Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Posted by on 11/11 at 12:05 PM

Thanksgiving is not quite upon us yet. It seems only fair to spend the time before Thanksgiving making a wishlist – a list of things we will be thankful for once they are in place. In the history of science world, this wish list would be long and (like everywhere else) start with the request for more funding and more communication between the different areas, more support for excellent scholars, and, of course, 48 hours in a day.

My personal wishlist is a bit more eclectic:

• fellow housing for the Chemical Heritage Foundation: the fellowships would be even more attractive to an international pool of applicants if they did not need to worry about finding housing, furniture and short-term leases (and they would be very, very good fellows throughout the year);

• staff and funds for the College of Physicians: the library is magnificent and deserves not only an improved standard maintenance but also a lot of pampering;

• a direct shuttle to Princeton University, so that we can more easily skip back and forth to attend their history of science events (and their famous pub quizzes, which spread joy and good cheer);

• a round of fireworks for the American Philosophical Society, who has done a terrific job with the current Darwin exhibit;

• a new project combining the arts and the history of science in the form of concerts, shows and theater performances (oh, wait, that is already happening at the Adrienne Theatre right now with the Flashpoint Theatre Company’s production of Boom!);

Illustration: Jeff McComsey -, from the Flashpoint Theatre Company website

• a round of drinks (wassail? punch?) for all those who work behind the scenes to keep public science events like Science on Tap of the Wagner lecture series going;

• and for myself: an alchemy Barbie (she comes with two friends: Puffer and Pen); an alchemy set (Sulfur, Mercury, Salt & Bob’s your uncle); and a pair of mittens.

What’s on your (history of science) list this year? And what will you be thankful for in a couple of weeks’ time? Leave a comment. You never know – your wish might come true.

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