Cities have always been a magnet to migrants. In 2010, a tipping point was reached for the first time when, according to the World Health Organization, the majority of the world’s population lived in cities. By 2050, seven out of 10 people will have been born in – or migrated to – a city. One hundred years ago, that figure was two out of 10.
Bernard Lightman’s “Ideology, Evolution and Late-Victorian Agnostic Popularizers” in Moore’s History, Humanity and Evolution (1989) deserves special mention. He argues that agnosticism was presented as a religious creed that had evolved out of Christianity by agnostic propagandists such as Charles Albert Watts (1858-1946), William Stewart Ross (1844-1906), Richard Bithell (1821-1902), Frederick James Gould (1855-1938), Samuel Laing (1811-97), and others.
In the 1880s and 1890s, Victorian agnos… »
In Henry Fielding’s 1749 picaresque History Of Tom Jones, A Foundling, the eponymous hero, laid up in bed having been brained by a bottle in a fight, is attended by the barber Little Benjamin – ‘one of the pleasantest barbers that was ever recorded in history’. First, Benjamin provides Tom with a shave; then, he turns his attention to Tom’s head-wound.
‘I find you have more trades than one,’ Tom exclaims.
‘A surgeon,’ the barber gravely corrects him, ‘is a profession, not a trade.’
Confused, Tom »
One of the joys of being both part of the Digital Humanities community and an early riser is brushing one’s teeth at 6.30 am, checking one’s email, and seeing the days Humanist Discussion Group messages dribble into one’s inbox. Humanist was established by Willard McCarty in 1987 and each morning…
Histories of science and technology provide many examples of accidental discovery. Researchers go looking for one thing and find another. Or, more often, they look for one thing, find something else but don’t realize it until someone points it out in a completely different context. The serendipitous “Eureka!” is the most exciting of all.
Take the microwave oven. Its inventor, Percy Spencer, was not trying to discover a quick, flameless way to cook food. He was working on a magnetron, a vacuum t… »
Jason Rosenhouse is a mathematician and science blogger who has been very actively engaged in the American dispute between scientists and creationists for a number of years. Unlike many of his fellow warriors for science Jason has displayed a remarkable openness and tolerance for the thoughts and beliefs of the creationists. He attended creationist’s lectures and meetings over a number of years listening to what they have to say, engaging in non-provocative discussions with other attendees and … »
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The part of »
The Society of Mutual Autopsy was an organisation formed in the late 1800s to advance neuroscience by examining dead members’ brains and to promote atheism by breaking sacred taboos.
It included some of the great French intellectuals and radicals of the time and became remarkably fashionable – publishing the results in journals and showing plaster-casts of deceased members brains in world fairs.
In October 1876, twenty Parisian men joined together as the Society of Mutual Autopsy and pledged to… »
By Laurence Totelin In the seventh century BCE, Semonides of Amorgos wrote his now infamous poem on the races of women, each one worse than the next. The mare-woman is perhaps my favourite, the ultimate high-maintenance lady: Another type a … Continue reading →
In her first book Sara Read explores the understanding of female bleeding in early modern England. Menstruation and the Female Body in Early Modern England brings together discussions of the key moments of bleeding in a woman’s life; menarche, menstruation, hymenal bleeding and bleeding in childbirth. Read uses both medical literature and personal writings to uncover…
Update: Just after I posted this, I was sent a lengthy feature piece on ITER from the 3 March 2014 issue of the New Yorker. It’s worth a read and it gets at the same issues – politics, money, and technological ambitions – noted here…
In 2010, I had the good fortune to spend several months in southern France. It wasn’t all rosé wine and boules though. I also researched and wrote an article (which you can read here) about the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, now known simple as … »
By B. Harun Küçük The author, Hayatizade Mustafa Feyzi the Younger (d.1738), was the Chief Physician to the Ottoman Sultan Ahmed III (r.1703). Mustafa Feyzi came from a distinguished family of physicians. His grandfather and namesake, Moshe ben Raphael Abravanel … Continue reading →
I will be speaking at Arnos Vale Cemetery in Bristol on 27 February 2014 as part of their ‘Matters of Life and Death’ programme sponsored by the Wellcome Trust. Tickets are £5 via the Cemetery’s website, and you can find the full list of talks here. Do not untimely die! … Continue reading
This workweek is tearing me apart.
Physicians’ Anatomical Aid, (1880ish) in our special collections at the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology.
Random book facts!
The portfolio locks with a little silver key.
The prints are chromolithographs.
There is no descriptive text on the illustrations, but the Aid appears to have been offered as a set with the Practitioner’s Hand-Book, which made references to the Physician’s Anatomical Aid throughout.
Alas, we do not have that Practi… »
The History and Philosophy of Science Graduate Program at the University of Notre Dame seeks to appoint a Postdoctoral Fellow beginning August 2014 for one year, renewable for a second year. Applicants must have completed all requirements for the doctoral … Continue reading →
The Digital Scholarship Department works to enable innovative research based on the British Library digital collections. The blog is updated by the Library’s Digital Curators with contributions from colleagues across the Library and special guests. Follow us to learn about our upcoming events, Open Data initiatives, projects, collaborations and experiments.
The Routledge Handbook of Sport, Gender and Sexuality brings together important new work from 68 leading international scholars that, collectively, demonstrates the intrinsic interconnectedness of sport, gender and sexuality. It introduces what is, in…
Once upon a time, motorcycles, trains, and even UFOs were driven by propellers. Personal flying machines roamed the streets of Paris, and people were afraid that marauding anarchist Zeppelins might destroy their cities. No, it’s not a steam punk novel. It was the turn of the twentieth century, and the golden age of tinkering.
Alberto Santos-Dumont is beloved in Brazil as the inventor of the airplane (his heart is even preserved in formaldehyde at Rio de Janeiro’s Air and Space Museum). But it w… »
This 20-page special issue of Viewpoint is themed around colour, with three feature articles exploring how colours have been identified, made, and used in the history of science. Charlotte Nicklas opens with a discussion of chemical fashions for the mid-19thC public (1-3); Simon Werrett sheds light on the origins of colour in early modern fireworks (4-5); and Allison Ksiazkiewicz (16-17) introduces the tricky problem of describing colour, including a colour quiz (15). The object of the issue is… »
By Carrie Griffin The anonymously-authored treatise entitled The Art of Limming (STC 24252), first printed in London in 1573 (‘In Flete strete … at the signe of the Hande & starre by Richard Tottill’) is comprised of just twelve leaves. … Continue reading →
The History of Science Society invites nominations for its prizes
To submit a nomination, or for further information, please visit the HSS Web site at http://hssonline.org or contact the Executive Office: email@example.com, 440 Geddes Hall, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556, (574.631.1194).
The nomination deadline is 1 April 2014. We request full citations for nominations.
The Pfizer Award, established in 1958 through the generosity of the Pfizer Company, honors an ou… »
Two young telegraphers at the Main Telegraph Station in Copenhagen, Miss Galschiøtt and Mr. Henriksen, aiding a secret military intelligence unit called Kystcentralen, circa 1915. Post & Tele Museum, Copenhagen.
On June 1, 1918, ten “ladies” with “excellent language skills” had their first day of work as telegram censors at the Danish state telegraph. They had all been tested in foreign languages – German, French and English – by a professor at the University of Copenhagen, and all of them were… »
PhD Candidate in History at the University of Saskatchewan working on Early Modern European social history. Mainly interested in Early Modern magic and magical practitioners. My dissertation will focus on the Mystagogue (men of dubious extraction who
In today’s culture we often forget that certain people’s lives are constrained by the little things, such as tying shoelaces for example. Furthermore the want of a ‘normal’ life is something they have to strive for, and more importantly this struggle has a largely untold history. That is why as someone with a disability, I found Sunday night’s episode of Call the Midwife both bold and ground-breaking. Its full cultural significance I am not quite sure we get yet. Consider this:
The famous man-midwife, William Smellie, was born in Lesmahagow near Lanark in 1697. Following education at the Grammar School in Lanark he was apprenticed to an apothecary, William Inglis. He continued his medical training by joining the Royal Navy as a Surgeon’s Mate and, on his return from sea, set up practice in Lanark. He had a great interest in obstetrics and noted down all of the interesting cases that he came across. Some of these were later included in his work Treatise on the Theo… »
The Institute of Historical Research (IHR) provides resources for historians, including a major research library, digital projects, seminars and lectures, conferences, books and journals,podcasts and Ma/PhD study and research training.
Today it seems hard to believe that anyone would take these medical devices seriously, but in decades past, a combination of scientific ignorance and hope for a magical cure-all allowed quack gadgets like these to multiply and prosper. Even today, a causual peek at late-night infomercials on TV show
Perhaps it’s not something I’d blurt out at a dinner party, but between you and me, the number of anti-masturbation devices I come across in my research is astonishing! The Victorians were obsessed with preventing acts of self-love. Take the example to the left. This terrifying contraption is called a ‘jugum penis.’ It was designed…
Readers may recognise John’s name, as he contributed to this blog last autumn; it’s a sad job to have to report his death, but a great opportunity to showcase the life and work of someone you should know about
Historian who founded the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at the University of Manchester
"Let’s start with eggs." This was how the historian John Pickstone, who has died after a short illness aged 69, began his influential book Ways of Knowing (2001). In it, he advanced an influential "big picture" history of modern science, technology and medicine (HSTM), arguing they must be studied together, rather than in isolation.
John illustrated his new approach by charting s… »