This essay supplements the previous exposition on the Ebola fever outbreak in Liberia, specifically the mass-quarantine imposed on West Point, a Monrovian township on August 20, 2014 and its similarity to previous public health measures in US history
I feel very privileged to be able to write this post. Here I am, sitting behind my desk on a quiet Saturday afternoon in Pasadena, California. The soaring heat of the past weeks has turned into a mellow breeze, and though the week to come promises interesting temperatures once more, it is all right. I do not particularly enjoy the heat, nor does my skin, but the rewards far outweigh the discomforts.
I have been working in the Huntington Library in San Marino since Wednesday afternoon, and what a »
The Finding the Funny Bone project has been all about exploring medical heritage with humour and a fascinating undertaking has been to work with Bethlem Archives and Museum. One of the most famous mental health institutions in the world with a history stretching back over 700 years, Bedlam – as it was formerly known -…
The History of the Periodic Table in the Twentieth Century exhibit, curated by Charlotte Abney Salomon GRD ’19, is composed of fewer than twenty objects, and yet it succinctly illustrates the long, nonlinear path our current periodic table has taken in the past 150 years.
The first experiments in blood transfusion took place in the seventeenth century, using blood drawn from animals. After the death of a French patient and the trial of his physician for manslaughter, transfusion was abandoned for a century and a half. When it resumed in the nineteenth century, the first trials used human blood. They were conducted by the obstetrician James Blundell, who developed transfusion to treat women suffering from hemorrhage after childbirth. During the course of the cent…
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Here are a few highlights from the latest items added to our collection; you can add a RSS feed that will give you updates on our new items here.
First, a couple of items with rather immediate topical application:
James J. Waring’s The epidemic at Savannah, 1876 : its causes, the measures of prevention adopted by the municipality during the administration of J. F. Wheaton, mayor (1879)
J.L. Logan’s The epidemic of 1878 in Mississippi : report of the yellow fever relief work (1879)
And some ment… »
HSS 2014 Annual Meeting Chicago, Illinois 6-9 November 2014 Click here to view the 2014 Annual Meeting page on the HSS website. Use these links to prepare for the meeting: Roommate Finder: Need a roommate for the annual meeting? Use our forum to find one. CV Review sign up: Get your CV reviewed by a professional in the…
This is the second part of a two-part essay, which I originally presented at conferences in the spring of 2014. The first part is available here. The full version of the essay, which I’m happy to share with anyone interested, included a section on the place of innovation speak in the academic sub-discipline of business history.
Innovation as the Self-Image of an Age
In the last section, I examined some general drivers of the rise of innovation speak. In this section, I would like to narrow my a… »
Last year I wrote a post on here about the story behind the emblem of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). To quote from it:
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has, without much competition, the coolest logo of any part of the UN. Heck, I’ll go so far as to say that they have the coolest logo of any atomic-energy organization in history. I mean, check this thing out:
It’s not only an atom, it’s an atom with style. It’s got a classic late-1950s/early-1960s asymmetrical, ja… »
By Lesley Parilla, Field Book Project I recently cataloged items from Smithsonian Archives RU 7186, United States Exploring Expedition Collection, 1838-1885, and came across a series of wonderful hand-drawn and hand-colored images. Collections I cataloged before this were visually documented with photographs or quick sketches in the midst of field…
JF Ptak Science Books Post 2311
Between the Eighth Avenue Line and Julius Einstein in the New York Times Index for April-September 1919, there is nothing. No Albert. No Albert Einstein. At least in the newspapers followed by the Index.
Abraham Pais mentions in his wonderful intellectual biography of Einstein Subtle is the Lord that there was no mention of Einstein in this index until after the famous 1919 measurements confirming his theory–this to huge popular acclaim. (This was a months-… »
JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post
"A Light and Simple Motor" is the title for this short article in Scientific American (February 11, 1893). It is the work of Theodore A. Stark of Ottawa, Illinois, for the use on flying machines–it is a odd contraption that is suspended from an "aeroplane" (in this case the word is used to describe only the wing of the flying machine and not the flying machine itself), functioning like a push/pull device by arms and legs, powering the two large propellers that »
Deep within the rainforest canopy of the Aru Islands, just west of New Guinea, two male Greater Birds-of-Paradise dance among the branches in carefully coordinated steps, their magnificent yellow, white, and maroon plumage undulating gracefully to the rhythm of their own unique song.
Carl Linnaeus named this species Paradisaea apoda, meaning "legless bird-of-paradise." The misnomer was based on early trade-skins prepared and shipped to Europe without feet, feeding a notion that these "visit… »
The American White Pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchus) are in the midst of their southerly migration from their breeding grounds in the Dakotas and Minnesota. I saw some myself at Long Meadow Lake near the Mall of America two weekends ago, in which 15-20 were participating in this slightly discomforting but elegant synchronized fishing/swimming activity:
Seeing them, I decided to take some time to see what I could find in the old ornithilogical literature. I was also hoping to find some notes… »
The History and Philsophy of Science Program at the University of Notre Dame will celebrate the 25th anniversary of its PhD program with a conference on September 26-27, 2014. Current faculty and students will be joined by alumni/ae over two days for talks on the history of the program, its former directors, and current work being done by ND HPS PhDs.
The conference will take place in 210-214 McKenna Hall, with celebratory dinners each night. On Friday the 26th, the HPS program will pay special »
Hillary Nunn, The University of Akron A composition class might seem an unlikely forum for discussing early modern recipes, and I have to admit I was wary to pencil them in. The class’s focus on the rhetoric of disease, however, … Continue reading →
Cara Kiernan Fallon, this post’s guest author, is a history of science PhD candidate at Harvard University.
“The seven ages of man.” From The Golden Health Library. Click to enlarge.
Childhood can be full of “vigor and zest” but “Middle age is the time when our sins against the laws of health find us out,” warned physicians writing for The Golden Health Library’s inaugural volume. Published in the late 1930s, The Golden Health Library offered readers five volumes of advice on the “principles … »
Last June I was in Vienna for the fifth conference on Integrated History and Philosophy of Science (&HPS5). It was an immensely enjoyable event. Towards the end of the conference, during the very last talk that I saw before I had to leave for the airport, I rediscovered my love for HPS. Here’s how it happened.
The beginning was inauspicious. The speaker had made slides with LaTeX, so they were heavy on text.1 What is more, she recited those slides word for word, which is usually considered bad … »
Here’s one certain sign that something is very wrong with our collective mind: Everybody uses a word, but no one is clear on what the word actually means.
One of those words is "science."
Everybody uses it. Science says this, science says that. You must vote for me because science. You must buy this because science. You must hate the folks over there because science.
Look, science is really important. And yet, who among us can easily provide a clear definition of the word "science" that matches… »
The antibody treatment given to two American missionaries infected with the Ebola virus may seem like a modern day miracle cure, but researchers created similar, if cruder, antibody therapies as far back as the 1880s to treat diphtheria and pneumonia.
We’ve long held mothers responsible for nearly everything about childrearing, including vaccinations. And women had special reason to be critical of vaccines at the precise moment that the vaccine schedule for children began to expand decades ago
Gordon Watkins Douglas researched cervical cancer, breach delivery, and treatment of high blood pressure during pregnancy in the US during the twentieth century. He worked primarily at Bellevue Hospital Center in New York, New York. While at Bellevue, he worked with William E. Studdiford to develop treatments for women who contracted infections as a result of illegal abortions performed throughout the US in unsterile environments.
Evening public ledger. (Philadelphia [Pa.]) 1914-1942, November 10, 1914, Night Extra, Page 2, Image 4, brought to you by Penn State University Libraries; University Park, PA, and the National Digital Newspaper Program.
DISCLAIMER: Some graphic (but historic) content.
On July 1st 1773, John Hunter’s paper on the anatomy of the Torpedo was read aloud to the Royal Society. Hunter had carefully dissected a series of specimens, carefully noting the position of organs, veins, nerves and cellular membranes. Hunter’s paper was accompanied by a beautiful set of illustrations, comparable to those of The Anatomy of the Human Gravid Uterus Exhibited in Figures, published by his brother William Hunter in 1774 (it is likely »
Scientific discoveries and achievements from centuries past are often portrayed as a set of fully-fledged concepts and perfect results. The exacting trial-and-error processes and frequent setbacks we know from modern-day science are rarely mentioned. Why could this be – was science ‘easier’ in the past?
Dr Keith Turner and Professor Marvin Whiteley of the University of Texas at Austin were intrigued by this phenomenon and looked at 19th century microbiology as a case study. To get a better insi… »
Thousands of scientific papers are published every year, reporting on interesting results, but the standard format – introduction, materials and methods, results, conclusions, references – leaves little space for the social context of the work. For over 20 years, the Wellcome Trust has been supporting Wellcome Witness seminars, which bring together key figures in research to discuss the stories behind the discoveries. Professor Tilli Tansey discusses the Witness Seminars, and on the occasion of… »
Many people, myself included, have an aversion to the sensation of things crawling over our skin, whether it be insects, arachnids, or other creepy crawlies. In the early modern period it would seem that people were much more accustomed to having their bodies invaded by visitors, but, like us, found these unwanted guests most disturbing.…