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Mark Waddell – “Trust Me!” The Problem of Insincerity in Early Modern Medicine

April 6, 2017, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Chemical Heritage Foundation
315 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Mark Waddell, Michigan State University

Trust and credibility are the cornerstones of the modern, collaborative model of science we depend upon today. To understand the foundations of that model, historians have looked back to the Scientific Revolution of the early modern period, when many of the methods and practices of modern science and medicine first emerged. We generally take past thinkers at their word—that is, we trust they actually believed the things they wrote and said—but if we dig deeply enough, we start to find cases of insincerity and even outright fraud.

In this talk Mark Waddell will examine the strange medical remedy known as the weapon salve, or the powder of sympathy, and use its contentious history to explore how insincerity, credibility, and trust were interwoven at the dawn of modern science and medicine.

Mark Waddell is an associate professor of history at Michigan State University. His first book, Jesuit Science and the End of Nature’s Secrets, was published by Ashgate (now Routledge) in 2015. His next project, which he researched at CHF in 2016, uses the early modern medical remedy known as the weapon salve, or powder of sympathy, to explore notions of plausibility, mendacity, and credibility in 17th-century science and medicine.

For more details, please visit the event’s website.

This event is sponsored by the Chemical Heritage Foundation.


Science History Institute
315 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106 United States
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