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January 2016

Marga Vicedo – Niko Tinbergen’s Research on Childhood Autism: Interpreting Gestures from Gulls to Children – NY HoS Series

January 27, 2016, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
NYU Gallatin, 1 Washington Place, Room 801
New York,
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In 1973 Niko Tinbergen shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for his studies on animal behavior. In his acceptance speech, however, Tinbergen talked about childhood autism. Extrapolating from his studies of approach-withdrawal conflict in herring gulls, Tinbergen argued that autistic children are victims of environmental stress caused mainly by a mother’s failure to bond with her child and to protect her child from conflicting situations. In this talk I situate Tinbergen’s work on autism within the history of…

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February 2016

Barbara Naddeo – From Arcana Imperii to Statistics: G.M. Galanti, Political Information and Science in the Age of Enlightenment – NY HoS Series

February 24, 2016, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
NYU Gallatin, 1 Washington Place, Room 801
New York,
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Speaker: Barbara Naddeo, Associate Professor of History, CUNY: The City College of New York and The Graduate Center In the early modern period the most fundamental social statistics of the age’s monarchies, from demographics to public finances, were considered to be the property of the king, whose officers most jealously archived and selectively employed them in the service of royal power. With the age of Enlightenment these same statistics became the objects of inquiry of a new breed of professionals,…

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March 2016

Jamie Pietruska – Weather Prophets, Frauds, and Counterfeiters from the Gilded Age to the New Era – NY HoS Series

March 30, 2016, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
NYU Gallatin, 1 Washington Place, Room 801
New York,
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This talk will draw together histories of science, capitalism, and culture to examine epistemological debates over weather prediction during a period when the first national weather service in the United States found itself in constant competition with a multitude of private commercial forecasters in a contest for professional scientific authority.

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April 2016

Joseph Dauben – Science and Art in China. 利瑪竇 Li Matou (Matteo Ricci), 郎世寧 Lang Shining (Giuseppe Castiglione) and the Influence of Western Geometry and Mathematical Perspective on Early Qing Dynasty Mathematicians and Artists – NY HoS Series

April 27, 2016, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
The New York Academy of Sciences, 250 Greenwich Street
New York,
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Speaker: Joseph Dauben, Distinguished Professor in the Department of History,  Herbert H. Lehman College and Ph.D. Program in History, The Graduate Center, CUNY In 1607 the Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci (1552–1610), in collaboration with his colleague 徐光啟 Xu Guangqi (1562–1633), translated the first six books of Euclid’s Elements of Geometry into Chinese. Among those to take a serious interest in this work was the prominent mathematician 梅文鼎 Mei Wending (1632-1721), but his 幾何通解 Jihe tongjie (General Explanation of (Euclid’s) Geometry) eliminated most of…

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September 2016

Paula Findlen – Newton’s Prisms: Why Francesco Algarotti Became an Experimenter

September 28, 2016, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Faculty House, 64 Morningside Drive
New York, 10027 United States
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Speaker: Paula Findlen, Chair, Depairtment of History, Stanford University In the decade before Francesco Algarotti became internationally known for his Newtonianism for Ladies (1737) he first came to the attention of an international community of experimental philosophers for his role in the successful replication of Newton's prism experiments during his philosophical studies in Bologna.  This talk explores the circumstances that led the teenage Algarotti to become a celebrity experimenter in relation to debates about Newtonian science in Italy in the early eighteenth…

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October 2016

Audra Wolfe – The Fight for Science and Freedom: Recovering the Role of Science in Cold War-Era Cultural Diplomacy

October 26, 2016, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
The Center for Science and Society, 513 Fayerweather Hall, 1180 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10027 United States
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Speaker: Audra Wolfe, Independent Scholar; Freelance Writer The Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF) is probably the best known of the CIA’s attempts at covert cultural diplomacy, but its scientific programming has been mostly forgotten. From its first appearance at the organization’s opening meeting in Berlin in 1950, the strand of the CCF’s agenda continued throughout the 1950s, with a major conference on Science and Freedom chaired by Michael Polanyi in Hamburg in 1953 and three smaller meetings in Paris, Milan, and…

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November 2016

Fabian Kraemer – The Two Cultures Avant La Lettre: The Sciences and the Humanities in the Nineteenth Century

November 30, 2016, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
NYU Gallatin, 1 Washington Place, Room 801
New York,
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Speaker: Fabian Kraemer, Assistant Professor of History, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München Few beliefs about the nature of academic knowledge seem to be less problematic and are more deeply ingrained than is the assumption that a wide gulf divides the sciences and the humanities. But like many of the other dichotomies that characterize modernity, this binary opposition is younger than we tend to think. The emergence of the modern bifurcation of academic knowledge constituted one of the most fundamental transformations in the history of…

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December 2016

Toshihiro Higuchi – Birth of the “Atomic Tuna”: Radioactive Fallout, U.S.-Japan Alliance, and the Politics of Radiological Standards in the Mid-1950s

December 14, 2016, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
NYU Gallatin, 1 Washington Place, Room 801
New York,
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Speaker: Toshihiro Higuchi, Assistant Professor of History, Georgetown University Our Planet Earth is contaminated by radioactive fallout, one of the most enduring environmental legacies of the Cold War. During the period from 1945 to 1980, a total of 543 nuclear weapons explosions took place aboveground, scattering radioactive dust all over the world. It is far from a foregone conclusion, however, that this material fact was bound to reveal itself as a dangerous event of pollution, or something “out of place” as…

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January 2017

Sara Pritchard – Polluted Nightscapes: “Natural Night-Sky Brightness,” Skyglow, and the U.S. National Park Service

January 25, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
The Center for Science and Society, 513 Fayerweather Hall, 1180 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10027 United States
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Since the late nineteenth century, light pollution has increased dramatically throughout most of the urban, industrial world. This talk examines how the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) and specifically its “Natural Sounds and Night Skies” Division came to care about nighttime landscapes—or nightscapes. Despite challenges to wilderness in the environmental humanities, the development of alternative conservation strategies that seek to address both environment and livelihood, and the complexity of light pollution as a phenomenon, relatively new concerns about artificial light at night nonetheless replicate older conservation and environmentalist rhetoric.

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February 2017

Stephanie Dick – After Math: Reasoning, Proving, and Computing in Postwar United States

February 22, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
NYU Gallatin, 1 Washington Place, Room 801
New York,
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With a focus on communities based in the United States in the second half of the twentieth century, this talk will introduce different visions of the computer as a mathematical agent, software that was crafted to animate those imaginings, and the novel practices and materialities of mathematical knowledge-making that emerged in tandem.

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