Categories
History

Velikovsky’s Worlds in Collision

Having just read Michael Gordin’s piece on Velikovsky, I was more than a little surprised when I received in the mail today a copy of Immanuel Velikovsky’s Worlds in Collision. For various and sundry reasons, I am one of the “very few people under 50” who not only has heard of Velikovsky but also has […]

Categories
History

Astrology and Morbus Gallicus

An early woodcut of a man suffering from the scabies—or morbus gallicus or, as we like to call it today, syphilis—is attributed to Albrecht Dürer. This woodcut illustrated a poem by the Nürnberg city physician Theodericus Ulsenius, his Vaticinium in epidemicam scabiem. Like most physicians, Ulsenius explained how the disease had been caused by a […]

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Press and Pop Culture

Is Rupert Sheldrake a Modern Giordano Bruno?

In the latest Lapham’s Quarterly Peter Foges writes about Rupert Sheldrake in The Magician in the Laboratory. He wonders if Sheldrake might end up being as important for science as Copernicus, Newton, Galileo, or burned at the stake as a heretic. Speaking of Giordano Bruno: This friar maintained not only that the earth revolved around […]

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Press and Pop Culture

Who Really Needs Scientific Discoveries and Science Heroes?

The scientific hero has attracted considerable attention lately, prompted it seems by Dr. Roger Highfield’s upcoming Heroes of Science lecture at the Royal Society. Dr. Highfield wants to expand the pantheon of heroes of science: Science still needs their illuminating stories to engage with the public, even if that does distort the depiction of the […]

Categories
Collections

Ciba Pharmaceuticals and Mid-Century Marketing

I know nothing about Ciba Pharmaceutical Products and had never heard of the company until I found this pamphlet in a box of old books. Apparently, Ciba Pharmaceuticals produced pamphlets on various topics related to pharmaceuticals and chemistry. This one contains a number of articles by William Jerome Wilson, who contributed to a number of […]

Categories
Historical Expertise

On Whigs and Whig History

Whig history, whiggish history, whigs, and even Whigs seem to be enjoying their 15 minutes of fame. Thony over at The Renaissance Mathematicus had a go at Whig history of science, Michal Meyer at PACHS offered something of a defense of whig history, and William Cronon offered a nice analysis of Herbert Butterfield’s own use […]

Categories
Historical Expertise

What Killed King Tut, Another Guess

A new article claims yet again to have discovered the disease that killed King Tutankhamun: Familial Epilepsy in the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt’s 18th Dynasty (probably behind a paywall, so see this report or this one). Diagnosing King Tut’s illness is a favorite pasttime amongst scientists and physicians, see these claims and more here. This […]

Categories
Academia

Everybody has a “Paradigm”

I recently reread Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. I had first read Kuhn’s book in my first year of graduate school. Perhaps because I was reading Structure I seemed to hear the term paradigm frequently, in contexts ranging from a strange conversation in a cafe, to an attorney discussing evidence in a trial, […]