Categories
Press and Pop Culture

Tales of Scientific Heroes are Just Celebrity Biographies

Roger Highfield has attracted attention lately for his promotion not only science heroes but also his claims that we, the public, should revere these science heroes. In a recent lecture, he goes so far as to say our modern, democratic society depends on such heroes and our recognition that they of their heroic status: “For […]

Categories
Research

Digital Manuscripts

Elly over at Medieval Robots revels in how digital humanities are making medieval and early modern material available to broader audiences (see her “How Early Modern Animal Jetpacks Went Viral). I too am delighted to see digital resources making so much material available both for scholarly use and for the interested audience. Recently the Vatican […]

Categories
Exhibitions

Astrology and Medicine at the College of Physicians

There is a nice little exhibition on astrology and medicine at College of Physicians of Philadelphia (CPP): “Under the Influence of The Heavens: Astrology in Medicine in the 15th and 16th Centuries.” They selected about a dozen books from their rich and often unexplored collection of early printed books. One case displays some incunabula ranging […]

Categories
History

Medical Marketing Pamphlets

I am interested in efforts to sell medicines directly to patients, how the purveyors of those medicines identify and label symptoms in order to pathologize them, and how they use various techniques to convince audiences that they are suffering from something and should take the elixir proffered. Typically, this has been various patent medicine companies—Medicines […]

Categories
Press and Pop Culture

History of Science on Stamps

While looking box of material I stumbled back across some microfilm I had ordered from the Biblioteka Jagiellońska in Kraków (If you have any interest in early modern science, this is a great library, which, I am happy to see, has started a digital library). What caught my eye were the stamps on the packages, […]

Categories
History

Plagiarism in 17th-Century Pamphlets?

Wholesale plagiarism is was common in early printed books. Printers, book sellers, and readers even had a word for it: piracy.[1] When dealing with short, cheap pamphlets, this piracy often took the form of wholesale plagiarism. A printer would acquire a copy of one pamphlet, reset the type, find a handy woodblock lying around the […]

Categories
Literature & Scholarship

Roman Science?

The standard story about science in the Roman world condemns it to the realm of engineering and the application of Greek science to practical problems. To the extent that Romans acquired scientific knowledge, it was through popularizations and translations, often with commentary, of Greek works. Roman science conjures up images of Macrobius’ Commentary on the […]

Categories
Academia

Making Creativity Routine

In his Warming up Patrick Rhone points to the value of writing anything first thing in the morning. He borrows from Julia Cameron’s “morning pages,” popularized in her book The Artist’s Way. Like Rhone, Roxana Robinson’s morning routine includes both coffee and writing. For Rhone, Robinson, and Cameron the morning routine awakens creativity. Whatever mechanism […]

Categories
Press and Pop Culture

Lewis Mumford on Science

In most departments, and not least in science, a certain blind assurance prevailed, distorting observation and undermining judgement. The physicists, the guild whose later discoveries would shake the foundations of civilization, were wide of the mark in their neat assumptions about the nature of the physical world: they did not, as Henry Adams soon discovered, […]

Categories
History

John Draper’s History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science

John William Draper’s version of the conflict between science and religion is quirky and idiosyncratic, and contains some unexpected bits. He shares with Andrew D. White a central claim, which too many people today continue to accept as true: The History of Science is not a mere record of isolated discoveries; it is a narrative […]