PACHSmörgåsbord: History

Monday, September 24, 2012

Astrology and Morbus Gallicus (aka Syphilis)

Albrecht Dürer’s syphilitic man illustrated a poem on syphilis by the Nürnberg physician Theodore Ulsenius who, like other physicians of the time, used astrology to explain the diseases advent, spread, and symptoms.

Posted by Darin Hayton on 09/24 at 05:43 AM
(1) Comments

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Ciba Pharmaceuticals and Mid-Century Marketing

A Ciba Pharmaceuticals pamphlet offers a glimpse into the world of mid-20th-century pharmaceutical marketing techniques. Surely there are more of these at the Chemical Heritage Foundation.

Posted by Darin Hayton on 09/13 at 01:40 PM

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Central Question

I’m interested in how people reinvent the past to justify present-day assumptions or to push an agenda. At the recent 3-Society Meeting in Philadelphia Mike Keas spoke about how certain self-serving myths had made their way into astronomy textbooks from the 19th century. Specifically, how Copernicus’ replacement of the earth-centered cosmos by a sun-centered one demoted us humans from our lofty position at the very center of the cosmos. Well, it sounds convincing—who wouldn’t want to be the center of attention?

Posted by Michal Meyer on 08/11 at 12:19 PM
(2) Comments

Friday, August 03, 2012

Off with their (Whig) Heads

The Renaissance Mathematicus blog has a wonderful rant about one of my pet peeves, Whig history. The post is about how we separate those who have done science in the past into two categories: those whom we now deem as having done “correct” science (e.g. Darwin) and those deluded souls who merely believed they were doing science (e.g. Lamarck). Perhaps this is true among scientists, but I’ve found something quite different in my admittedly few collaborations with people creating popular history of science for use in science courses.

Posted by Michal Meyer on 08/03 at 07:39 PM

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Scurvy Epidemic: Direct-to-Consumer Drug Marketing in 17th-Century England

In the 1670s and 1680 scurvy became a “popular disease” in England. Scurvy grass was thought to cure scurvy and a whole host of other diseases and distempers. Scurvy grass was marketed directly to the public, sold in bookshops and brandy stores. The techniques used to market scurvy grass can seem oddly similar to more recent efforts to sell patent medicines and pharmaceuticals.

Posted by Darin Hayton on 04/25 at 12:44 PM

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Columbus’s Voyage was a Religious Journey

This post looks briefly at both Columbus’s motivations for sailing westward and his opinions about the size of the earth. In both we see not a forward thinking secularist but a conservative thinker motivated by religion and apocalyptic fears. Obama got it wrong

Posted by Darin Hayton on 03/27 at 02:33 PM

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

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

An Introduction to the Astrolabe

This post make available an ePamphlet version of my “Introductory History of Astrolabes.” The pamphlet is currently available as a PDF or an iBooks format.

Posted by Darin Hayton on 02/07 at 12:16 AM
(4) Comments

Monday, February 06, 2012

Plague Textual Analysis

I wanted to see what happens when you feed a few plague tracts into Wordle and to think about whether or not it would be useful in my course on plagues and epidemics. While I’m not sure if it is useful, the results are interesting.

Posted by Darin Hayton on 02/06 at 01:40 PM

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Marketing Drugs, Then and Now

An article in the NY Times reports on Mary Ebeling’s recent research on direct marketing in the pharmaceutical industry. It recalls for me the techniques used a century ago to sell patent medicines.

Posted by Darin Hayton on 01/29 at 12:06 PM

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  • The views and opinions expressed on this blog are strictly those of their respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine.

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