Columbia University History of Science Society

Contact | Professors | Students

Contact information of friendly individuals involved in studying the history of science at Columbia and Barnard.


Deborah Coen

Deborah R. Coen, assistant professor of history, received her Ph.D. in the history of science from Harvard and was a junior fellow of the Harvard Society of Fellows. She teaches courses in modern European history and the history of science and technology. Her current research, on the history of climatology and seismology, centers on the Habsburg Empire’s status as a laboratory for studies of the relationship between nature and culture. Her other research interests include the emergence of scientific concepts of “error” and the intersections between science and private life. She is the author of Vienna in the Age of Uncertainty: Science, Liberalism, and Private Life (2007), which won the Susan Abrams Prize for best book in the history of science from the University of Chicago Press, the Barbara Jelavich Prize from the American Association for the advancement of Slavic Studies, and the Austrian Cultural Forum Book Prize. She is also a co-editor, with Jim Fleming and Vladimir Jankovic, of Intimate Universality: Local and Global Themes in the History of Weather and Climate (2006).

Course Offerings:

Senior Research Seminar

Europe from 1789 to the Present

History of Environmental Thinking

Bodies and Machines

Vienna and the Birth of the Modern

The Sex of Science: Gender and Knowledge in Modern History

Central Europe: Nations, Cultures, and Ideas

Graduate Course: New Approaches to Central European History

Joel Kaye

Professor Kaye’s scholarly interests center on medieval intellectual history, with special interests in the history of science and the history of economic and political thought. His research and scholarship have been supported by the Institute for Advanced Study, School of Historical Studies; the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers; the National Science Foundation; and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Professor Kaye’s book Economy and Nature in the Fourteenth Century: Money, Market Exchange, and the Emergence of Scientific Thought, earned the John Nicholas Brown Prize from the Medieval Academy of America as the best first book by an author in medieval studies. His article “The Impact of Money on the Development of Fourteenth-Century Scientific Thought,” won the 1990 Van Courtlandt Elliott Prize of the Medieval Academy of America for best published article by a first-time author in medieval studies.

Professor Kaye’s recent research centers on the history of balance in the later Middle Ages. He is working on a book that tracks the emergence of a new model of equilibrium within medieval scholastic thought, 1250-1375.

Classes Offered:

Interdepartmental Seminar:  Science Across Cultures

Introduction to the Later Middle Ages, 1050-1450

Introduction to Historical Theory and Method

Medieval Intellectual Life

Medieval Economic Life and Thought ca. 1000-1500

Medieval Science and Society

Matthew Jones

Current Projects

The Matter of Calculation: Calculating Machines, Thinking and the Early Modern State

Love, Inclination and Inertia: The Common Good in Early Modern Natural and Political Philosophy


Enlightenment and Science

Introduction to Contemporary Civilization in the West

Science Across Cultures (with George Saliba)

The European Renaissance, 1400-1600: an introduction

Past Courses

The Scientific Revolution in Western Europe, 1500-1750

The European Renaissance, 1400-1600: an introduction

Civilizing Processes, 1500-1750

Subjects and Objects of Renaissance Knowledge

Science Across Cultures (with Joel Kaye and George Saliba)

Introduction to Contemporary Civilization in the West


Introduction to Historical Interpretation and Methods

Topics in Early Modern European Cultural and Intellectual History: Institutions of Knowledge and Belief



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