PACHSmörgåsbord

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I could not help but wonder…

Posted by Anke on 05/27 at 08:34 AM …what’s next?

Blogs have been around for a while, and every self-respecting, self-improving or just plain self-obsessed person has one. Much more exhibitionist than a diary, blogs gaze at the brain’s navel and satisfy our curious need to feel important – I raise my coffee cup to that right now: cheers!

I myself have become rather disillusioned with blogging (yes, yes, I know, the irony!). But seriously: how come everyone thinks they have a novel inside them? Or at least a non-fiction book (“Historians of Science – The Superior Species?” or “The History of the Pencil” – oh, wait, that one exists already). Or, failing that, a blog that will make them rich, independent, famous, and beautiful? Why anyone would want to read any of the above when there are so many good classic works around and unread is a mystery to me.

Anyhoo, the history of science has been around a little longer than blogging, and is a discipline rather than a medium. Yet history of science, too, finds itself continually facing questions about its fundament, form and future: why do we write history the way we do today? How come, just a few decades ago, writing the history of science as a tale of the victory of intellect over chaos was de rigueur? How do we know it’s not all going pear-shaped in the near future and we have to do it all over again?

I have my own theory about all that which (uncharacteristically for a blogger) I will not divulge unless prompted (oooh, subversive – but do drop me a comment if you like). Instead, I announce a conference on the historiography of chemistry, hosted by CHF next month, which brings together an impressive array of scholars to discuss the writing of the history of chemistry. Registration is free – check it out here.

I shall leave you now for another cup of coffee and a piece of delicious dark chocolate. Cheers.

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