Tuesday, February 28, 2012

James Burke’s “Connections” on YouTube

The BBC program Connections (1978, with sequels in 1994 and 1997) by science historian James Burke is currently available for free on YouTube.

Posted by Simon Joseph on 02/28 at 02:47 PM

Monday, February 27, 2012

Scientists Practicing Bad History

A recent article on weather reports in medieval Baghdad has attracted attention recently. Based on this article, articles and summaries claim that Baghdad used to be much colder than it is today. Such summaries are simply bad history of science.

Posted by Darin Hayton on 02/27 at 11:13 PM

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Rejecting “Alternative”

Lynn Nyhart’s recent column in the HSS Newsletter calling for a rethinking of the history of science profession echoes comments and suggestions made by historians. We need to take her seriously if we are going to extend the profession beyond the walls of the academy.

Posted by Darin Hayton on 02/26 at 11:27 PM

Saturday, February 25, 2012

History and the Problem of Historical Expertise

In this post I continue to wonder about how to practice the history of science. In particular, I reflect on what might constituted historical expertise, which distinguishes historians from non-historians.

Posted by Darin Hayton on 02/25 at 11:45 PM

Friday, February 24, 2012

On Pepper Mills

Another collection of everyday objects that have become so much more. Here a collection of pepper mills become the furniture in a family’s memory palace.

Posted by Darin Hayton on 02/24 at 05:15 PM

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Manifesto for History of Science

In this post I reflect on some key intellectual questions in the history of science and articulate why I care about the history of science. Finally, I try to make the case that historians of science should take a more active role in shaping the public discourse that invokes past science.

Posted by Darin Hayton on 02/22 at 11:42 PM

Thursday, February 16, 2012

On Salt Shakers and Chinese Takeout Menus

What is the difference between the Luddens’ collection of salt and pepper shakers and Spiller’s collection of Chinese takeout menus? Very little really. They both reflect the collector’s efforts to exercise authority over a particular domain.

Posted by Darin Hayton on 02/16 at 01:51 AM

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Artifacts and Artists: E. Kessler on Astronomical Photos

Elizabeth Kessler spoke recently at Bryn Mawr College on how different artists have used astronomical photographs.  It raised some interesting questions about how artifacts are created and then how they are used when removed from their initial context.

Posted by Darin Hayton on 02/09 at 12:23 PM

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

An Astrolabe Rant

This is just a rant about the British Museum’s “Mini Eastern Astrolabe.” I am upset by a couple significant inaccuracies in this little trinket. I think the BM has a responsibility to “try” to get the history of science correct.

Posted by Darin Hayton on 02/07 at 01:34 PM
(2) Comments

Textual Analysis of Prognostications

Yesterday’s fun with Wordle prompted me to see what would happen if I created a few word clouds from 16th-century astrological prognostications. I then used the results to think again about the usefulness of such a tool/analysis.

Posted by Darin Hayton on 02/07 at 12:16 PM

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