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Academia

A Conversation with Edward Shorter

After reading the interview with Edward Shorter, “How Depression Went Mainstream,” I posted some critical thoughts about his dismissal of contemporary history of science. His point seemed to be that present history of science was boring because most contemporary historians of science do not have the technical training to understand the science. As John Wilkins […]

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Academia

Arthur Golding’s A Discourse vpon the Earthquake

I updated yesterday’s post, “Pamphlets on the Earthquake of 1580,” to include an EPUB version of Arthur Golding’s A Discourse vpon the Earthquake …. While you will be missing out if you don’t go back and read the whole post, if you just want the EPUB file, you can download it here. As with Jan […]

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Academia

Further Thoughts on Edward Shorter’s Interview

The opinions Edward Shorter expressed recently in an interview seem at odds to his earlier work, at least according to people familiar with his previous books. Shorter now dismisses most history of science and medicine as uninteresting because it doesn’t study “science.” His objection raises once again the internalist/externalist debate and to reflect the different […]

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Academia

Edward Shorter Derides Today’s History of Science

In a recently published interview, How Depression Went Mainstream over at The History News Network, historian of medicine Edward Shorter talks about his newest book, criticizes historians of science, and bemoans trends in the history of science.[1] Shorter is an accomplished historian of medicine. He graduated from Harvard in 1968 and has spent the bulk […]

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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. […]