Free at last (sort of)

What’s Update: Courses over, Orals Fields shaping up, HSS paper accepted, WikiProject History of Science going great

My second year of coursework is over, so technically I’m done course-taking (except for the paper on science fiction for Agnew, for which I took a temporary incomplete until June). Next year I’ll be TA-ing, and probably sitting in on a least 1 additional course each semester. In the meantime, I’m studying for orals and working part-time in Manuscripts and Archives (this time working on the digitization of the finding aids, which means I get to become much more familiar what’s available here).

Because we still don’t for-sure have an early-modernist on the faculty and I can’t do both “Early-Modern Science” and “History of the Physical Sciences” with Ole, my fields are still up in the air. However, I may have found someone to supervise a field in “Science Fiction and Science Writing.” If that works out, I’ll split the cream of the early-modern crop into the Physical and Biological fields, and my four fields (~50 books each, though the Sci-Fi & Science Writing field might need to be much larger if it consists siginficantly of primary sources) will be:

  • History of Biological Sciences
  • History of Physical Sciences
  • Science Fiction and Science Writing
  • 20th Century American History

My presentation abstract for HSS was accepted; at the Vancouver meeting in November I will be giving a talk, tentatively titled “Natural Philosophy Images: Pedagogy and Popular Science in America.” How trendy is that? Visual culture, pedagogy, and popular science, all in one. It will be based on a paper I wrote in the Fall on the use of images in 19th- and early 20th-century introductory (high school/academy) natural philosophy and physics textbooks and popular science magazines. As I develop it more this summer, I’m probably going to focus on textbooks, and and try to connect the use of images to the changing role of science in American society as well as the changes within academic culture (professionalization, the rise of university research, and the related changes in teaching methods). I may dip into the archives of some of the Yale textbook authors.

WikiProject History of Science continues to grow; now there are 47 nominal participants, and a new subproject for History of Biology. Among the recent additions is Steve McCluskey, a well-known expert on archaeoastronomy. Beginning in June, there will now be a History of Science Collaboration of the Month; it looks like the first one will be Women in science. I’m very excited about this, as there are a bazillion women in science list-servs, and I plan on spamming every one (as well as my former classmates from “Science, Feminism and Modernity”). In anticpation, I got the two volumes of Margaret Rossiter’s Women Scientists in America. And best of all, the History of Science Portal (which I maintain) has been promoted to “featured” status, one of only 14 so distinguished.

In other Wikipedia news, I turned my term paper for Peter Westwick into Military funding of science, I’ve done a bit of recent work on the always enjoyable Science Wars, my re-write of Johannes Kepler is about halfway done and continues to creep along, and I have plans to use the material from Michael Kammen’s “American Nationalism and American Culture” to greatly improve Nationalism in the United States (a few of my classmates have given me permission to GFDL their book reports and short papers).

Bonus links: