History of science manifesto

Here is my

As someone with aspirations to change the world, I figured it was high time I wrote a manifesto. I’ve never written one before, so I found the style hard to master… writing skills don’t completely transfer from genre to genre, and blog posts, encyclopedia articles and archive-based research papers all require practice individually. So I’m not completely satisified with it, but I’ll try to improve it in the future. One nice thing about writing in Wikipedia (as I did with the manifesto) is that you can use links to avoid having to choose between a) over-explaining things for the readers that share your background and b) confusing the uninitiated with jargon and obscure allusions.

I was inspired somewhat to write this after reading an article on “Good and Bad Procrastination,” which quotes from this essay the following:

ask yourself three questions:

  1. What are the most important problems in your field?

  2. Are you working on one of them?
  3. Why not?

I’d say the most important problem in my field is popularization, without a doubt. Historical study of the ways scientific ideas move and transform between the elite and popular realms is just one part of that. Even more crucial is the popularization of history of science itself; translating between esoteric scholarship and mass culture, making history of science an essential component of cultural literacy. Think history of science dramas replacing medical dramas, crime dramas, and lawyer dramas as the top TV shows; that’s the level of popularization to aim for. So my Wikipedia adventures are the first step in this regard.

After popularization, pedagogy is the next most important problem. Again, both the relationship between training and scientific development, and the effective teaching of history of science itself (with the latter taking precedence again). The ultimate goal with history of science pedagogy is take over every other academic field; the sciences, literature, garden-variety history, art, all specializations with history of science.

I’ll have to think some more about what other problems are important. Meanwhile, back to reading about the social construction of nuclear missile guidance.

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