Last year, I was asked to chair a panel on music and emotions at the Society for the Social History of Medicine’s annual conference. I knew next to nothing about the topic, but enjoyed hearing the talks. Since then, I’ve … Continue reading →
By Elizabeth Reis The Southern Poverty Law Center and Advocates for Informed Choice have filed a lawsuit against the South Carolina Department of Social Services (SCDSS), Greenville Hospital System, the Medical University of South Carolina, and several medical personnel for allowing physicians to remove the atypical genitals of a 16-month-old toddler because that child, in the state’s custody at the time, was born with an intersex condition. M.C. had been identified male at birth, but his genit… »
Title page of “Murdered Millions.”
Murdered Millions (1897), by George Dowknott, M.D., is a brief treatise relating to Christian medical missions. In less than one hundred pages, Dowknott seeks to establish a complex theory of ‘murder’ based largely on Biblical interpretation, apply it to the work being done, or being neglected, in mission fields around the world, and suggest remedies.
Dowknott was associated with the International Missionary Society and the Medical Missionary Society at the end »
A set of amputation instruments, including a saw, shown laid across an illustrated plate from an early surgical textbook written by Giovanni Alessandro Brambilla (1728-1800). (c) Science Museum
Trinity Term 2013 History of Medicine Seminar Series Medical Conceptions of Self-control and Social Control
Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine, Seminar Room, 47 Banbury Road, Oxford, OX2 6PE
The seminars are on Mondays at 2.15pm Coffee will be available from 2.00pm
Week 5 – 20 May Sebastian Prangh… »
The British Society for the History of Science is pleased to announce its first History of Science Travel Guide Competition.
The BSHS Travel Guide is a growing resource for information on scientific sites around the globe, written for historians and tourists alike. We invite new submissions as part of the History of Science Travel Guide Competition.
The competition is open to all, and the winner of the best new entry will receive a prize of £100. 10 runners up will receive prizes, and have their »
The British Society for the History of Science (BSHS) is delighted to award the 2013 Dingle Prize to David Wright for Downs: The History of a Disability. Published by Oxford University Press this excellent book is a genuine attempt to engage a wide audience of non-specialists in a way that reflects some of the major virtues of current historiography of medicine and science. The judges commented that Wright has produced “a terrific book” and “a little gem”, which “has valuable contributions to m… »
Breastfeeding Mothers and Milk in Shakespeare Dr Victoria Sparey Many of Shakespeare’s characters are described in terms that relate to milk and infant feeding. In Titus Andronicus, Lavinia considers whether pleas for mercy will save her from being raped by the Queen’s sons, who ‘even at thy teat…hadst thy tyranny’ (2.3.145); Act 2, Scene 3 [...]
A brief snapshot of aspects of the Irish health system which had emerged by 1970 reveals some fascinating facts. By the mid-1960s Ireland had over 20,000 acute-care hospital beds; that represented 7.2 beds per 1,000 of population, a figure exceeded only by Sweden and Luxembourg, and substantially higher than England and Wales, at 4.3 per 1000, Northern Ireland 5.5, or the United States 4.9.2 Minister for Health Erskine Childers reminded the inaugural meeting of the National Health Council in Fe… »
We associate amphetamine use more with competitive sports than mountaineering, but in 1953 members of a Mount Everest expedition experimented with Benzedrine … by giving it to the Sherpa as they navigated the deadly Khumbu icefall
John Hunt, the leader of the 1953 British Mount Everest expedition, was an exceptional strategist and logician. When the Swiss attempts to climb Everest in 1952 failed, he used their experience to design a new plan for the British team. One key change was the route to… »
(Prefatory note: In October 2011, I gave a talk at the annual meeting of the History of Science Society. Some material from this talk was included in The Visioneers. Other parts had to be cut. But a recent newspaper article motivated me to go back for another look…)
A new popular science magazine recently appeared. Nautilus is “about science and its endless connections to our lives.” Appearing quarterly – subscriptions are $49 – each issue is devoted to a “single story told by the world’s lead… »
A review of Buddhist Medicine in Medieval China: Disease, Healing, and the Body in Cross-cultural Translation (Second to Eighth Centuries C.E.), by C. Pierce Salguero.
Pierce Salguero’s dissertation marks a significant departure from the norms of Chinese medical history, which has focused almost entirely on a received tradition that traces its origins back to the Huangdi neijing 黃帝內經. By introducing a discrete body of medical writings from the Buddhist Canon (Taishō Shinshū Daizōkyō 大正新脩大藏經) and »
By Casey Mitchell
From a cultural perspective, odd foods are a common occurrence in the world today. Individuals from America might be horrified to eat something as foreign as monkey brains–a delicacy in Africa and India–or haggis, the Scots’ age-old recipe for beef-in-a-sheep’s bladder/stomach/what you will. Jane Baber’s Book of Receipts, compiled in 1625, contains several recipes that are, well, interesting, to say the least. Most of them have medicinal qualities of some sort, and, while nutr… »
JF Ptak Science Books Post 2023
The progress of man/humankind has, in our dim antiquarian past, been represented in art in stages of ascending a mountain. The fine arts and sciences have been shown, in their various intellectual pedigrees, at various points on the mountain of the mind, usually with Philosophia sitting supremely at the top (with Astronomia and Mathematica generally not far underneath). This is mind, I came across another sort of progression to the Olympian heights, though it h… »
There hardly goes a week without a newsreport on breatsmilk and/or breastfeeding. This week we are told that giving some formula during the first few days of a baby’s life will boost chances of breastfeeding for the recommended six-month period. Then there are the reports that breastmilk reduces risks of infections, allergies, and that breasfed babies have an higher IQ than formula-fed babies. Unfortunately the way this research is reported in the mainstream press often leads mums to feel utter… »
By Sandra Trudgen Dawson I’ve been a little hesitant to write a blog about some of my experiences in a psychiatric hospital in 1980s Britain for a number of reasons. I am aware that those who suffer mental illnesses are some of the most vulnerable members of society. This was definitely true in the mid-1980s in Britain. I write this with the utmost respect for the patients I came into contact with and the nursing staff charged with their care.
Indian Warrior with Scalp, 1789, by Barlow.
When one thinks of injuries received in battle during the Revolutionary War wounds from gunshots, bayonets and swords come to mind. A far less common wound was that of a scalping victim. In most cases the scalping victim was already dead or soon would be dead when the scalping took place. There were however instances where a person was scalped and either was not otherwise wounded or the wound was not mortal. The problem then becomes how to medical… »
Back in November 2012, Angela Buckley, a researcher and writer from Manchester, tweeted to tell us about an exciting book project she’s working on.
The book is entitled, The Real Sherlock Holmes: the Hidden Story of Jerome Caminada, and Angela wrote a fascinating article in November 2012 about her work-in-progress which, as well as telling a cracking story, also highlights how she’s using the BNA for much of her research.
As Jerome Caminada was a detective who operated in Manchester’s underwor… »
This is a final call for applications for two PhD studentships in the history of science, technology and medicine at Kings College London. Students will be attached to the history department and begin their studies in the 2013-14 academic year. The deadline for applications is 31 May. 1) AHRC award. This covers standard tuition fees and a maintenance grant of £15,726 per year for three years. EU candidates are normally eligible for a fees-only award, unless they have been ordinarily resident in »
Professor Ian Hacking – ‘Making Up Autism’, Inaugural C. L. Oakley Lecture in Medicine and the Arts, University of Leeds, 13 May 2013.
Event introduced by Stuart Murray, Professor of Contemporary Literatures and Film. Professor Hacking introduced by Gregory Radick, Professor of History and Philosophy of Science.
Organised by the Centre for Medical Humanities and the Centre for the History and Philosophy of Science, in association with the British Society for the History of Science.
Listen to the »
Ed Yong (@edyong209) is a well-known and highly respected science writer. At regular intervals he posts lists of links on his website, Not Exactly Rocket Science, of science stories that he has found interesting, a sort of one-man blog carnival. On his links list for 20 April he included a link to Adam Gopnik’s BBC Point of View piece, which I recently criticised, with the following description.
Galileo was a great scientist because he wasn’t afraid to admit when he was wrong. If only more of us »
By Helen King In my last post for Wonders & Marvels, I introduced you to my favourite historical character, the ‘Popish midwife’ Elizabeth Cellier. When I was researching her for the first time some years back, I came across another
Simon Schaffer (HPS) & Sujit Sivasundaram (History) introduce the conference ‘Exploring Traditions: Sources for a Global History of Science’ in this new video trailer: http://youtu.be/R1ROex5ujsg. The conference takes place 31 May 2013 at CRASSH, University of Cambridge. Register online by 24 May: http://www.crassh.cam.ac.uk/events/2458/. Convened by Sujit Sivasundaram (History) and Simon Schaffer (HPS) the workshop continues an important set of debates and reflexions on the interaction between »
CALL FOR PAPERS, 2nd International CONFERENCE on the HISTORY AND PHILOSOPHY OF COMPUTING (HaPoC 2013) Extended Submission Deadline: 15th May 2013 ! 28th – 31st October 2013 Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris. with a special session on “Computing and the Arts” at Ecole Nationale Superieure des Arts Decoratifs http://hapoc2013.sciencesconf.org The 2nd International Conference on the History and Philosophy of Computing (HaPoC 2013) will take place from the 28th to the 31st of October 2013 at the … »
By James F. Stark, University of Leeds
Let’s start with spas.
I remember vividly the first time I visited a spa. As I prepared to start an afternoon of relaxation a friendly member of the reception staff promised me that I would leave ‘completely rejuvenated’. I decided that this was not the moment to be sceptical and nodded enthusiastically.
The truth is that I immediately began to think about what ‘rejuvenation’ means and, perhaps more importantly, what it has meant. Unpacking the detailed, m… »
Handbook of Science and Technology Studies
Call for Chapter Proposals – Due Aug. 15, 2013
The editors of the next edition of the Handbook of Science and Technology Studies invite proposals for chapters to be included in the new Handbook. This edition of the Handbook is expected to appear in 2016, some nine years after the last edition. Much has happened during that interval: the advancement of STS theories and methods, the development of new ideas and the evolution of long-important themes, the… »
Time flies! It seems to me that we have only just finished perusing the excellent Giant’s Shoulders #58 at Asylum Science and now there are only three days left to submit those history of science, history of technology and history of medicine post for this month’s history of science blog carnival Giant’s Shoulders #59.
Giant’s Shoulders #59 is being hosted at Something by Virtue of Nothing and submission can be made either direct to the host or to me here at the Renaissance Mathematicus.
The history of the aquatic ape may tell us more about the fraught relationship between feminism and science than it does about the evolution of humanity. A guest post by Erika Lorraine Milam
I first learned of Elaine Morgan and the aquatic ape theory from a botanist. He had seen a television special on the theory and briefly followed up with a search of the scientific literature, but found very little. He asked me (as I was trained in zoology before becoming a historian of science) whether or n… »
By Jacob Darwin Hamblin, Oregon State University
They said it was like condensing a thousand years of evolutionary history into one intense moment. Quickening nature’s pulse.
If you want to feed the world, Norman Borlaug said when he won the Nobel Peace Prize, you have to use science to help food supplies match the rate of population. He knew all about the supposed miracles of science, although he refused to call them miracles. He’d seen his own hybrid strains of wheat double and triple yields… »
Online first from Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences:
“My appointment received the sanction of the Admiralty”: Why Charles Darwin really was the naturalist on HMS Beagle
John van Wyhe
Abstract For decades historians of science and science writers in general have maintained that Charles Darwin was not the ‘naturalist’ or ‘official naturalist’ during the 1831–1836 surveying voyage of HMS Beagle but instead C… »
*We’ve raised nearly $30k for MEDICINE’S DARK SECRETS! As a thank you for your support, here’s a short piece on one of your favourite subjects: bodysnatching. There’s 6 days left to the campaign so if you’d like to donate, click here!
Great Yarmouth, England. 1827.
Thomas Vaughan, a former stonemason, rents a house near St Nicholas Church. He and several other men begin ‘resurrecting’ bodies from the local cemetery on the orders of the famous London surgeon, Sir Astley Cooper—who also happe… »
NIAB on Huntingdon Road, Cambridge
Well, it’s not every day that the Institute you’ve been studying for three years reaches the news. There are a number of things I could write about, but I thought seeing as the BBC article highlights one particular problem, I would write about that. It is a problem about time, one which I want to turn into a problem about bias.
“It will take at least five years of tests and regulatory approval before it is harvested by farmers.
Some farmers, however, are urging »
Le 4 juin, je co-organise pour Leonardo/Olats en collaboration avec le Medical Museion de Copenhague cette table-ronde. The Data Body on the Dissection Table Arts, Humanities, Medicine and Complex Networks Evening Event – June 4th 2013 – 6:30 – 9 … Continuer la lecture →
We asked Myrna Perez, whose work focuses on the public role of evolutionary biology during the last quarter of the twentieth century, to reflect on that topic in a post. She’s currently writing a dissertation about Stephen Jay Gould; you can find out more about her work here.
What is so compelling about returning to our evolutionary origins? Why do we think that getting back to an earlier period in human history will make us healthier, happier and more fulfilled? In Wednesday’s post, Lukas e… »
Students, here’s today’s assignment: Write a paper that weaves together a slab of trilobite fossils, a Polaroid camera, a Bedouin coffee urn, and an 18th-century pocket watch the size of a duck egg.
Actually, Sara J. Schechner has already done that. She and a few friends have assembled a multivenue exhibit called “Time & Time Again.” Through the lens of such craftily juxtaposed artifacts, the exhibit jars viewers into thinking about how time is measured and how conceptions of it change across c… »
This afternoon, thanks to the initiative of Jim Grozier, I am giving a talk at the weekly High Energy Physics seminar at UCL. The subject will be my work on experimentation in early particle physics. While my “Strategies of Detection” paper mainly concerns the problem of how to build “mesoscopic” histories of experimental practices, my talk will repurpose my argument to discuss how we can articulate and evaluate experimental ingenuity and skill. This jibes with other thoughts I’ve had about … »
I grimaced, examining the neat box of pale blue cardboard in front of me. Manuscript number 4171? This wasn’t the one I’d ordered, and I was conscious of my rapidly passing research week. With only a couple hours left until the library closed, I wouldn’t be able to order the correct manuscript before the next day. I shrugged, deciding that it was a sign—take a quick look, leave early.
The manuscript seemed unusual, even as I opened the small box to unwrap the book’s protective layer of thick, c… »
Gathering shells. A1879.135
Who uses music resources? Conversations among music librarians reveal that increasing numbers of libraries are getting rid of their music stock citing, among other things, under-use. As early as 2003 a IAML report Access to music highlighted some of the problems of supplying music resources. This is just a personal observation, but over the last 10 years I’ve noticed a growing number of non-musically-literate readers using music resources. Why is this? Researchers in… »
I’ve been rereading Richard Pells depressing* tome, The Liberal Mind in a Conservative Age. This comes after finishing up George Nash’s big book on the conservative intellectual movement early last month. As such I’ve been immersed in the minds of [...]
By: Michelle DiMeo
As an active academic scholar who recently started working for a cultural institution, I’ve become increasingly interested in how the sources I use for professional historical research can be recast for a wider public audience. Recipe books tend to be an easy genre for public history and outreach: off hand, I can think of more public books than scholarly books about historical recipes. That said, not all of these are done well, and I particularly appreciate public histories t… »
Alexander M. Carr-Saunders (14th January 1886-6th October 1966) was president of the London School of Economics from 1937 to 1956. When his The Population Problem: A Study in Human Evolution appeared in 1922, it cemented his reputation. According to his obituary in Population Studies this book has since been viewed as a seminal contribution to “social biology” due to its formulation of the “optimum number.” Carr-Saunders defined the optimum number as the greatest number of individuals who co… »
Welcome to the iCHSTM 2013 blog!
In the weeks leading up to the Congress we’ll be posting short articles written by a wide array of authors due to feature at iCHSTM. Each post will introduce you to the content and ideas that the guest author is to speak on in their paper at the Congress.
We encourage readers, especially those who aren’t attending the Congress, to leave comments and questions for the authors. We encourage our authors to reply to any questions raised both on the blog and, if rele… »