AIP History Center Newsletter
Volume XXVI, No. 2, Fall 1994

 

NEW DIBNER INSTITUTE OFFERS VARIETY OF HISTORY SCIENCE PROGRAMS


The Dibner Institute was incorporated in Massachusetts in 1990 as an international center for advanced research in the history of science and technology. It includes the noted Burndy Library, established in 1936 by Bern Dibner, an electrical industry pioneer who had a keen interest in the history of physics. The Institute's Director, Professor Jed Buchwald of MIT, its Executive Director Dr. Evelyn Simha, and its Fellows have formed a central node in a lively intellectual network which includes faculty members and students of Dibner Institute consortium-member institutions MIT (the host institution), Boston University, Brandeis University, and Harvard University.

The Institute, located in the Dibner Building at MIT, on the banks of the Charles River, provides its Fellows with office space, meeting rooms and other support facilities, fostering an atmosphere of collegiality in an excellent setting for serious research projects. Applications to the Dibner Institute Resident and Visiting Fellows Program are invited for the Fall or Spring terms, the full academic year, or, in the case of the Visiting Fellows Program, for a shorter stay of at least two consecutive months. Funds are available to Fellows for housing accommodations, living expenses and return travel costs. Resident Fellows have full privileges at the Burndy Library and at the libraries and museums of consortium-member institutions and have access to the entire spectrum of activities that take place at the Dibner Institute, MIT, and other universities in the Cambridge and Greater Boston area. The deadline for receipt of applications to the Fellows Program for 1995-1996 is January 1, 1995.

All historians of science and technology are welcome to visit the Dibner Institute, just as scholars working in all areas and approaches to the history of science and technology are invited to apply to the Fellows Program. Each Fellow presents an informal talk at the Institute's year-long program of Lunch-time Colloquia. During 1993-1994, scholars in the history of mathematics and physics included Ron Anderson, Boston College (19th century electrodynamics); Tian Yu Cao, Cambridge University, (quantum mechanics); Allan Franklin, University of Colorado (experiment); Gennady Gorelik, Russian Academy of Sciences (Russian physics); Susann Hensel, Friedrich Schiller University Jena (engineering mathematics); Jesper L tzen, University of Copenhagen (Hertz's mechanics); Bill Newman, Harvard University (the crossroads of chemistry and alchemy); and Abha Sur, Mt. Holyoke College (C.V. Raman's place in the study of physics in India and the role of women in his laboratories).

In 1994-1995, fellows working broadly in the areas of mathematics and physics will include Mario Biagioli, University of California, Los Angeles (Galileo, Scheiner, and sunspots); Michel Blay, Centre Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique (hydrodynamics from Torricelli to d'Alembert); Umberto Bottazzini, University of Palermo (theories of space from Riemann to Weyl); H. Floris Cohen, University of Twente (how modern science came into the world); Mordechai Feingold, Virginia Polytechnic Institute (the Royal Society, 1660-1740); Rivka Feldhay, Tel Aviv University (the Jesuit educational program: from science to the humanities); Daniel Goroff, Harvard University (Poincar and dynamics); Helge Kragh, Roskilde University (cosmology and mathematics); Domenico Meli, Cambridge University (Giovanni Alfonso Borelli); Joan Richards, Brown University (mathematics in England, 1800-1859); Edith Sylla, North Carolina State University (Leibniz looking back: alternative perspectives on the scientific revolution); and Andrew Warwick , Imperial College, London (mathematical physics and cultural changes in Western Europe).

In addition to the lunch-time lecture series, each year the Dibner Institute generally holds two conferences and one symposium, usually with much to offer historians of mathematics and physics. The first conference of 1994, organized by Jed Buchwald, MIT/Dibner Institute and Evelyn Fox Keller, MIT, focused on "Entropy as a Working Tool in Physics and Biology" and the second, organized by Noel Swerdlow, University of Chicago, was entitled,"Astronomy and Celestial Divination." In the fall of 1994 a symposium will be held on "Leibniz and the Sciences," organized by Daniel Garber, University of Chicago and Roger Ariew, Virginia Polytechnic Institute. For spring 1995 the conferences are entitled, "Natural Philosophy and the Disciplines," organized by Nancy Siraisi, Hunter College, CCNY, and Anthony Grafton, Princeton University, and "Linear Perspective in the Renaissance," organized by Jehane Kuhn, Cambridge, MA. Visitors to the Cambridge/Boston area are welcome to attend the conferences and symposia.

Please send requests for further information about the Dibner Institute and the Burndy Library, or for application forms to the Fellows Program, to:

Trudy Kontoff, Program Coordinator
Dibner Institute
Dibner Building, MIT E56-100
38 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139
Telephone: 617-253-6989
FAX: 617-253-9858
E-mail: kontoff@mit.edu.


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