The HPS Colloquium series is a formal event open to all faculty and graduate students interested in the history and philosophy of science and technology. The series usually takes place on Wednesdays from 4:00-5:30, in Victoria College Room 323, with refreshments following in the Graduate Common Room of the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (Victoria College, Room 303). Any questions may be addressed to Brian Baigrie.
The HPS Workshop is a seminar group devoted to offering informal, constructive feedback on work in progress in the history and philosophy of science and technology, such as MA term papers, PhD chapters, prospective conference talks, and articles ultimately intended for publication. The seminar is open to all faculty and graduate students, and takes place on Wednesdays from 12-1 in the Graduate Common Room of the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (Victoria College, Room 303). Pizza will be provided!
Each session will begin with a 20-45 minute talk, followed by discussion. No paper is too half-baked for the HPS Workshop, and fully-baked comments will be provided. Anyone desiring helpful feedback on their work should contact the organizer by email Greg Lusk to book a slot in the schedule below.
The HPS Reading Group is an informal discussion group open to all faculty and graduate students interested in the history and philosophy of science and technology. Meetings are held in the Common Room of the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (Victoria College, Room 303), on Wednesdays, 13:00–14:15 p.m., and are scheduled so as not to conflict with especially busy times at the beginning and end of term (see below). Please feel free to bring your lunch!
This term, we will read Alan J. Rocke, Image and Reality: Kekule, Kopp, and the Scientific Imagination (Chicago: 2010)
Please contact the organizer, Brian Baigrie with any questions.
The book is available from Amazon on a 3-day delivery and the Kindle version can be downloaded immediately.
Nineteenth-century chemists were faced with a particular problem: how to depict the atoms and molecules that are beyond the direct reach of our bodily senses. In visualizing this microworld, these scientists were the first to move beyond high-level philosophical speculations regarding the unseen. In Image and Reality, Alan Rocke focuses on the community of organic chemists in Germany to provide the basis for a fuller understanding of the nature of scientific creativity.
Arguing that visual mental images regularly assisted many of these scientists in thinking through old problems and new possibilities, Rocke uses a variety of sources, including private correspondence, diagrams and illustrations, scientific papers, and public statements, to investigate their ability to not only imagine the invisibly tiny atoms and molecules upon which they operated daily, but to build detailed and empirically based pictures of how all of the atoms in complicated molecules were interconnected. These portrayals of “chemical structures,” both as mental images and as paper tools, gradually became an accepted part of science during these years and are now regarded as one of the central defining features of chemistry. In telling this fascinating story in a manner accessible to the lay reader, Rocke also suggests that imagistic thinking is often at the heart of creative thinking in all fields.
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