesticated and grown by the indigenous peoples of central America for centuries before the arrival of t...

Social SciencesContributed Paper

Ulugh Beg’s 15th c. Samarqand observatory and associated madrasa is one of the most famous Islamic scientific institutions, producing astronomical observations that were not equalled until Tycho Brahe. Less is known, however, about the process of research and education at Samarqand, but a number of commentaries produced by Samarqand scholars shed...

Physical SciencesContributed Paper

This paper examines a scientific career of one of the most prominent genetic engineering scientists in South Korea, Dr. Jin-soo Kim. As he often introduces himself, he is “an entrepreneur and chemist-turned-biologist.” He is quite renowned for his work on genome editing at Seoul National University, and for his founding of ToolGen, one of the l...

BiologyContributed Paper

In the early modern period, most scholarly works (as well as many maps, instruments, etc.) included a printed dedication. Historians of science have studied such dedications mainly as a window on patronage relationships. That aspect is important, but cannot be the whole story. After all, most reeditions still included the original dedications, even...

Aspects of Scientific Practice/OrganizationContributed Paper

The Mobile-Tensaw Delta, known as “America’s Amazon,” supports incredible biodiversity—including oaks, turtles, birds, and snakes, who fill the landscape that has been carved by glaciation, flowing rivers, flood basins, and tidal patterns. Archeology also demonstrates varied human habitation. Prehistoric mound cultures illustrate the lives ...

Tools for Historians of ScienceContributed Paper

The aim of the paper is to outline and interpret the evolution of early forensic psychology and criminal psychology in Hungary by focusing on the notion of criminal responsibility. The question of criminal responsibility was in the core of early forensic psychology in Hungary. Prominent representatives of early forensic psychology and psychiatry su...

Medicine and HealthContributed Paper

In 1820 the radical journalist Richard Carlile declared in the pages of his 'Republican' that science had for centuries been "continually at war" with religion. While historians have tended to locate the conflict thesis as the product of debates much later in the nineteenth century, in this paper I show how a militant, scientifically-inflected irre...

Thematic Approaches to the Study of ScienceContributed Paper

We struggle with time! Popular lines like: “do things in your own time”, “time heals all wounds”, “live in the here and now”, suggest that time is important to the way we live our lives in the 21st century. Simultaneously, these wisdoms have a history. Without knowledge of this past such statements turn into empty and meaningless clich...

Tools for Historians of ScienceContributed Paper

While historians have shown the importance of networks in nineteenth and early twentieth century European science, women’s networks have hardly been examined. This paper aims to promote a fuller understanding of scientific communities by analysing the intricate connections between gender, class, and imperialism through a reconstruction of four Br...

BiologyContributed Paper

From its inception, assisted reproductive technology (ART) – ranging from artificial insemination and in vitro fertilisation to surrogacy and egg freezing – invoked public questions of the world to come. This constellation of emerging technologies was simultaneously credited with the disruption of the sanctity of heterosexual marriage, technolo...

Aspects of Scientific Practice/OrganizationContributed Paper

Fundamental to the work of William Hunter and his assistants at the Great Windmill Street school in London was the collecting of anatomical preparations. Not only were these preparations vital to teaching at the school, their making provided visual and tactile information that was the basis for many of the anatomical discoveries associated with the...

Medicine and HealthContributed Paper

It was for both science and empire that East India Company employees lugged (or rather, employed Asian porters to lug) a panoply of fragile instruments into, and specimens out of, the Himalaya in order to account for what were only just coming to be acknowledged were by far the highest mountains on the globe. Measuring altitude accurately had never...

Aspects of Scientific Practice/OrganizationContributed Paper

This paper will examine the history of psychiatry through the lens of the refugee camp, which, I argue, has served as an instrument of accumulation and extraction of knowledge about refugees and their mental (ill)health. Though the voices of refugees are often absent from the psychiatric knowledge created about them, they have nonetheless contribut...

Medicine and HealthContributed Paper

As Katherine Ott has asserted, disability is “unique in the extent to which it is bonded with technology, tools, and machines as a medium of social interaction.” Objects used by, and made for, disabled people serve as tangible evidence of lived experiences of disability—the constraints of medicine, the limits and expansions of technology, and...

Medicine and HealthContributed Paper

Joseph Priestley had a particular story to tell about his own and others' scientific work, or rather a larger story, religious in nature, which historically placed and specified the fundamental meanings of historically recent and contemporary natural science. This paper will reconstruct these meanings firstly by analysis of his preoccupations with ...

Thematic Approaches to the Study of ScienceContributed Paper

The story of statistics before 1900 is one of a logic common to every science that emerged from the interplay of two developments: the combination of observations and the use of probability mathematics. Both having separate beginnings, these two developments intersected in the first decades of the 19th century, only to spread as a single method hor...

Thematic Approaches to the Study of ScienceContributed Paper