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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

Audra Wolfe uses the story of the Congress for Cultural Freedom’s failed science programming to explore broader U.S. visions of science as a tool for cultural diplomacy—covert, overt, or something in between.

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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, NY 10003
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Fabian Kramer will trace the emergence of the dichotomy between science and the humanities with a particular focus on the German academic system in the nineteenth century.

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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, NY 10003
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The talk, which will serve as an introduction to my book project on worldwide contamination with radioactive fallout (currently in preparation for publication), will focus on the bilateral politics of standards for the radiological inspection of tuna as a key driver behind the rise and fall of the “atomic tuna” scare.

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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

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, NY 10003
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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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March 2017

Neil Safier – Where Entangled Empires and Early Modern Science Intertwine: An Iberoamerican Perspective

March 29, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Room C/197, The Graduate Center, CUNY, 365 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10016 United States
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This talk explores the confluence, in the last two decades, between a new kind of imperial history that seeks to decenter and render more permeable the contours of individual empires in the early modern world and a similar phenomenon in the history of early modern science.

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April 2017

Ann-Sophie Barwich – Scent Track: What can the History of Olfaction tell us about Theorizing in the Life Sciences?

April 26, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
New York Academy of Medicine, 1216 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street
New York, NY
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Perfumery may possibly be the second oldest business in the history of mankind. Olfaction, the sense of smell, has attracted systematic interest in scientific studies only recently, however. The discovery of the olfactory receptor genes by Linda Buck and Richard Axel in 1991 catapulted olfaction into core neurobiological research. Seldom does a discovery represent the birth of an experimental system as markedly as in the case of the olfactory receptors. Olfaction has been a fairly neglected field before, conducted only by a few but dedicated researchers throughout the past centuries.

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September 2017

John Tresch – Barnum, Bache, and Poe: American Science and the Antebellum Public

September 27, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Fayerweather Hall, Room 513, 1180 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10027 United States
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This talk will explore how the sharp increase of printed matter and an elitist movement to unify knowledge through centralized institutions in the 1840s influenced Barnum, Bach, and Poe, therefore changing the relations of science and public in this early phase of industrialization.

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October 2017

Michael J. Barany – Invidious Comparisons: International Politics, the Fields Medal, and the Past, Present, and Future of Mathematics, 1936-1966

October 11, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Fayerweather Hall, Room 513, 1180 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10027 United States
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First presented in 1936, the Fields Medal quickly became one of mathematicians' most prestigious, famous, and in some cases notorious prizes. Because its deliberations are confidential, we know very little about the early Fields Medals. This talk will analyze newly discovered letters from the 1950 and 1958 Fields Medal committees.

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Whitney Laemmli – Measured Movements: Weimar Germany, Labanotation, and the Choreography of Corporate Life

October 25, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
NYU Gallatin, 1 Washington Place, Room 801
New York, NY 10003
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In 1928, the German choreographer Rudolf Laban announced what he believed to be an explosive development in the history of dance: the creation of an inscription system that could “objectively” record human movement on paper. The technique, known as “Labanotation,” relied upon byzantine combinations of lines, tick marks, and boxes. In this talk, Dr. Laemmli will explore two seemingly distant, but in fact closely-linked, moments from Labanotation’s history: its origins in the anxiety-ridden, vibratory atmosphere of Weimar Germany and its use in the American and British corporate office in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s.

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