Whewell’s Gazette: Vol. #39

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

Cornelis Bloemaert

Volume #39

Monday 16 March 2015


Welcome to the thirty-ninth edition of Whewell’s Gazette your weekly #histSTM links list brought to you on the wings of an owl. All the blog posts and Internet articles on the histories of science, technology and medicine that our hard working editorial team could round up for your pleasure in a week that saw the 136th anniversary of the birth of Albert Einstein in the year which sees the centenary of the publication of his General Theory of Relativity. This week also saw the Internet go more than a little loopy about an American form of writing the date so-called once in a century Pi day, a phenomenon that doesn’t occur in any other countries form of writing the date.

All of this raises the question, why do we consider anniversaries of all sorts to be so significant in history? Is a theory more important when it’s some multiple of 365 days old than on any other day? Should we give more thought to a scientist on her or his birthday than on other days of the year? Does our obsession with marking #histSTM anniversaries somehow trivialise the study of history. We here at Whewell’s Gazette offer no answers to these questions, but merely suggest that all STM historians should give them some thought should they feel so inclined.

Quotes of the week:

Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats ~ Howard Aiken h/t @OnThisDayinMath

One Science only will one Genius fit;

So vast is Art, so narrow Human Wit – Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism

Vladimir Nabokov had a ‘genitalia cabinet’ in which he kept his collection of male blue butterfly genitalia. It’s now housed at Harvard. – @InterestingLit

Heuristic: never nitpick a heuristic – @nntaleb

If the misery of our poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin – Charles Darwin

Birthday of the Week:

Albert Einstein born 14 March

Albert Einstein in 1921 Source: Wikimedia Commons

Albert Einstein in 1921
Source: Wikimedia Commons

AHF: Albert Einstein

AIP Center for History of Physics: A. Einstein Image and Impact

AIP: 2015 The Centennial of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity

NJ.com: Albert Einstein’s birthday, deep connection to Princeton celebrated on special 3-14-15 Pi Day

The New York Times: Einstein Flees Berlin to Avoid Being Feted

Symmetry: Einstein’s most famous equation

The Age: Genius found inspiration in silent spaces

Yahoo News: Beyond Reletivity: Albert Einstein’s Lesser-Known Work

Fossilist of the week:

Mary Anning Died 9 March 1847

Mary Anning  Google Doodle

Mary Anning
Google Doodle

Letters from Gondwana: Remembering Mary Anning

Mary Anning

Regency History; Mary Anning (1799-1847)

Mary Anning's Ichtyosaurus communis skull, by Elizabeth Philpot, 1814

Mary Anning’s Ichtyosaurus communis skull, by Elizabeth Philpot, 1814

Evolve or Die: Mary Anning


Berfois: Tempo Shifts:

BBC Earth: Why does time always run forwards and never backwards?

Medievalist.net: Early medieval science: the evidence of Bede

AHF: The Hydrogen Bomb – 1950

AIP: “Gravitational collapse” by Hong-Yee Chiu, May 1964

Voices of the Manhattan Project: Seth Wheatley’s Interview

Espace.net: Szilard’s Patent 12 March 1934: Improvements in or relating to the transmutation of chemical elements

Voices of the Manhattan Project: George Kistiakowsky’s Interview

APS: This Month in Physics History: March 13, 1781: Herschel Discovers Uranus

Frederick William Herschel

Frederick William Herschel

Voices of the Manhattan Project: Eugene Wigner’s Interview

Darin Hayton: Where Did De Revolutionibus Go?

Chart showing where copies of De Revolutionibus went. Created by Darin Hayton

Chart showing where copies of De Revolutionibus went.
Created by Darin Hayton

Medievalist.net: Ironing Out the Myth of the Flat Earth

Science Notes: What Is a Jiffy?


British Library: Maps and views blog: London through the artist’s eye

Wenceslaus Hollar, On the North Side of London , 1664  Maps K. Top. 28.9-e. - Source: British Library

Wenceslaus Hollar, On the North Side of London , 1664 Maps K. Top. 28.9-e. – Source: British Library

British Library: Maps and views blog: A Rum Lot of Maps

Yovisto: Richard E. Byrd, Jr. – Aviator and Polar Explorer

The Public Domain Review: The Maps of Piri Reis


Conciatore: The Béguines of Mechelen

A Béguine of Antwerp, from Pierre Hélyot, L'Histoire des ordres monastiques… 1719 (v.8)

A Béguine of Antwerp,
from Pierre Hélyot,
L’Histoire des ordres monastiques… 1719 (v.8)

BBC: Medieval monastic bones in Ipswich could aid arthritis research

British Library: Beautiful Minds: Alexander Fleming (1881–1951): A noble life in science

The National Archives: Death of Sir Alexander Fleming, discoverer of penicillin, 11 March 1955

Scientific American: Neurobiology of the Placebo Effect

academia.edu: Augmentative, Alternative, and Assistive: Reimagining the History of Mobile Computing and Disability

CBC:ca: A History of Chimps in Medical Research

Longreads: A Very Naughty Little Girl

Blood transfusion bottle. Photo via Wellcome Trust, Wikimedia Commons.

Blood transfusion bottle. Photo via Wellcome Trust, Wikimedia Commons.

Royal College of Physicians: ‘From her truly affectionate friend’

Duke University Libraries: Digital Collections: Anatomical Fugitive Sheets

BBC: Five research papers that revolutionised health

academia.edu: “Obstetrical and Gynecological Texts in Middle English” (1992), with an edition of “The Nature of Womman”

Medievalist.net: Is There a Doctor in the Castle?


Lapham’s Quarterly: People Will Look: The tricycle has come to stay

Wome's Trike

History Today: Time Pieces: Working Men and Watches

City Lab: Now More Than Ever, London Needs a ‘Death Pyramid’

Yovisto: Howard H. Aiken and the Harvard Mark I

The Public Domain Review: Kodak No.1 Circular Snapshots

Cram Swansea: CRAM staff explain their research…

The Guardian: Berenice Abbott: the photography trailblazer who had supersight

Culture 24: Before the Apple Watch: Six of the best timepieces used through the centuries

Balance spring pocket watch in silver case (1675-1679)

Balance spring pocket watch in silver case (1675-1679)

Wellcome Collection blog: Death in a Nutshell

AEON: American petro-topia

Conciatore: Reticello

Smithsonian.com: Would You Pass Thomas Edison’s Employment Test?


Dating the Past: Dating is Important for Understanding Past (and Future) Climate Change

Embryo Project: Wilhelm Friedrich Phillip Pfeffer (1845–1920)

International Science Times: Wooly Mammoth Poop Analysis May Solve Extinction Mystery; Beast May Have Relied Too Much On Flowers In Their Diet

Scientists still don't know what killed off the woolly mammoth. But the latest theory suggests it had to do with their diet of little yellow flowers. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Scientists still don’t know what killed off the woolly mammoth. But the latest theory suggests it had to do with their diet of little yellow flowers. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Tucson.com: UA researchers use tree rings to rewrite history

Niche: The Cold that Binds: Ice, Climate History, and a Hobbit Hole

The Public Domain Review: Sex and Science in Robert Thornton’s Temple of Flora

Illustration showing “Cupid Inspiring Plants with Love”, in this case specifically the Strelitzia reginae or Queen Plant, a plate from Robert Thornton’s Temple of Flora (1807) – Source: Wellcome Library.

Illustration showing “Cupid Inspiring Plants with Love”, in this case specifically the Strelitzia reginae or Queen Plant, a plate from Robert Thornton’s Temple of Flora (1807) – Source: Wellcome Library.

NPR: Tea Tuesdays: The Scottish Spy Who Stole China’s Tea Empire

The Shells tell the Truth: Molluscs, some Stratigraphic Order and early Evolution

BBC: Anthropocene: New dates proposed for the ‘Age of Man’

The New York Times: Did Earth’s ‘Anthropocene’ Age of Man Begin With the Globalization of Disease in 1610?

Nature: Anthropocene: The human age

Notches: Globalizing the History of Sexology

Fossil History: Buckland’s Red Lady

The Guardian: Italian scientists ‘recreate DNA’ of fascist warrior-poet from semen stains

The Artful Amoeba: Ever Wish You Could Put Ernst Haeckel on Your Lamp Shade? Now You Can

Brown University Library: Curio: The Unicorn of the Sea Comes to Brown

The Recipes Project: Locating traditional plant knowledge in household recipes

io9: These Scientific Names Were Chosen Purely to Insult Certain People

BBC: JBS Haldane: Blue plaque for genetics pioneer

History of Geology: The Geology of the Mountains of Madness


Chemistry World: Dial chem for murder

Chemical evidence helped convict Marie Lafarge of poisoning her husband © Mary Evans Picture Library / Alamy

Chemical evidence helped convict Marie Lafarge of poisoning her husband © Mary Evans Picture Library / Alamy

Yovisto: Jeremias Richter and the Law of Definite Proportions


The many-headed monster: We the People, 1535–1787: Who were ‘the people’ in early modern England? Part III

Public History Commons: The AHA on the path to public history

American Science: Links for 9 March 2015

Distillation Blog

MPIFTHS: Engineering, Cartography, and the Culture of Knowledge in Late-Sixteenth-Century Rome

Gresham College: The Gresham College App

UCL: STS Observatory: UK archives of post-war science – notes towards a list

Bodleian History Faculty Library: Social Media for Historians (pdf)

Bonhams: Turing, Alan Mathison. 1912-1954 Composition notebook

Now Appearing: Hit by a Newton bomb

The #EnvHist Weekly

The Renaissance Mathematicus: Discovery is a process not an act

Ether Wave Propaganda: “The Rational Life”: Issues in Quote Truncation

Rational Action: What did Warren Weaver mean when he spoke of “the rational life”?

Hyperjeff: Visual timelines to accompany Peter Adamson’s History of Philosophy without any gaps

Ether Wave Propaganda: Why Joseph Agassi Is No Longer Read as Much, An Introduction

HNN: Why Historians Should Use Twitter: An Interview with Katrina Gulliver


History of Alchemy: Faust

Laham’s Quarterly: Animal Magnetism

Franz Anton Mesmer Source: Wikimedia Commons

Franz Anton Mesmer
Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Collation: Early modern eyebrow interpretations, or what it means to have a unibrow


academia.edu: Emil du Bois-Reymond and the tradition of German physiological science

academic.edu: Emil du Bois-Reymond: Neuroscience, Self and Society in Nineteenth Century Germany

Science Book a Day: Haeckel’s Embryos: Images, Evolution, and Fraud

New Scientist: How fudged embryo illustrations led to drawn-out lies


History to the Public: Humdinger in the everyday: Greg Jenner’s A Million Years in a Day

Popular Science: Professor Stewart’s Incredible Numbers

Centre for Medical Humanities: The Severed Head Capital Visions

Science Book a Day: Drugged: The Science and Culture Behind Psychotropic Drugs

The Guardian: Half Life: The Divided Life of Bruno Pontecorvo, Physicist or Spy by Frank Close – review

Biodetectives: Life science books everyone should read

The Guardian: John Aubrey: My Own Life review – the taxidermist of a dying England

Project Muse: The Princess and the Philosopher: Letters of Elisabeth of the Palatine to Rene Descartes

BSHS Dingle Prize Short List:

University of Chicago Press: Earth’s Deep History

Yale University Press: Voyaging in Strange Seas

Harper Collins Publishers: Finding Longitude

University of Chicago Press: Visions of Science


WellCome Book Prize Shortlist 2015:

The Guardian: Wellcome Trust 2015 Book Prize shortlist announced


Historiens de la santé: More Than Medicine: A History of the Feminist Women’s Health Movement

Taylor & Francis: Reimagining (Bio)Medicalization, Pharmaceuticals and Genetics

Ashgate: Boyle Studies

Routledge: Spaces for Feelings: Emotion and Sociabilities in Britain 1650-1850


University of Washington Press: Feminist Technosciences

Salon: Eye of the Beholder: Johannes Vermeer, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, and the Reinvention of Seeing” – An Excerpt



The Renaissance Mathematicus: Why the Imitation Game is a disaster for historians




Youtube: Bertrand Russell – Face to Face Interview (BBC, 1959)

Youtube: Be curious… about AIR QUALITY

Youtube: Fifty billion chips and counting

Youtube: The Genius of Einstein: The Science, the Brain, the Man

Laughing Squid: A Look at Four Lesser-Known Scientific Discoveries and the Women Behind Them



Native American Medicine: The Sequah Limited: Commoditising the Native


University of Bucharest: Workshop: Natural History, Mathematics and Metaphysics in the Seventeenth Century 26-27 April 2015

Museum Boerhaave and Naturalis Biodiversity Centre: Materia medica on the move. Collecting, trading studying and using medicinal plants in the early modern period 15-17 April 2015

ChoM News: Lecture: Pregnancy and Personhood: The Maternal-Fetal Relationship in America, 1850 to the Present Harvard Medical School 2 April 2015

John Innes Centre: Cultivation Innovations 14 April 2015

University of Oxford: CfP: Space, place, and landscape in the history of communications 16 June 2015

University of Durham: The History of Thermodynamics and Scientific Realism 12 May 2015

University of Manchester: Stories about Science 4-5 June 2015

Open Quaternary: Call for Papers

IHPST: Announcements

Computer History Museum: Book Prize 2015: Call for submissions

London Medieval Society: Medieval London and the World 2015 1-4 May 2015

Parasynchronies: CfP: Divergent Bodies and the Making of the Middle Ages

CRASSH: Graphical Displays: Challenges for Humanists 18 May 2015

History of Education Society (UK): Conference: CfP: Science, Technologies, and Material Culture in the History of Education Liverpool Hope University 20-22 November 2015

Historiens de la santé: CfP: Food as Medicine: Historical Perspectives 9-10 October 2015 Dublin

Dittrick Medical History Centre: Upcoming Events

University of York: CfP: Epistolary cultures – letters and letter-writing in early modern Europe

BSHS: Conference: Leibniz-scientist, Leibniz-philosopher University of Wales Lampeter 3-5 July 2015

BSHS: Conference: Ruling Climate The Theory and practice of environmental governmentality 1500-1800 University of Warwick 16 May 2015

Morbid Anatomy: The Lost Museum Symposium: Providence Rhode Island 6-8 May 2015

10th International Conference on the History of Chemistry: CfP: Chemical Biography Aveiro Portugal 9-12 September 2015

H–Environment: CfP: Workshop: Experiencing the Global Environment MPIFTHOS Berlin 4-6 February 2016


University of Chester: Lecturer in Early Modern Global History 1650–1800

University of Sydney: Associate Lecturer History of Science

University of Glasgow: The Leverhulme Trust: “Collections” Scholarships

University of Chester: Lecturer in Historic Landscapes and Environments

How We Get to Next: Editor and Staff Writer

King’s College London: Lecturer in the History of Science and Technology

University of Kent: Postgraduate Funding

University of Leeds: Studentship: Object Journeys: Community co-production of collections knowledge and displays at a national museum

CHF: Public History Fellow

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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