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Academia

History of Science as Savior for the Humanities

In 1960 A.C. Crombie was optimistic.[1] After more than a century of neglect, historiography had once again turned its attention to the history of science as an important part of civilization alongside social and intellectual history. According to Crombie, this represented a return to the origins of modern historiography first developed in the 18th century. […]

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Academia

History Beyond the Walls of the Academy

As Adrian Bingham points out in his recent post, Is anyone listening? History and public policy, historians have not been terribly successful in contributing their expertise to debates beyond the walls of the academy. The recent overhaul of the history curriculum in England illustrates this point, as do the new science curriculum standards in the […]

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Academia

Science Curriculum Standards Trivialize History of Science

K–12 science education in the U.S. has a new set of standards, the Next Generation Science Standards. The new standards are supposed to set uniform benchmarks for teaching science and encourage depth of investigation rather than broad coverage. Four organizations spearheaded the process and various states signed on to help generate the standards. Unfortunately, despite […]

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Academia

Why History Matters—for Some People

I recently wondered aloud about the relevance of history and history of science. I want to distinguish my question from a collective anxiety that seems once again to be gripping the nation. Although my question was specifically about how we make history or history of science relevant to today’s audience, we could substitute “history” for […]

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Academia

What Relevance does History (of Science) Have?

A recent exchange raised once again the question: what relevance does the history of science have in broader discussions about science and, I would add, about history, culture, society, etc.? The conclusion seems to be: history of science contributes something to conversations about science communication and public engagement in science.[1] I would like to think […]

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Academia

Astrological Sugar Packets

Those wacky people over at Wiener Zucker have once again commemorated signs of the zodiac on their sugar packets (see earlier versions here). It is an interesting marketing technique that must work, or at least must not harm the company. I don’t really understand why it would work, but that’s why I’m not in marketing. […]

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Academia

Between STS and the Sciences

At last weekend’s STS workshop I facilitated a discussion that explored the relations between STS and the sciences. Here are some summary thoughts from that discussion. We began thinking about the relationship between faculty in the different disciplines—STS/History of science and the various sciences—but quickly shifted focus to students. For many of us, the relationship […]

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Academia

History of Science in High School, ca. 1958

In the middle part of the 20th century the American Historical Association engaged in a concerted outreach program. I don’t know if the discipline and the profession were experiencing one of those perennial anxiety attacks, but the association seemed to feel that it needed to bolster the image of history as a profession and the […]

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Academia

Joseph Agassi on the History of Science

The history of science is a most rational and fascinating story; yet the study of the history of science is in a lamentable state: the literature of the field is often pseudo-scholarly and largely unreadable. The faults which have given rise to this situation, I shall argue, stem from the uncritical acceptance, on the part […]

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Academia

How to think about STS at the Liberal Arts College

To prompt debate and structure discussion, the organizers of last weekend’s workshop offered the following provocations about STS and the scholars who work within it. I am both encouraged by some of these topics and daunted by some. If you have any thoughts or comments, I encourage you to address them in a post, and […]