Columbia University History of Science Society


The short description:
The Columbia University History of Science Society (CUHSS) serves as a guide for students interested in studying the history of science, technology, medicine, and their interactions with society. Facilitated by Columbia and Barnard students, CUHSS provides updated information on local and national events in the history of science as well as useful contact information of researchers within the field.

UPDATE: CUHSS is proud to announce growing efforts to collaborate with students of the NYU Gallatin school to organize future events.

The long description/statement of purpose:

Science students are provided with an abundance of tools to conduct research, but rarely are they given the resources to critically assess the implications of scientific practice. Why is funding distributed to certain types of research and not others? How is science used to defend political legislature? How did numerical data become one of the most powerful weapons in determining what we consider as true knowledge? To answer these questions, we must consider the historical, cultural, social, political, and economic contexts in which science is conducted. But science students are not the only ones who need to ask and seek answers to these questions. Students interested in history, anthropology, sociology, public health, political theory, gender studies philosophy, literature, and the like, must also collaborate with students of science to gain a broader understanding of the intimate connections between science and society.

Both Columbia and Barnard support specialized clubs in medicine, biology, engineering, literature, and the arts, but they have yet to support an interdisciplinary group that allows students with interests in both the humanities and the sciences to communicate with each other. The Columbia University History of Science Society (CUHSS) serves to connect these students with one another, and furthermore attract students who are interested in understanding the broader contexts of science and society. CUHSS is open to both graduate and undergraduate students to facilitate discussions with professors exploring multidisciplinary fields that range from the impact of politics on public health to the historical influence of the Industrial Revolution.

What we strive for is essentially the fundamental goals of a liberal arts education: to avoid the production of science majors that tend to know everything about science, and humanities majors that tend to know everything but science. Students are encouraged to form connections among each other and furthermore explore numerous resources that New York City has to offer for studying science and society such as The New York Academy of Sciences, The Heymann Center, The Natural History Museum, New York University, and many other institutions that invite distinguished scholars and scientists to share relevant research. All students are welcome to attend CUHSS and realize the value of critically assessing the role of science in society.


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