MIT professor’s book digs into the eclectic, textually linked reading choices of people in medieval London.
The Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology announced the appointment of 20 resident fellows and two visiting fellows for 1996-1997. The Dibner Fellows represent seven nations and will pursue many different aspects of the history of science and technology. Their names and projects follow:
Bruno Belhoste is professeur charge de recherches, Institut National de Recherche Pedagogique, France. He will continue his research on scientific education in the 19th century, investigating the connections between pure and applied sciences, specifically in the areas of applied geometry and applied mechanics.
J. Bruce Brackenridge is Chapman Professor of Physics at Lawrence University in Appleton, WI. He plans to conduct a comparative study of the major diagrams in Newton's Principia using materials in the Grace K. Babson Collection of Newtoniana at the Dibner Institute's Burndy Library.
Geoffrey Cantor is professor of the history of science at the University of Leeds. His project at the Dibner Institute is entitled "Quakers in British Science to 1900."
Lisa Downing is assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania. She plans to continue research for a book, tentatively titled "Empiricism and Newtonianism: Locke, Berkeley and the Decline of Strict Mechanism," in which she will explore the mid-18th-century triumph of Newtonian dynamics.
Menachem Fisch is a senior lecturer at the Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science at Tel Aviv University. He will work on a book entitled "Antithetical Knowledge: Doubles and Splits and Paradigm Shifts in Early Victorian Metascience."
Alejandro Garciadiego is professor of mathematics at Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico. He plans to explore ways in which American mathematicians such as Dirk Struik, George David Birkhoff, Garret Birkhoff, Solomon Lefschetz and Norbert Wiener influenced the development of a professional mathematics community in Mexico.
Jeremy J. Gray is senior lecturer in mathematics at the Open University in England. He will explore modernism in mathematics through a study of philosophical and practical issues in geometry and related areas.
Daryl Hafter, professor of history at Eastern Michigan University, will extend her study of guild women in 18th-century France into the first years of the French Revolution for a work entitled "Women's Skilled Work in France from 1776-1791: An Era of Reform and Revolution."
Thomas Hawkins, professor of mathematics at Boston University, plans to continue research for a book with the working title, "The Emergence of the Theory of Lie Groups 1867-1927: A Study in the Growth of Mathematical Knowledge."
Klaus Hentschel is Wissenschaftlicher Assistant at the Institute for History of Science at the University of Gottingen. He will continue exploring the techniques used to depict spectra in a work entitled "Mapping the Spectrum: Techniques of Representation in their 19th and early 20th Century Research Context."
Paul Josephson is the author of Physics and Politics in Revolutionary Russia (University of California Press, 1991) and two books in press. As a Dibner Institute Fellow, he will continue work on his next book, "Atomic-Powered Communism: The Cult of the Atom in the Postwar Soviet Union," to be published by W.H. Freeman.
Elaheh Kheirandish has been a postdoctoral fellow in the history of science at Harvard University. She plans to re-examine the Greek textual tradition of Euclidean optics, Arabic responses to the Greek corpus, and the textual transmission of Arabic 'versions' of Euclidean visual theory.
Patrick Malone, professor of urban studies and American civilization at Brown University, will carry out an interdisciplinary study of technology, topography and urban development, emphasizing the role of waterfalls in the urban history of the United States and Canada.
Herbert Mehrtens, professor of modern history at the Technische Universitat Braunschweig, Germany, plans to investigate how the modernization of mathematics connects to symbolic techniques that were deployed across a broad "mathematical culture," which includes the natural and social sciences.
Dorinda Outram is a visiting scholar at the Max-Planck Institut fur Wissenschaftesgeschichte in Germany. She plans a project entitled "Epistemology, Instrumentation and Exploration in Enlightenment Science."
Leonard Rosenband is professor of history at Utah State University. His project at the Dibner Institute is entitled "Profiting from Change: Technological Transfer in 18th-Century France."
Terry Shinn is directeur de recherche at the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique in Paris. He will continue work on "The Rise of the American Research-Technology Community, 1920-1950."
George Stocking Jr. is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Conceptual Foundations of Science at the University of Chicago. He plans to explore the history of anthropology between World War II and the late 1960s in a project titled "Anthropology Yesterday."
Ezio Vaccari is collaborator/research assistant in modern and contemporary history at the University of Genoa, Italy. At the Dibner Institute, he will work on the classification of mountains and the idea of geohistory in the 18th century.
Ido Yavetz, a lecturer at the Cohn Institute for the History of Science and Ideas, will examine the history of research on lightning in the 19th and 20th centuries.
The Dibner Institute is also pleased to announce the appointments of two Visiting Fellows:
Anthony Grafton, professor of history at Princeton University, plans to work on two projects while at the Dibner Institute: a detailed case study on medical astrology in the 16th century in collaboration with Nancy Siraisi, and a continuation of his analysis of Isaac Newton's work in historical chronology.
Nancy Siraisi is Distinguished Professor of History at Hunter College and the Graduate School and the City University of New York. She will work with Anthony Grafton on a project entitled "The Relation Between Astrology and Medicine in the Writings of Girolamo Cardano" and continue research for a work tentatively titled "Studies on Vesalius and the Classical Tradition."
The Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology was established in 1990 as an international center for advanced research in the history of science and technology. The Institute, which includes the Burndy Library as its own scholarly resource, organizes colloquia, workshops, seminars and lecture series on diverse topics in support of its goals to foster and disseminate outstanding scholarship in the history of science and technology and to initiate new directions in these fields.
The Institute offers resident, visiting and postdoctoral fellowships to distinguished scholars from around the world and supports the dissertation research of graduate students enrolled at the consortium-member institutions: MIT (the host institution), Boston University, Brandeis University and Harvard University.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 1, 1996.