Objects can be a real pearl on the shores of history of science. Telescopes and steam engines still figure prominently in our field, and rightfully so. From the edited volume Making Instruments Count (1993) to Frans van Lunteren’s blog ‘Mediating Machines’ here at Shells & Pebbles, many scholars research the role of scientific instruments in the history of discoveries, experiments, applications, and education. But besides microscopes and machines I would argue that some artisan objects and ordinary materials deserve similar attention. Piss, poop and pots might appear unrelated to history of science at first sight, but on closer inspection they open up new perspectives in academic research.
Can or should historians be activists? Floor Haalboom and Hans Schouwenburg share their ideas on this dilemma in e-mails which they make available on Shells & Pebbles.
October 1, 2015
In this new series, historians of the sciences will share one book that made a lasting impact on them, with the goal to inspire others to pick up those books as well. These ‘rocks’ may have been written in the Middle Ages or in 2015, and our authors may abhor or admire its content– our question is simply this: why did it make such a lasting impression and why should all historians of the sciences have at least heard of it?
To kick off this series, we are very proud to have the current President of the History of Science Society share her ‘book that rocked’ with us: Angela Creager on Ulrich Beck’s Risk Society.