Columbia University History of Science Society

Past Events: Newton and Arsenic Poisoning in Bangladesh
April 12, 2010, 3:45 am
Filed under: Events

Watch updates of our previous discussions:

“Newton: The Man Who Hated Everyone (but was a genius)”
with Gillian Drake, BC 2010

“Arsenic Poisoning in Bangladesh”
with Kim Wu, BC 2010

Forming the NYU-CU History of Science Society and Other Events
April 1, 2010, 5:10 am
Filed under: Events

CUHSS with be collaborating with NYU Gallatin School students for future events! This is most exciting given the flood of e-mails that the cuhss gmail account received after months of inactivity. Here is what is in store for the future:

1) Public Health Panel
Organized by the CU History of Science Society and the Pre-Health Students Organization, the public health panel is designed for students interested in the interactions between society, medicine, culture, and politics. Panel organizers have invited professors from the history and sociology department who specialize in using a multidisciplinary approach of understanding the broader context of public health at home and abroad. Invited panelist speakers include:

Dr. David Rosner, Lauterstein Professor of Sociomedical Science and History at Columbia and Co-Director of the Center for the History and Ethics of Public Health at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health.

Dr. Sam Roberts who specializes in the history of post-emancipation African-American social movements, class formations, and urban political economy. His most recent publication Infectious Fear: Politics, Disease, and the Health Effects of Segregation explores the political economy of health and tuberculosis control from the late nineteenth century and the mid-twentieth century.

Dr. Diane Vaughan of Columbia’s sociology department who studies the sociology of organizations, of culture, the deviance of social controls, field methods, research design, science knowledge, and technology. She is particularly interested in how the social (history, institutions, organizations) affect individual meanings, decisions, and action.

2) Movie Screenings

The Tacit Tumor recently completed by Lan Li introduces the historical, political, social, and theoretical facets of integrating Chinese and Western medicine to treat cancer tumors in China. It is a short documentary, running less than 30 minutes, and primarily serves to stimulate discussion to reexamine the history of health care and the role of science in society. Here is the official trailer for the film:

SECERCY, directed by Harvard professors Peter Galison and Rob Moss, is about secret files in the government that developed after efforts to protect information on the Manhattan Project during WWII. Since then, more documents have been added to these files and SECRECY explores the tensions between our safety as a nation and our ability to function as a democracy. Galison and Moss interview head directors of the CIA as well as many other high-profile individuals serving to withhold information from the American public. You can find more information on the film here:

Einstein’s Encounters with Mathematicians: the Swiss Years
March 23, 2010, 1:13 pm
Filed under: Events

Wednesday, March 24, 6:00 PM
New York University, The Gallatin School, Room 801, 1 Washington Place

David E. Rowe
University of Mainz, Germany

It is well known that higher mathematics came to play a central role in Einstein’s general theory of relativity, even if he usually emphasized the importance of purely physical ideas instead. This distinction between mathematical and physical methods and conceptions can be highly misleading, however, and often suggests a false dichotomy. By focusing on Einstein’s exposure to mathematical ideas as a student in Zurich as well as his numerous fruitful interactions with mathematicians thereafter
a seldom seen picture of the young Einstein comes into view. These encounters, I will argue, were of crucial importance during his struggle to incorporate gravitation into the then fledgling theory of relativity.

To RSVP for dinner with the speaker following the lecture, please contact Gregory Ferguson-Cradler [].

Our next meeting will be on Wednesday, April 28: Richard Burkhardt Jr. (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) “Evolutionary Thought before Darwin: Lamarck’s Philosophie zoologique, Frédéric Cuvier, and the Paris menagerie.” This meeting will be held at CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue at 34th Street, Room 9207, Ninth Floor.

Nuclear Fallout in Kazakhstan
February 25, 2010, 6:21 am
Filed under: Events

Between 1949 and 1989, the Soviet Union conducted more than 450 nuclear tests in northern Kazakhstan, at the Semipalatinsk Test Site. Many Kazakhs suffer deformities or have died from the radioactive fallout.

Click the following link to the Washington Post’s gallery on Kazakhstan’s uranium gamble.

February 16, 2010, 3:18 am
Filed under: Events

An Interdisciplinary Colloquium of the Consortium for Intellectual and Cultural History

Deutsches Haus, Columbia University
Organized by Stefan Andriopoulos and Andreas Killen Deutsches Haus

Located at
420 West 116th Street, between Amsterdam Avenue and Morningside Drive.

Schedule of Events

10 am to 12 pm:
Terrorism, Mind Control and the Cultural Legacyof the Cold War
Homo Pavlovius: Conditioning, Cinema, and the Cold War Subject
Respondent and Moderator: Andreas Huyssen (Columbia)

2 pm to 4 pm:
Alison Winter (Chicago):
Manchurian Candidates: Forensic Hypnosisin the Cold War
Stefan Andriopoulos (Columbia):
The Sleeper: Hypnotism, Mind Control, Terrorism

Darwin and the Boundaries of Science Conference
April 2, 2009, 9:47 pm
Filed under: Events

Darwin and the Boundaries of Science Conference

April 17 – 18, 2009
New York University
Gallatin School of Individualized Study
715 Broadway (Entrance at 1 Washington Place)
The Jerry H. Labowitz Theatre for the Performing Arts

Darwin and the Boundaries of Science commemorates the bicentennial of the birth of Charles Darwin. The two-day conference will examine how Darwin’s ideas have changed the boundaries of knowledge: between science and religion, between speculation and theory, between the past and the present, and between humans and the world around us. Interdisciplinary in scope, the event draws upon the expertise of scholars from a wide range of fields, including biology, astronomy and astrophysics, mechanical engineering, philosophy, sociology and history. Speakers will discuss not just the content of Darwin’s discoveries, but also the way these discoveries forever altered what counted as knowledge and what could be ultimately understood. We will draw on both scientific and historical expertise to form a robust perspective on how science does—or does not—relate to the wider culture of which it is a part. Scientists will have an opportunity to explain how and why they draw the boundaries of their disciplines, and humanities scholars will demonstrate the complex processes that formed and continue to reshape these boundaries.

Speakers include Ron Numbers, Ed Larson, Janet Browne, David Kohn, and George Levine. Detailed schedule and panel participants in attached flyer. Further information at .

For more information please contact Nicole DeRise at or 212.992.7766.

Colloquium at Columbia
March 25, 2009, 10:27 pm
Filed under: Events

“Entwined Unities: Literature and Science”: A Colloquium
with Joan Richardson (CUNY Graduate Center) &
Steven Meyer (Washington Univ. St. Louis)

Thursday April 2, 2009
Hamilton Hall, Room 703
Columbia University
5-7 pm

Joan Richardson and Steven Meyer are two leading figures in the
current multi-disciplinary effort to reconcile the poetic and
scientific imaginations. Come hear them discuss their recent work
and the state of research in the field of science studies and
contemporary neuroscience.

Joan Richardson is the author of the 2-volume biography of Wallace
Stevens and, most recently, of “A Natural History of Pragmatism:
The Fact of Feeling from Jonathan Edwards to Gertrude Stein.”

Steven Meyer is the author of “Irresistible Dictation: Gertrude
Stein and the Correlations of Writing and Science” and is finishing
a book manuscript entitled “Robust Empiricisms: Jamesian Modernism
Between the Disciplines: 1880 to the Present.”

This event is sponsored by the American Studies Program

Open Seminar 25 March 2009
March 20, 2009, 6:23 pm
Filed under: Talks

Introduction to Science Studies II:
Public, Popular, and Pop Science

Wednesday, March 25th
6:20 PM
King Juan Carlos Center, 53 Washington Square South
2nd Floor Library

On Wednesday, March 25th, Dr. Eric Siegel, Adjunct Assistant Professor in
Museum Studies and Executive VP of Programs and Planning at the New York
Hall of Science, will be participating in a meeting of the Draper Program’s
Intro to Science Studies II: Public, Popular, and Pop Science seminar to
talk about working in science museums, placing science in the museum
context, and the larger role of science museums in the modern world. Any
students interested in these topics are invited to join in. We will meet at
6:20pm in the 2nd floor library in the King Juan Carlos Center. If you plan
to attend and would like more information–such as copies of the week’s
readings–please contact Daniel Thurs (

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