Archive for highlights – Page 2

Center for New Narratives in Philosophy’s Christia Mercer Awarded Radcliffe Fellowship

Center for New Narratives in Philosophy Director Christia Mercer (who also serves as the Gustave M. Berne Professor of Philosophy and on the Center for Science and Society’s Advisory Board) has been awarded a fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.

As the 2018–2019 Mildred Londa Weisman Fellow, Professor Mercer will pursue an individual project in a community dedicated to exploration and inquiry at Harvard’s Institute for Advanced Study, titled “Feeling the Way to Truth: Women, Reason, and the Development of Modern Philosophy.”

For more information, please visit CNNP’s website.

Presidential Scholar Matteo Farinella Featured in Columbia Magazine

Presidental Scholar in Society and Neuroscience Matteo Farinella was featured in the Spring 2018 issue of Columbia Magazine. Read “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Neuron?” to find out what drew Matteo to comics and neuroscience and learn more about his life as a Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience.

Call for Applications: Weaving Knowledge Workshop on Lanna Weaving and Dyeing, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Pamela H. Smith (Seth Low Professor of History and founding Director of the Center for Science and Society at Columbia University) and Nussara Tiengkate (textile historian, weaver, and designer, Jai-Sook Studio, Chiang Mai, Thailand) are now accepting applications for the Weaving Knowledge Workshop to be held in Chiang Mai, Thailand from January 4-18, 2019. Participants will arrive January 3 and depart January 19.

This two-week workshop aims to engage both the theory and practice of craft knowledge by teaching participants the Lanna techniques of weaving alongside expert weavers, at the same time engaging with the scholarly challenge of making embodied craft knowledge explicit. As the students are trained in crafts by practitioners in a weaving workshop near Chiang Mai, they will discuss concepts such as tacit expertise and technological literacy, pedagogy in sensory and material knowledge, innovation and sustainability in traditional technological cultures, with the practitioners, as well as invited scholars and activists in history, anthropology, and sociology from around the world. Set in the rural environment around Chiang Mai, this workshop will bring together two conveners: one historian of science and technology, and one weaving/craft expert to guide the group of doctoral candidates in reflexive practice – both of weaving and writing.

Students will learn Lanna techniques of weaving in a workshop near Chiang Mai while living in a basic setting near the workshop. Activities include pre-loom preparation, daily weaving practice, dyeing, possible field trips to Wat Pah Daed, Yang Luang, Karen and Lua communities to observe their weaving practice, to village co-operatives, local markets, and private textile museums, as well as academic sessions.

By requiring that students engage in learning weaving and dyeing, not as observers but as participants, and by reinstating craftspeople as experts and teachers, not just of the craft, but also in mobilizing knowledge about it, the workshop seeks both to invert the social and political hierarchy of knowledge that positions scholarly knowledge over craft, and to explore what craft knowledge can bring to academia, and to the larger societal challenge of sustainable development. It will require sometimes strenuous physical labor as well as reflexive scholarly engagement by students. Students will assume the role of apprentices as well as problem solvers and storytellers who, for example, use metaphors to capture how things look, sound or smell. Focusing on these two different modes of thinking about and making knowledge – the practice of weaving and scholarly work – the workshop will afford new possibilities to understand the nature of embodied knowledge. For a glimpse of what the 2017 cohort of students derived from their experience, see the Weaving Knowledge Workshop website. Students accepted to the 2019 Workshop will reflect on their processes and engagements by also contributing to this website.

Applications are welcomed from PhD students whose research deals with the themes of the Workshop. No previous experience of weaving is required. Applications must be submitted by June 15th, 2018. No tuition is required, and accommodation, local transportation in Thailand, and most meals will be provided during the Workshop. Partial travel grants are available for selected participants. To apply for a partial travel grant, please use this supplemental form by June 15, 2018.

For questions related to the Workshop, please contact Dr. Sophie Pitman or review the Call for Applications

The Workshop is sponsored by Columbia University’s Center for Science and SocietyDorothy Borg Research Program, the Weatherhead East Asian Institute and Chiang Mai University’s Regional Center for Social Science and Sustainable Development.

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Call for Applications: Smithsonian Douglas M. Lapp Endowment Internship in Education

The Douglas M. Lapp Endowment Internship in Education is funded through an endowed fund in honor of Douglas M. Lapp, the first Executive Director of the National Science Resources Center (NSRC), now named the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC).

Awardees of the Lapp Endowment Internship are appointed based on a demonstrated interest in the field of science education.

Internships are available for graduate students only who are interested in pursuing a career in the communications, marketing, or public relations fields.

This program was established in honor of Douglas M. Lapp, founding Executive Director of the National Science Resources Center (NSRC) from 1985 to 2002, now called the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC).   The SSEC’s mission is to transform the teaching and learning of science for K-12 students throughout the nation and the world.

Intern will conduct original research within science education and audience engagement and write original content at the intersection of policy and science education for our target audiences.

Eligibility: U.S. Citizens and U.S. permanent residents, Graduate students are preferred.  To be considered for this opportunity one must currently be enrolled as a graduate student with plans to pursue a graduate degree in the communications, marketing, or public relations fields of study.

Deadline has been extended until May 15, 2018.

Please visit the Smithsonian Science Education Center website for more information and to apply.

Call for Applications: 2018 Precision Medicine Research Fellowship, Columbia University

The Precision Medicine fellowship aims to create the next generation of leaders in the development and application of Precision Medicine science and methods to improve public health. This new research fellowship in precision medicine will train physicians/researchers as Postdoctoral Research Scientists to use genomics and complex clinical data to improve clinical care and clinical outcomes by tailoring prevention, screening, and medical interventions based upon individual patient characteristics. The two-year program will include required didactic lectures in precision medicine as well as coursework in systems biology, genomics, statistics, ethics, and/or medical informatics according to the applicant’s background and future career goals.

The award amount is $200,000 ($100,000 per year). To be eligible, applicants must have a PhD, MD, DDS, or comparable doctoral degree from an accredited domestic or foreign institution. Eligible doctoral degrees include, but are not limited to, the following: DMD, DC, DO, DVM, OD, DPM, ScD, EngD, DrPH, DNSc, DPT, PharmD, ND (Doctor of Naturopathy), DSW, PsyD, as well as a doctoral degree in nursing research. Two years of full-time participation are required. Applicants with prior research experience and background in genomics or informatics are especially encouraged to apply. The Fellowship is open to eligible applicants regardless of citizenship status.

The deadline is May 18th, 2018. For more information and to apply, please visit the application website.

Student Research Assistant/Intern: Drawing and Neuroscience Project, Teachers College

Teachers College instructor seeks a student research assistant/intern to support several workshops for an NSF-funded research project: Harnessing the Power of Drawing for the Enhancement of Learning across Levels of Vision Function, which investigates drawing and its effects on cognitive, visuospatial, and motor skills.

Though humans have been drawing for at least 30,000 years, and across the world people draw and understand drawings without prompting or even any formal learning, little is understood about the activity cognitively– and its deep roots are not tapped in learning.  Recent scientific findings about drawing suggest that it can facilitate learning. It also appears that the capacities learned through drawing cross many more cognitive domains than previously assumed, including those involved in emotion, memory and attention.  Drawing could be a very potent, underutilized learning tool. A collaboration from the fields of neuroscience, art, education, neuro-rehabilitation, psychology, and embodied cognition has been funded by the National Science Foundation to seek information about the brain mechanisms involved in drawing, drawing’s impact on learning, and also to better understand the learning that occurs in drawing across sensory modalities—without the limiting assumption that the cognition is visual.

The TC workshops build on recent findings from a drawing-based training created by Dr. Lora Likova (Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute) used with the congenitally blind, that showed rapid enhancement of various spatial capacities, and a transfer of these to everyday skills, driving brain plasticity.

The study seeks a student research assistant/intern to support this research starting as soon as possible through August 2018. This is an unpaid position. Research experience in psychology, neuroscience, education, or a related field is a plus but not required.

Responsibilities include:

  • Researching available visual memory tests
  • Compiling a literature review for relevant studies
  • Outreach to and pre-screening of participants
  • Managing scheduling with participants
  • Tracking completion of pre-screening and consent forms
  • Copying and compiling test packages and stimulus drawings
  • Assisting with set-up, clean-up, and procuring materials and snacks for workshops
  • Photographing drawing process and the drawings themselves
  • Scoring test results and examining/scoring STEM diagram tests and spatial drawings
  • Checking PowerPoints and computer set-ups for workshop
  • Finding and training raters for drawing evaluation
  • Organizing participant file folders
  • Keep notes during workshop on students’ comments, questions, and drawing strategies

The commitment would begin as soon as possible and involve roughly 4 hours per week through August 2018, with 10-15 hours/week during 2 workshops. The first workshop is:

Monday, April 9: 7:00-9:30 PM
Wednesday, April 11: 7:00-9:30 PM
Friday, April 13: 7:00-9:30 PM
Saturday, April 14, 11:00-3:00 PM
Sunday, April 15, 11:00-3:00 PM
Monday, April 16: 7:00-8:00 PM
Wednesday, April 18: 7:00-8:00 PM

The position requires an individual with strong research, computer, and organizational skills as well as the ability to take direction and work unsupervised. Accuracy, confidentiality, and attention to detail are absolutely required of the incumbent.

If interested, please email Tara Geer at

Conference Reports and Videos Now Available for “The Success of Failure”

The Center for Science and Society, along with its co-sponsors – Heyman Center for the Humanities, the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policyand Teachers College – are proud to present the event reports and session recordings from “The Success of Failure: Perspectives from the Arts, Sciences, Humanities, Education, and Law” conference, held December 7-8, 2017.

“The Success of Failure” explored the broad typology of failure across disciplines by offering perspectives from law, psychology, tech startups, education, experimental theater, and jazz music – just to name a few. Each field discussed its own struggles and solutions as participants and audience members grappled with the central question: How do we reconcile the contradictions of success and failure?

Visit the Success of Failure Past Event Information Page to view a session-by-session report, an executive summary, and event program. Video recordings of select sessions can also be found on the Center for Science and Society’s YouTube channel.

Call for Submissions: Richard Sussman Prize at the Goethe Society

The Goethe Society of North America invites the submission of essays on Goethe’s contribution to the history of science and on Goethe in the history of science. The Richard Sussman Prize is awarded annually for the best essay published in 2017 in an academic journal on Goethe’s contributions to the history of science and on Goethe in the history of science. The prize carries a $500 award.

Besides his literary accomplishments, which inaugurated a new era in modern German culture, scientific studies also played a significant role in the life of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832).  Goethe’s research coincided with the emergence of modern scientific disciplines and their institutional establishment within the university system, thereby supplanting earlier scientific practices and methods. As rector of the scientific institutes at the University of Jena, Goethe stood in close contact and corresponded with scientists in Germany and beyond. The completion of the Leopoldina edition of his scientific writings allows the opportunity for a new assessment of Goethe within the context of science as it was emerging during his lifetime and within the history of science in general.  This award seeks to foster scholarship in this area.

The following articles are eligible: articles written by a North American scholar (defined by institutional affiliation at the time of publication); articles written by a current member of the GSNA; or articles published in the Goethe Yearbook. Articles by current GSNA board members are not eligible. GSNA members are encouraged to submit their own articles for consideration.

The deadline is May 1, 2018. For more details and application materials, please visit the Goethe Society website.

Making and Knowing Project Co-Organizes Symposium in Toulouse, France

The Making and Knowing Project (a Center for Science and Society Research Cluster directed by Seth Low Professor of History Pamela Smith) has co-organized and will participate in the symposium “Du Manuscrit au Livre. L’écriture des Savoir-Faire à la Renaissance” (From the Manuscript to the Book: The Writing of How-To in the Renaissance) to be held March 15 – 17, 2018 in Toulouse, France.

The symposium will open the Toulouse Renaissance exhibit, an examination of the city’s cultural landscape during the Renaissance period. The exhibit will be on display in Toulouse at the Musée des Augustins from March 17 – September 24, 2018 and at the Bibliothèque d’Étude et du Patrimoine from March 17 – June 16, 2018.

The exhibition includes objects created by the Project as part of their research on the sixteenth-century French technical manuscript, BnF Ms. Fr. 640, compiled in Toulouse. The manuscript itself will also be on display.

Center for New Narratives in Philosophy Volunteering Opportunities

The Center for New Narratives in Philosophy (CNNP) at the Center for Science and Society is excited to announce new volunteer opportunities and resources.

On February 25, 2018, CNNP hosted “The Pedagogy of Dignity: Teaching in Prisons” workshop supported by the Marc Sanders Foundation. After a day of panels and collaborative discussions with formerly incarcerated students and friends, activists, professors, graduate and undergraduate students, many participants were interested in volunteering further. This workshop also celebrated the launch of CNNP’s Rethinking Justice Initiative (website forthcoming).

Cluster Leader Christia Mercer suggests the following programs for those interested in criminal justice reform:

— Individuals 21 or older (or will be soon) are eligible to teach in the Rethinking Justice Initiative’s Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center Mini-Course program. Fill out the Teaching in Prison Interest Form for more information.

— For those who are unable to participate in the above teaching program, Easing Reentry (ER) is a Columbia University, student-led initiative that connects skilled volunteers with people returning home from jail and prison. Complete the Easy Reentry Interest Form for more information.

Project Pro Bono has a variety of volunteering opportunities located across the country.

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