Whewell’s Gazette: Vol. #22

Whewell’s Gazette

Your weekly digest of all the best of

Internet history of science, technology and medicine

Editor in Chief: The Ghost of William Whewell


Volume #22

Monday 17 November 2014


“when you build up false history and false claims for the nation…it is not serving the nation, it is ridiculing the nation – “‪@irfhabib

Recent utterances by politicians have demonstrated the importance of a strong public understanding of the history of the sciences and related disciples (#histSTM). First we had the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a speech, as part of his extreme Hindu nationalist political programme, claiming that all sorts of modern science and medicine were known to the Hindus in Vedic times and are thus not discoveries of the Western World. He was slapped down fast enough by Indian historians and historian of science but his speech will undoubtedly have influenced many less knowledgeable Indians convincing them that the West has stolen their heritage. India did indeed make important contributions to the evolution of science, a fact that is often not adequately acknowledged in Western accounts of STM history but not the rubbish that Modi spouted.

This weekend saw a second outbreak of the falsification of STM history, this time exploration, for religious nationalist propaganda purposes by Turkey’s recently elected President and ex-prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. In a speech delivered to South American Muslim leaders Erdoğan claimed that it wasn’t Columbus who discovered America but Muslims who sailed there in 1178. Erdoğan went on to claim, “Columbus mentions a mosque on a hill on the coast of Cuba”. This bizarre claim is not new but is based on an article from 1996 by the historian Youssef Mroueh. In fact the entry from Columbus’ journal merely describes a hill as having the form of a mosque.

Such attempts by politicians to interpret or even rewrite the history of science in the interest of their own religion or nationalist beliefs are nothing new. One only needs to think of the, in the meantime, more than two hundred year long dispute amongst nationalist as to whether Copernicus is German or Polish, a totally meaningless dispute with reference to the times in which he actually lived. One grotesque highpoint of this dispute was an imperial decree issued by the Nazi, unfortunately still in force in Germany, that the name Copernicus is to be spelt Kopernikus!

Nationalism has no place in STM history and all STM historians should feel obligated to fight against any attempts by politicians to rewrite STM history for propaganda purposes.

“Modern science is a conglomeration of different cultures and civilisations. All these contributions were marginalised due to politics.” @irfhabib – h/t@fadesingh

Let us reclaim STM history for the historians


Conciatore: Galileo and Glass Reprise

Irish Philosophy: John Stewart Bell: The Nature of Reality

John Stewart Bell

John Stewart Bell

Space: Here’s a Thirty-Year History of Getting Closer to Comets

Atomic Heritage Foundation: Remembering Veterans who worked on the Manhattan Project

AIP: The Centennial of Einstein’s 1915 Theory of General Relativity

Huff Post Business: What I Learned from Einstein: The Importance of Culture

Symmetry: The November Revolution

Burton Richter & Sam Ting Courtesy of: SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Burton Richter & Sam Ting
Courtesy of: SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory



Yovisto: Dr Livingstone, I presume?

Medievalist.net: Recovering the lost details of a medieval map

Yovisto: Louis Antoine de Bougainville and his Voyage Around the World

Bougainville reaching Tahiti

Bougainville reaching Tahiti


The Conversation: How a painful operation inspired the 18th-century equivalent of a horror movie soundtrack

Royal College of Physicians: Not suitable for vegetarians

The Women’s Blog: No. no, no! Victorians didn’t invent the vibrator

Wonders & Marvels: The history of tampons – in ancient Greece?


Four Nations History: Unions and unions: science and medicine in and around Irland, England and Scotland, 1850-1900

The Generous Georgian: Dr Richard Mead: The Foundling Laboratory: inoculation and experimentation

Early Modern Practitioners: Researching Medical Practitioners in Early Modern Ireland

William Petty, c. 1650. Image Wikipedia Commons

William Petty, c. 1650.
Image Wikipedia Commons

Wellcome Library: Researching medicine in recipe books

Medievalist.net: Healthy Eating in the Middle Ages: the Tacuinum Sanitatis

Yovisto: Dorothea Erxleben – Germany’s First Female Medical Doctor

Dorothea Christiane Erxleben  (1715 – 1762)

Dorothea Christiane Erxleben
(1715 – 1762)

Centre for Medical Humanities: Hippocrates Electric: Invoking the ‘Father of Medicine’ in the 21st Century

Slate: 19th-Century Classified Ads for Abortifacients and Contraceptives


The Recipes Project: Topazes, Emeralds, and Crystal Rubies. The Faking and Making of Precious Stones

Fig. 3 The coloring of stones

Fig. 3 The coloring of stones

The Artery: Science of Art Conservation in U. S. Began With One Man’s Collection of Colors at Harvard


Conciatore: Lake of Flowers



The Embryo Project: Roy John Britten (1919–2012)

National Museum of Natural History Unearthed: Colored Diamonds from Rio Tinto: The Rough Cut

Yovisto: Robert Morison and the Classification of Plants

The Embryo Project: Francis Maitland Balfour

JSTOR Daily: Animals in the Archive

Geschichte der Geologie: Geologie in Alten Ägypten

Pitt Rivers Museum: A Well-Documented Life: James Arthur Harley (1873-1943)

Nautilus: Cloudy With a Chance of War

Palaeoblog: Died This Day: William Lonsdale

Free Thought Blog: Darwin’s Geological Sense of Humour

The Public Domain Review: Nature Through Microscope and Camera (1909)


Spitalfields Life: A Garden for Thomas Fairchild


BBC: Joan Clarke, woman who cracked Enigma cyphers with Alan Turing

The Pianola Institute: The Pleyela, Pleyel-Pleyela and Auto-Pleyela

Psychology Today: Hive Mind: Oh “Hedy” Days of Youth!

BBC: The story of the ‘most complicated’ watch in the world

Unmaking the Bomb: The Visible Atomic Bomb

Science Museum: Cometarium

Cometarium, by W and S Jones, London, a model designed to show the change in motion of a comet as it moves closer and then further away from the Sun according to Newton's theory of gravity. Front 3/4 view of whole object (without lid) against graduated grey background.

Cometarium, by W and S Jones, London, a model designed to show the change in motion of a comet as it moves closer and then further away from the Sun according to Newton’s theory of gravity. Front 3/4 view of whole object (without lid) against graduated grey background.

British Library: English and Drama Blog: History at Stake! The Story Behind Vampire Slaying Kits

Internet Society: Brief History of the Internet


Leaping Robot: Science (and Science History) for the Public

The University of Glasgow Story: Sir William Thompson Baron Kelvin of Largs


The Nation: Apostles of Growth

BBC: Materials book wins Royal Society Winton Prize

Historyonics: Big Data, Small Data and Meaning

The Trickster Prince: Big histories, small minds

Scientific American: Google Scholar Pioneer Reflects on the Academic Search Engine’s Future


AIP: Center for History of Physics: History Center Welcomes New Historian

The Recipe Project: Exploring CPP 10a214: Overlapping Territories

The Dutch in Kerala (knowledge transfer)

American Science: HSS Recap Part 1: Visibility and Invisibility

American Science: HSS Recap Part 2: Humans, Pain, and Philosophy

American Science: SHOT Recap: Innovation, Risk, and Magic

Joanne Bailey Muses on History: The role of nostalgia in forging family life

Medical Heritage Library: Year One of “Expanding the Medical Heritage Library” Is Complete!

Emlio Segrè Visual Archive (History of Physics)

Arms and the Medical Man: What counted as knowledge before the First World War?

Guardian: Bible edges out Darwin as ‘most valuable to humanity’ in survey of influential books

The Physics arXiv Blog: The Extraordinary Growing Impact of the History of Science

University of Cambridge: Sachiko Kusukawa wins Pfizer Prize for “Picturing the Book of Nature”

The Current: A Visionary Accomplishment

W. Patrick McCray Photo Credit:  Brian W. Robb

W. Patrick McCray
Photo Credit:
Brian W. Robb

The History of Moden Biomedicine: The Recent History of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Martin Grandjean: [Twitter Studies] Re-writing history in 140 characters

Nautilus: Einstein Among the Daffodils

The Guardian: Jacqueline Stedall obituary

Back Channel: The Man Who Made The UK Say “I’m Sorry For What We Did To Turing”

Method Science in the Making: Issue 1 Boundaries

Literacy of the Present: The Autonomous Science Machine

SHOT: Plenary Lecture: How does one do the History of Technology? David E. Nye (PDF)


Brian Regal: Richard Owen and the sea-serpent (PDF)

Conciatore: Benedetto Vanda

View of Badia Fiesolana - Gaspar Van Wittel called 'Vanvitelli' (1652/3-1736)

View of Badia Fiesolana – Gaspar Van Wittel called ‘Vanvitelli’ (1652/3-1736)

Heterodoxology: Rosicrucian quadricentennary at the BPH


Guardian: Seven Elements That Have Changed the World by John Browne

Popular Science: About Time – Adam FrankUnknown


D. Lamb: Pathologist of the Mind: Adolf Meyer and the Origins of American Psychiatry


OUP: Classical Philosophy: A history of philosophy without any gaps, Volume 1

Brill: The Making of Copernicus


Princeton University Press: Patrick McCray’s “The Visioneers” win HSS award.

Historiens de la santé: Gender and Class in English Asylums, 1890-1914

teleskopos: Maskelyne: Astronomer Royal – book now available


Historiens de la santé: Art of Vesalius




The Guardian: Alan Turing’s name restored with film about his work, life and identity

Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing with Keira Knightley as Joan Clarke in The Imitation Game. Photograph: Allstar/Black Bear Pictures

Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing with Keira Knightley as Joan Clarke in The Imitation Game. Photograph: Allstar/Black Bear Pictures

EQ View: The Imitation Game – Review


TVMOLE: Greenlit: Tomorrow’s Worlds: The Unearthly History of Science Fiction, BBC2

Medievalist.net: High-Tech Feudalism: Warrior Culture and Science Fiction TV


Youtube: Stuff Matters by Mark Miodownik

Youtube: The Quantum Indians

Youtube: Accidental Discoveries That Changed the World – Reactions



NPR: Remembering Hedy Lamarr: Actress, Weapons Systems Developer


Cambridge University Library: Cambridge Seminars in the History of Cartography 2014-2015

Historiens de la santé: Institut Pasteur Paris: Conference: Les Instituts Pasteur au Maghreb, des origins aux indépendances 27 November 2014

The Renaissance Diary: 2nd CfP: 6th Norwegian Conference on the history of Science Oslo 11-13 February 2015

ChoM News: Lecture: The True Story of a Government-Ordered Book-Burning in America: Wilhelm Reich’s Books and Journals, and What Was in Them? December 4 2014

Race and Ethnicity in the Global South: Warwick Awarded at history of Science Society

Educating Women: CfP: Women’s History in the Digital World 2015

CHoM News: Colloquium on the History of Psychiatry and Medicine

“Making the Suicidal Object: Sympathy and Surveillance in the American Asylum” 20


British Library: Exhibition: Lines in the ice: Seeking the Northwest Passage

14 November–29 March

Lines in the Ice British Library Exhibition

Lines in the Ice British Library Exhibition

University of Aveiro Portugal: CfP: Chemical Biography in the 21st Century 9-12 September 2015


Royal Holloway University of London: CfP: 2015 Annual Conference of the Oral History Society

Royal Museums Greenwich: CfP: The Emergence of a Maritime Nation: Britain in the Tudor and Stuart Age, 1485–1714

Advances in the History of Psychology: Nov 24 Talk! BPS History of Psych Disciplines Seminar Series

BSHS: CfP: British Society for the History of Science Annual Conference, 2015

2-5 July 2015, Swansea University

H-Net: CfP: Gendering Science, Prague 4-6 June 2015 Abstracts due 15 December 2014

The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at the University of Miami annual graduate student conference, CfP: “Born-Digital: Reformatting Humanities in the 21st Century” March 20-21, 2015.

Greenwich Maritime Institute: CfP. New Researchers in Maritime History Conference 10-11 April 2015 University of Greenwich

The Royal Institution: Lecture: The history of the Christmas Lectures Wednesday 19 November

UCL: First STS Haldane Lecture: Professor Simon Schaffer “Mutability, mobility and meteorites: on some material cultures of the sciences”20 November2014

Society for the Social History of Medicine: Roy Porter Student Essay Prize Competition

Manchester Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine: CfP: Stories about science: exploring science communication and entertainment media 4-5 June 2015


The Renaissance Diary: CfP: Domestic Devotions in the Early Modern World, 1400–1800


University of Leeds: The School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science at the University of Leeds is pleased to inform potential applicants for postgraduate study that it is able to offer up to 18 fully-funded PhD scholarships for UK/EU students for 2015-16 entry, plus further scholarships for international students.

Horniman Museum & Gardens: Jobs

Oxford Brookes University Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Department of History, Philosophy and Religion To mark its 150th Anniversary, Oxford Brookes University is pleased to offer a number of full-time PhD Studentships across a range of subject areas in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, starting in January 2015

Museum for Science and Industry in Manchester: Associate Curator of Science and Technology













































































About thonyc

Aging freak who fell in love with the history of science and now resides mostly in the 16th century.
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2 Responses to Whewell’s Gazette: Vol. #22

  1. Pingback: Astronomy In The Renaissance | Astronomy News

  2. Joachim says:

    Geologie “im” Alten Ägypten not “in”

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