The Sixth Annual Cliopatria Awards for History Blogging announced the winners last night in conjunction with the American History Association meeting in Boston. Congratulations to all the winners, but I want to give a special congrats to Thony Christie, from Renaissance Mathematicus for winning Best Individual Blog!
Well done, Thony, for making the HoS community proud! Here’s the judges’ rationale:
If blogs are notoriously fragmentary and centrifugal endeavors, then it’s a particular accomplishment that Renaissance Mathematicus gives such a coherent picture of scientific and theological endeavor in the 16th and 17th-century. Calling himself a “myths-of-science buster,” Thony Christie convincingly shows the interconnections, idiosyncrasies, and rivalries (the “Royal Rumble”) of Renaissance scientists as well as their vaunted individual genius. And yet, if Christie writes authoritatively — sometimes obsessively so — the author’s sense of humour ensures that the reader is never intimidated. It is, in fact, a light-hearted blog, and that’s why it works: the history of science can be taken too seriously, and can be detached from life as it’s lived. Renaissance Mathematicus never lunges too deeply into esoterics, and often connects back to the present-day.
As I’m finishing off a round of grading, re-writing a paper for publication, and planning the HAPSAT conference, I’m trying to find time to dig around for archival sources for my upcoming research trip to London. The National Archives can sometimes be difficult to maneuver, which is why I really appreciate efforts to catalog and organize historical correspondence for online access.
Having said that, I’ll like to thank a good friend for directing my attention to the launch of Sir Hans Sloane’s Correspondence Online. The pilot website provides access to the letters of Sir Hans Sloane (1660-1753), famous physician, scientist and collector. Sloane’s letters cover a wide range of topics, such as science, travel, collecting and medicine, and provides another glimpse into the British historical past.
As it is now, the website is a repository for navigating through the Sloane correspondence, which is held at the British Library. Letter descriptions, transcripts, and commentaries are expected to follow on the website as they are added to the database.
So dear Reader, here’s another rich and valuable historical source for you! Happy reading!
I’m pleased to announce that the University of Toronto Scientific Instruments Collection Website is now active! The first post is an essay, “A Short History of the University of Toronto Scientific Instruments Collection, written by Erich Weidenhammer (IHPST, University of Toronto) & Michael Da Silva (University of Toronto Faculty of Law). The post is a reprint of the original article, published in the “Opinions” section of Spontaneous Generations vol 4, no.1 (2010) 255-261.
UTSIC has lots planned for contextualizing the various instruments in the collection and breathing life into their stories (of the historical past). Posts on the homepage will provide a narrative overlay about the UTSIC collection, the instruments, as well as the institutional history of science and technology at the University of Toronto.
So pleased to announce that the DIY Citizenship conference–which is one of the conference I’m working for–has just posted the preliminary schedule.
The line-up looks fantastic and I’m looking forward to hearing many of the presentations. There is a conference registration fee, but you can attend the free event on Thursday November 11, “Supporting the DIY Citizen: social and legal challenges of participatory politics and culture,” by Henry Jenkins (USC Annenberg) and Corynne McSherry (Electronic Frontier Foundation, San Francisco).
Historians and philosophers of science got two new treats in the blogosphere this week, with the launching of two different collaborative blogs:
Whewell’s Ghost is a blog dedicated to the History and Philosophy of Science and was launched by Rebekah Higgit, John M. Lynch and John Wilkins. The blog is also available to any scholar, teacher, or researcher interested in HPS or related disciplines to cross-post relevant information from other blogs.
The Bubble Chamber is founded by the University of Toronto’s Science Policy Working Group, and is managed by IHPST graduate students seeking to connect their work more directly to the public sphere:
The idea is that we, as historians and philosophers of science, can create new applications for our specialized knowledge by bringing it to bear on social, political, and policy issues of general interest in ways that engage with a variety of people, from the general public to business people to working scientists. We hope to find such applications because we believe our society as a whole could do with a better, more nuanced understanding of the nature of science, and its place in our modern world.
Always great to have new additions to the daily blog feed!