Call For Papers

Continuity and Discontinuity in the Physical Sciences Since the Enlightenment:
A Conference for Graduate Students and Early-Career Scholars

The Center for History of Physics is pleased to host an international conference for graduate students and early career scholars, to be held July 28 – July 31, 2011 in Washington, DC, on the theme: Continuity and Discontinuity in the Physical Sciences Since the Enlightenment. The goal of this conference is to foster communication and collaboration amongst junior scholars in the history of the physical sciences. It provides an opportunity for graduate students and scholars to discuss their work and exchange views on current issues in the history and historiography of the field. The conference will also provide an opportunity for junior scholars to interact with invited senior scholars.


The central theme of continuity and discontinuity is organized around three sub-themes relevant to contemporary historiographical concerns:
• Theory and Practice — including conceptual tools and frameworks, experimental methods, laboratory practices, instrumentation, and their relations;
• Disciplines and Communities — including issues of disciplinary identity, and how the development and interactions of scientific communities affected scientific discourse; and,
• Transfer and Transformation of Knowledge — including issues of how knowledge of natural phenomena is disseminated and transformed within and across cultures.

We welcome submissions, including works-in-progress, from all areas of the physical sciences — including, but not limited to, physics, astronomy, chemistry, geology, and space sciences — related to these themes.


Presentations should be 20–25 minutes in length. Paper proposals should include the following:
• Your name
• E-mail address
• Institutional affiliation
• Presentation title
• Presentation abstract (250 words max.)
• A short biography, indicating where you are in your studies and/or career (250 words max.)

Preference will be given to abstracts that demonstrate how the proposed presentation addresses the conference theme and one or more of the conference sub-themes.

Submission and Deadline

Paper proposals should be sent as an attachment in a single document (.pdf, .docx, or .doc) to afisher (at) The submission deadline is January 15, 2011 at 5:00 p.m. U.S. Eastern Standard Time.

Successful applicants will be notified by early March that their abstracts have been accepted.

Conference Organizers:
Amy Fisher, Center for History of Physics, American Institute of Physics
Fábio Freitas, Universidade Federal da Bahia
Anna Holterhoff, Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte
Christian Joas, Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte
Joseph D. Martin, University of Minnesota
Ann E. Robinson, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Pierre Teissier, Centre François Viète, Université de Nantes
Xiaodong Yin, Capital Normal University

Conference planning is also supported by The Center for History of Physics (American Institute of Physics), DPG FV History of Physics, and the Commission for the History of Modern Physics (IUHPS/DHS).