PhD Student, University Of Rochester
A scientific revitalization of American diplomatic history
Diplomatic history conjures up images of great men brokering deals to end wars and to negotiate trade. Almost no one thinks of scientists as diplomats. I propose to alter this image by researching American doctors and scientists that lived and worked in Europe between 1789-1815. I argue that these men actually made background connections that made possible the larger diplomatic achievements known to American history such as the Jay Treaty and the Treaty of Ghent. Their social status and education afforded them access to a variety of social circles from which they could gather information and form friendships that were later beneficial to American diplomatic efforts.
Abstract: The aim of this article is to draw attention to the medical meteorology from the perspective of the history of science. Unfortunately medical meteorology is not part of the daily medical practice. The climate change is a new challenge for health care worldwide. It concerns millions of people a higher morbidity and mortality rate. Knowing the effects of the meteorological parameters as risk factors can allow us to create new prevention strategies. These new strategies could help to decrease the negative health effects of the meteorological parameters. Nowadays on the field of the medical prevention the medical meteorology is a new horizon and in the future it could play an important role. Health care professionals have the most important role to fight against the negative effects of the global climate change. Orv. Hetil., 2017, 158(5), 187-191.
Pub.: 31 Jan '17, Pinned: 29 Jun '17
Abstract: The Catalogue of Scientific Papers, published by the Royal Society of London beginning in 1867, projected back to the beginning of the nineteenth century a novel vision of the history of science in which knowledge was built up out of discrete papers each connected to an author. Its construction was an act of canon formation that helped naturalize the idea that scientific publishing consisted of special kinds of texts and authors that were set apart from the wider landscape of publishing. By recovering the decisions and struggles through which the Catalogue was assembled, this essay aims to contribute to current efforts to denaturalize the scientific paper as the dominant genre of scientific life. By privileging a specific representation of the course of a scientific life as a list of papers, the Catalogue helped shape underlying assumptions about the most valuable fruits of a scientific career. Its enumerated lists of authors' periodical publications were quickly put to use as a means of measuring scientific productivity and reputation, as well as by writers of biography and history. Although it was first conceived as a search technology, this essay locates the Catalogue's most consequential legacy in its uses as a technology of valuation.
Pub.: 17 Feb '17, Pinned: 29 Jun '17
Abstract: The work of Thomas Kuhn has been very influential in Anglo-American philosophy of science and it is claimed that it has initiated the historical turn. Although this might be the case for English speaking countries, in France an historical approach has always been the rule. This article aims to investigate the similarities and differences between Kuhn and French philosophy of science or 'French epistemology'. The first part will argue that he is influenced by French epistemologists, but by lesser known authors than often thought. The second part focuses on the reactions of French epistemologists on Kuhn's work, which were often very critical. It is argued that behind some superficial similarities there are deep disagreements between Kuhn and French epistemology. This is finally shown by a brief comparison with the reaction of more recent French philosophers of science, who distance themselves from French epistemology and are more positive about Kuhn. Based on these diverse appreciations of Kuhn, a typology of the different positions within the philosophy of science is suggested.
Pub.: 12 Mar '17, Pinned: 29 Jun '17
Abstract: The balloon has long drifted through popular discourse as a symbol of an Enlightenment attitude towards discovery and a Romanticized image of rationality. This article uses two accounts of early British balloon voyages, both published in 1786, and through them attempts to understand the wide range of practices - literary, social, chemical and adventurous - employed by early balloonists in Britain. I argue that the two series of flights recorded by John Jeffries and Vincenzo Lunardi can be read to show two different philosophical ideas of and aspirations for ballooning, each of which is tied to a different British location, and established a different paradigm for the public reception of flight experiments in later years.
Pub.: 10 Apr '17, Pinned: 29 Jun '17
Abstract: Over three centuries after the 1711 discovery in the choir of Notre-Dame in Paris of a square-section stone bas-relief (the Pillar of the Boatmen) with depictions of several deities, both Gaulish and Roman, the blocks comprising it were analyzed as a symbol of Parisian power, if not autonomy, vis-à-vis the Roman Empire. Variously considered as local, national, or imperial representations, the blocks were a constant object of admiration, interrogation, and speculation among antiquarians of the Republic of Letters. They were also boundary objects - products of the emergence of a Parisian archeology dated from 1711. If this science reflected the tensions and ambiguities of a local regime of knowledge situated in a national context, it also helped to coordinate archeological work between different institutions and actors. This paper would like to assess the specific role played by the Pillar of the Boatmen as a fetish object in this process. To what extent could an archeological artifact influence this reshaping of urban representation, this change of scales? By following the three-century career of the pillar's blocks as composite objects, which some have identified as merely stones or a column, it is possible to understand the multiple dimensions that defined the object as archeological - as an artifact that contributed to the relocating of the historical city center - and the multiple approaches that transform existing remains into knowledgeable objects.
Pub.: 12 Apr '17, Pinned: 29 Jun '17
Abstract: Promoting a better understanding of the phenomenon of colonization and its connection with environmental knowledge and technology, this article proposes a reframing of research agendas to take into account the municipal character of colonization in the Hispanic realm and to ask new questions. Questions should address what human-ecosystem relations, and the ways of knowing and techniques for transforming the physical realm, can tell us about colonization itself; who the historical agents involved were, and what these actors knew, learned, and did in their environments. Using the Basin of Mexico's drainage and the agency of commoners, this article proposes that colonization depends on the massive deployment and generation of tacit knowledge about how to harness matter, energy, and time for the reproduction of human societies; the quotidian appropriation and reworking of autochthonous knowledge, techniques, and technology by the colonizing groups; the collaboration of the local populations in whom these are vested; and the agency of commoners with practical skills, environmental knowledge, and technological savvy derived from and honed in the realm of material production. In the Ibero-American realm, these agents were primarily commoners with skills in agropastoral production and the building trades; race, ethnicity, language, and gender were secondary conditions.
Pub.: 11 May '17, Pinned: 29 Jun '17
Abstract: In the eighteenth century, the historiography of astronomy was part of a wider discussion concerning the history of the human spirit. The concept of the human spirit was very popular among Enlightenment authors because it gave the history of human knowledge continuity, unity and meaning. Using this concept, scientists and historians of science such as Montucla, Lalande, Bailly and Laplace could present the history of astronomy in terms of a progress towards contemporary science that was slow and could be interrupted at times, but was still constant, regular, and necessary. In my paper I intend to explain how the originally philosophical concept of the human spirit was transferred to the history of astronomy. I also introduce the basic principles to which the development of the spirit is subject in astronomy, according to historians of astronomy. The third part of the paper describes how historians of astronomy took into account the effect of social and natural factors on the history of astronomy.
Pub.: 21 Jun '17, Pinned: 29 Jun '17
Abstract: A postage stamp issued in Spain in honor of Antonio de Ulloa, in the context of the third centenary of his birth (1716), is presented. Ulloa, a Spanish naval officer, mathematician, astronomer, and traveler, is commonly credited as the first scientist to describe platinum as a particular metal. Therefore, he had essential importance in the discovery of Pt as an element. This stamp represents an opportunity to connect chemistry concepts (e.g., properties of platinum, nomenclature and symbols of elements, and periodic table), history of science topics (e.g., discovery of platinum and related elements, scientific expeditions, and relevance of science in Spain), and history (e.g., history of Latin America and Spain in the 18th century, biography of Antonio de Ulloa, and historical and cultural links between Spain and the United States).
Pub.: 30 May '17, Pinned: 29 Jun '17