Janskerkhof 2-3, Rm. 013 Special Event
24 Jul 2019 09:00 AM - 11:45 AM(Europe/Amsterdam)
20190724T0900 20190724T1145 Europe/Amsterdam Flashtalks

The Flashtalks initiative was begun by Janet Browne (then President of the HSS) in 2017, who partnered with John Krige, then president of SHOT. She and John co-chaired the session at the annual HSS meeting in Toronto and John invited Janet to co-chair the session at SHOT in 2018. The original concept was to provide one full session for graduate students to present a five-minute talk on their thesis project followed by a five-minute question period. (If anyone goes over their 5 minute presentation time they lost the time from their 5 minute question period.). Graduate students were invited to submit proposals on their topic and these proposals were evaluated by Janet and John. The meeting program chairs were not involved in the selection process but were asked to find a morning slot for the session. The Executive Office managed the announcement inviting proposals and was responsible for collecting them for the presidents. The fourteen best were selected to be presented at the Flashtalks session. It was thought that having the presidents co-host the session would add lustre to the Flashtalks and indicate how important graduate student participation was for the annual meeting. This session generated a lot of interest and encouraged graduate students to participate in the HSS meeting. They were permitted to also present a paper in a session if it was accepted.

Bernard Lightman (Janet's successor), Tom Misa (incoming president of SHOT), and Marsha Richmond (president of the International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology [ISH]) were the co-hosts in 2018. Marsha was invited in order to attract more proposals. We had about ten more proposals than we had spaces. The session was a success, attracting a healthy audience and the graduate s ...

Janskerkhof 2-3, Rm. 013 History of Science Society 2019 meeting@hssonline.org

The Flashtalks initiative was begun by Janet Browne (then President of the HSS) in 2017, who partnered with John Krige, then president of SHOT. She and John co-chaired the session at the annual HSS meeting in Toronto and John invited Janet to co-chair the session at SHOT in 2018. The original concept was to provide one full session for graduate students to present a five-minute talk on their thesis project followed by a five-minute question period. (If anyone goes over their 5 minute presentation time they lost the time from their 5 minute question period.). Graduate students were invited to submit proposals on their topic and these proposals were evaluated by Janet and John. The meeting program chairs were not involved in the selection process but were asked to find a morning slot for the session. The Executive Office managed the announcement inviting proposals and was responsible for collecting them for the presidents. The fourteen best were selected to be presented at the Flashtalks session. It was thought that having the presidents co-host the session would add lustre to the Flashtalks and indicate how important graduate student participation was for the annual meeting. This session generated a lot of interest and encouraged graduate students to participate in the HSS meeting. They were permitted to also present a paper in a session if it was accepted.

Bernard Lightman (Janet's successor), Tom Misa (incoming president of SHOT), and Marsha Richmond (president of the International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology [ISH]) were the co-hosts in 2018. Marsha was invited in order to attract more proposals. We had about ten more proposals than we had spaces. The session was a success, attracting a healthy audience and the graduate students who participated appreciated the feedback.

The Flashtalks will again take place in Utrecht for the July annual meeting, co-hosted by the HSS president (Lightman), and representatives of ISH and SHOT, though not the current presidents of those societies. It does not appear that SHOT has set up flashtalks for their 2019 conference. At their spring meeting in 2019 the Executive Committee suggested that presidents, or their representative societies, should only be invited when there were joint meetings.

 

"The Most Noble of All Commodities": Mineral Trade and the Earth Sciences in the Early Modern WorldView Abstract
Flashtalk 09:00 AM - 09:10 AM (Europe/Amsterdam) 2019/07/24 07:00:00 UTC - 2019/07/24 07:10:00 UTC
Mineral commodities were an important topic of inquiry in early modern earth sciences that have largely been overshadowed by debates over the age of the earth. Besides fossils, many other minerals stimulated profound questions about the earth’s material composition and provided evidence for theories of matter formation and the distribution of valuable commodities. The trade in precious stones between Europe and Southeast Asia offers one slice through the seventeenth century’s global trade in minerals that included gunpowder, dyestuffs, and many other materials destined for a wide range of artisanal and industrial applications. This flashtalk will situate gemstones in seventeenth century natural philosophy and commercial networks across the Indian Ocean. I argue that the trade routes that linked these two domains of activity reveal an underappreciated preoccupation with precious minerals in early modern earth sciences.
Presenters
CC
Claire Conklin Sabel
University Of Pennsylvania
"We need to talk about Richard Owen"View Abstract
Flashtalk 09:10 AM - 09:20 AM (Europe/Amsterdam) 2019/07/24 07:10:00 UTC - 2019/07/24 07:20:00 UTC
The historiography of Richard Owen has focused on certain aspects of his character; from his difficult personality, rivalries, keenness on power to his museum enterprise and his standing-point on transmutation. However, an integral understanding of him still lacks in the literature. More specifically, of his years in the Royal College of Surgeons (1827-1856) – a period that remains in the shadow of Darwinism. In this work, Moral Economy is used as an analytical tool to illustrate the non-monetary resource management that Owen undertook in a specific social context in order to achieve his ambitions of institutionalising the field of Comparative Anatomy and being Britain´s most eminent naturalist. Through the study of Owen´s growth and expenditure of socio-political, intellectual, and emotional capital, a more humane and neutral portrayal of this controversial figure is exposed. As a little-explored arena, the former is particularly discussed. Owen´s historiography has focused particularly on his professional correspondence with men. However, Owen´s personal letters to his wife, mother and sisters reveal a different emotional expression. In that sense, Owen´s emotional capital touches on how his intimate relationship with his family provided a space where he privately curated his other capitals and how this had a direct impact on his professional development. Together with an analysis of his socio-political and intellectual capitals, this paper offers a synthetic approach where single behaviours are not over-interpreted, but normalised. Therefore, it challenges the long-held vision of an overwhelmingly defensive and power-centred naturalist.
Presenters Daniela Sclavo
Recently Graduated MSc History And Philosophy Of Science At University College Of London
At Home in the Museum: the Collection of Frederik RuyschView Abstract
Flashtalk 09:20 AM - 09:30 AM (Europe/Amsterdam) 2019/07/24 07:20:00 UTC - 2019/07/24 07:30:00 UTC
The Dutch anatomist Dr. Frederik Ruysch is best known for his artfully embalmed anatomical specimens. Between roughly 1689 and 1731, Ruysch displayed this collection inside his family home in Amsterdam. Ruysch’s house museum attracted international attention, and became an important space for the creation and dissemination of scientific and anatomical knowledge. To date, a significant body of scholarship exists on Ruysch’s life and work: Ruysch’s specimens have been analyzed from medical, artistic, and even commercial perspectives. However, the objects in his collection have often assumed center stage; Ruysch’s house-museum as a space has received little attention. This paper seeks to place Ruysch’s objects in context: it excavates the space they occupied, as it was socially and physically constructed. To do so it draws on two previously understudied sources. First, it conducts a detailed analysis of the visitors recorded in Ruysch’s guest books. This source reveals an intimate social environment which revolved around personal relationships. Secondly, Ruysch’s estate inventory allows for the detailed reconstruction of each room in the house. A virtual tour of Ruysch’s home reveals that the collection was deeply embedded in family life; learning spaces and living spaces were indistinguishable. Thus, while museums are thought to have become increasingly public in the 18th century, Ruysch’s house offers a compelling example of a museum that was in fact private, and highly domestic. By recovering the domestic context of Ruysch’s collection, this paper further emphasizes the household as a crucial site for the transmission and creation of knowledge.
Presenters
IV
Isabel Van Paasschen
Yale University
Biodiversity on Display: Museological and Scientific Practices in Natural History Museums ExhibitionsView Abstract
Flashtalk 09:30 AM - 09:40 AM (Europe/Amsterdam) 2019/07/24 07:30:00 UTC - 2019/07/24 07:40:00 UTC
Exhibitions are social constructions in which information and archives are selected by professionally diverse teams, whose work may be influenced by institutional and financial contingencies. In natural history museums, expography has drastically changed during the last two centuries. Scientific and museological practices are fundamental factors influencing these changes. The increasing circulation of objects, bibliographies and professionals among European and American museums may also have influenced exhibitions design. Inasmuch as the history of museography in relation to its own circulation in natural history museums is still incipient, this thesis proposes to identify ways of display that represent museological and scientific practices in Brazilian and Portuguese natural history museums, by analyzing five contemporaneous exhibitions in which "biodiversity" is a central concept. After reviewing the literature on history of science and museology, we constructed a matrix with indicators which allowed us to recognize different expographic patterns, from the nineteenth century until nowadays. We identified overlapping of ways of display, once in the same exhibition there were different types of representations of scientific practices and concepts. Our preliminary results show that even exhibitions designed after 2010 still have specimens displayed according to design patterns typical of the previous centuries. Although we noticed the importance of researchers and their practices in the conception of exhibitions, different patterns in the same space and narrative indicated the existence of other factors affecting the ways of display. Identifying the origin of these factors will allow us to establish a panorama of influences on science representation in museological institutions.
Presenters MARIANA SOLER
IHC - CEHFCi - University Of Évora
Mapping and the MicroscopeView Abstract
Flashtalk 09:50 AM - 10:00 AM (Europe/Amsterdam) 2019/07/24 07:50:00 UTC - 2019/07/24 08:00:00 UTC
“We are come ashore into a new World,” declared Nehemiah Grew in the dedication to his 17th century publication commissioned by the Royal Society. The world he went on to describe, however, did not include any of the typical features one might expect from a treatise on the exploration of new territory. There were no coastlines there – no mountainous regions, no lakes or valleys. Instead, the place he described consisted of roots, seeds, vessels and membranes. Nehemiah Grew was one of the earliest people to conduct a detailed exploration of plant life with the use of a microscope. The things he discovered had he had no language to describe. In the presentation of his research, Grew borrowed freely from other knowledge systems in development at that time, including bookbinding, the study of animal anatomy and his own vitalist metaphysics. One of the most striking features of how he framed his research was in the language of territorial expansion. Grew's reference to the imperialist project was more than simply a rhetorical appeal by Grew; rather it was central to both the discursive and visual language he developed around his work. The engravings that accompanied Grew’s publications were necessarily abstract, resembling less the tradition of botanical illustration than a series of maps or mathematical diagrams. I will trace the visual form of Grew’s illustrations through the tradition of cartography and consider the implications of this way of imagining the microscopic world geographically – as a place to be surveyed and conquered.
Presenters
PM
Pamela Mackenzie
Ph.D. Candidate, University Of British Columbia
Natural sciences in the thought of Jabir ibn HayyanView Abstract
Flashtalk 10:15 AM - 10:25 AM (Europe/Amsterdam) 2019/07/24 08:15:00 UTC - 2019/07/24 08:25:00 UTC
When Islamic civilization dawned by the emerge of Islam in the seventh century AD, the seed of knowledge was fertilized in the Islamic realm and it was after about a century (i.e., the eighth century AD) that it yielded. This is the beginning of a period of flourishing of Islamic sciences, known as the Islamic golden age. This era is full of scholars who have sought for knowledge, and performed original scientific works. The study of nature was one of the branches of knowledge at that time, which had considerable progress in association with other branches of knowledge. But it should be noted that the science of nature among the golden age scholars was highly dependent upon their philosophical views on nature. One of the Muslim pioneers of this arena is Abu Musa Jabir ibn Hayyan, polymath and alchemist of the eighth century AD. Here we will explain the study of nature in the works of Jabir in terms of the concept of nature, and the principles and methodology of natural sciences.
Presenters
MM
Marziyehsadat Montazeritabar
Institute For The History Of Natural Sciences, Chinese Academy Of Sciences
Printing Between the Lines: A Sixteenth-Century Historical TableView Abstract
Flashtalk 10:25 AM - 10:35 AM (Europe/Amsterdam) 2019/07/24 08:25:00 UTC - 2019/07/24 08:35:00 UTC
Johann Funck's "Chronologia" was one of the most popular tabular chronologies of the early modern period with several editions following its original 1545 publication in Nuremberg. In my presentation, I will display an opening from the 1554 Basel edition of the same work to highlight the instability of the historical table in its printed form. I will focus on the ostensibly restrictive—but actually quite fluid—boundaries of the table's rows, columns, and cells in terms of their intellectual foundation and bibliographical construction. The printed sixteenth-century historical table is an artifact designed to be absorbed in a glance, yet it rewards the attentive viewer who lingers and zooms in.
Presenters Ashley Gonik
History, Harvard University
Science Policy in Portugal: The Instituto Nacional de Investigação Científica (INIC)View Abstract
Flashtalk 10:35 AM - 10:45 AM (Europe/Amsterdam) 2019/07/24 08:35:00 UTC - 2019/07/24 08:45:00 UTC
Like many of its European counterparts, the Portuguese Scientific System went through a radical transformation throughout the 20th Century. To a limited extent, these changes were a response to some internal pressures (Higher Education and Colonial Enterprises) and in tune with the international/European tendency for the development of transnational policies and practices. These transformations accelerate from 1976 onwards, with the Carnation Revolution (1974), when the country transitioned from the Estado Novo fascist regime to a democratic system. These transformations were shaped by a plethora of State Institutions with distinct missions and objectives (often overlapping or conflicting) through a very dynamic and complex process which ran parallel with the maturation of the Portuguese democratic political system. In my dissertation, I follow one of these institutions, the Instituto Nacional de Investigação Científica (INIC), that, in light of the Actor-Network Theory Framework can be seen, not as a mere intermediary, like current historiography portrays it but, as an influential mediator, deeply entangled and influential in the complex institutional dialogue from which the present Portuguese Scientific Research System emerged.
Presenters Hugo Soares
CIUHCT, New University Of Lisbon
Specimens of Trade: Medical Treatments and Knowledge from Herbal Texts over Time and SpaceView Abstract
Flashtalk 10:45 AM - 10:55 AM (Europe/Amsterdam) 2019/07/24 08:45:00 UTC - 2019/07/24 08:55:00 UTC
Recent research in the area of drug discovery highlights both the value and challenges of utilising historical botanical sources to identify plant species with pharmaceutical potential. Focusing on herbals, this paper reflects on the use of digitisation in research that seeks to trace the exchange of food and medical plant species across cultures and time. The plant knowledge exchanged will be considered within both the sociocultural contexts of the indigenous medical systems and political climates in which they were documented and the context of this knowledge transfer over time. To demonstrate this, an ethnobotanical database was created from archival sources. The traditional uses, preparations, and scientific evidence for selected species of this ongoing project will be presented as reflections of the individuals responsible for their documentation and case studies of the circulation and exchange of medical knowledge.
Presenters
MD
Marianne Jennifer Datiles
University College London (UCL), UK
The Making of a Science of Substance after Quantum Mechanics in Japan : the Emergence of "Busseiron" around 1940View Abstract
Flashtalk 11:05 AM - 11:15 AM (Europe/Amsterdam) 2019/07/24 09:05:00 UTC - 2019/07/24 09:15:00 UTC
It is well known that the appearance of quantum mechanics caused drastic changes in sciences of substance in many aspects, such as their methodologies, objects, and disciplines. By the mid of 20th century, some disciplines—solid-state physics, chemical physics, and quantum chemistry, for example—had been made in the field of sciences of substance. Given their rapid developments and significant impacts on the society, the sciences of substance have enough reasons to attract historical interests. In Japan, a discipline called "busseiron" was formed around 1940, and this was one of the emerging sciences of substance—studies or theories ("ron") of properties ("sei") of matter or substances ("butsu"). This newly formed science contained the contents from the various fields, such as statistical mechanics, solid-state physics, chemical physics, quantum chemistry, and so on, but corresponded to none of the above—this discipline became an epistemological research frame unique to Japan; there is no word corresponding to "busseiron" in other languages. In this talk, I will briefly present the historical process of the formation of "busseiron", considering the context of making of sciences of substance after quantum mechanics—this formation was guided mainly by the physicists in the University of Tokyo under the strong influence of Japanese way to accept quantum mechanics and the tension among the existing research traditions, such as metallography, metallurgy, spectroscopy, nuclear physics, and so on.
Presenters
HK
Hiroto Kono
Tokyo Institute Of Technology / JSPS Research Fellow / UC Berkeley (Visiting Student Researcher)
The Slow Appearance of Radiation Risk PerceptionView Abstract
Flashtalk 11:15 AM - 11:25 AM (Europe/Amsterdam) 2019/07/24 09:15:00 UTC - 2019/07/24 09:25:00 UTC
After the discovery of X rays and radioactive elements in the turn of the 19th century, the deleterious health effects of radiation were greatly ignored. Most experiments regarding the physiological effects of radiation were about the possibilities of their therapeutic use. Radiation widespread application in medicine, along with its use in entertainment, beauty and other industries rapidly unveiled radiation hazards such as skin burns, cancer and ultimately death. Nonetheless, factors such as the immediacy, certainty, transparency and obviousness of the benefits of radiation applications, together with people’s confirmatory bias, delayed the appearance of radiation risk perception among the scientists and the public. Perception about radiation thus went through an evolving process with varying velocities, from an unknown phenomenon to suddenly being a miraculous cure of all ailments and then from being a danger, in the sense of something that is out of people’s control, to entailing a risk that can be measured and prevented through implementation of protective actions. Today, radiation risk is one of the most thoroughly studied among all health risks. The present proposal intends to give a snapshot of what experts knew about radiation risk during the initial stages of research and use of ionizing radiation. Finally, the talk aims to show briefly the evolution of the scientific knowledge about radiation risk illustrated by dose limits.
Presenters Ana Rita Melo
Coimbra University, Portugal
The Struggle Over Politicized Scientific Facts in a Post-Truth Age: The Union of Concerned Scientists’ Altercations with Presidential Science Advisors, 1969-2008View Abstract
Flashtalk 11:25 AM - 11:35 AM (Europe/Amsterdam) 2019/07/24 09:25:00 UTC - 2019/07/24 09:35:00 UTC
Who defines the terms of American public discussion over science issues such as nuclear policy, healthcare, and climate change? Exploring the conflicts between presidential Science Advisors and the Union of Concerned Scientists between 1969 and 2008 provides a window into this question. During the Nixon administration, the president’s Science Advisor shifted from serving as a technical expert in the executive branch to working primarily as a public relations spokesman, bolstering the president’s credibility as an objective scientific voice in the public eye. The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), a group of researchers, emerged in 1969 at MIT to protest the militaristic policies of the Nixon administration and criticized Science Advisor Lee Dubridge. The UCS was a continuous thorn in the side of subsequent presidential administrations and competed with the Science Advisor to set the terms of public debates over science. Historians have not fully explored the role of Science Advisors and the Union of Concerned Scientists since the Nixon administration and instead have focused largely on the role of Science Advisors in the early Cold War period. Drawing on archival material from five different repositories, this flashtalk will explore three specific instances of conflict between the Union of Concerned Scientists and the presidential Science Advisor in the Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush administrations over nuclear policy, the Strategic Defense Initiative, and climate change respectively. I argue that Science Advisors and the UCS have competed to shape public language and priorities for science in the past fifty years.
Presenters
JM
Julia Marino
Princeton University
University of Pennsylvania
Recently graduated MSc History and Philosophy of Science at University College of London
Yale University
IHC - CEHFCi - University of Évora
Ph.D. Candidate, University of British Columbia
+ 7 more speakers. View All
Dr. Marsha Richmond
Wayne State University
York University
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