Whewell’s Gazette: Vol. #46

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 #46

Monday 04 May 2015

EDITORIAL:

You are feasting your eyes on the forty-sixth edition of Whewell’s Gazette your weekly #histSTM links list bringing you all the best in the histories of science technology and medicine out of the Internet over the last seven days.

We all have a vague idea that technology is somehow socio-politically neutral. Machine, tools etc. have no feelings and so are free from all forms of prejudice but is the really true? Think how many tools and appliances are designed to be used by right-handed people causing left-handed people all sorts of problems and stress. The most visual example being Jimi Hendrix, possibly the greatest rock guitarist ever, playing a right-handed guitar upside down. These days any reasonably sized town has a left-handed shop supplying all sorts of everyday tools and gadgets for the left-handed minority.

But racism, is it possible for technology to be racist. There is a famous episode known to jazz fans concerning the electronic instrument the Theremin. For reasons that I forget the Theremin doesn’t work for some people and unfortunately one of those people was the black jazz keyboarder, and eccentric, Sun Ra, who was a big fan of the early electronic instruments. After seeing and hearing it demonstrated and then being frustrated by his own failure to produce a sound out of the Theremin, Sun Ra declared the instrument to be racist!

It’s almost impossible to suppress a wry smile at the image of the great Sun Ra condemning a machine as racist but it turns out to be no laughing matter that colour photography is really racist. Colour film and colour cameras are optimised from white skin tones with the result that it is very difficult with colour film systems to depict black people properly. To learn more read the following articles. For me this opens up the question, are there other forms of prejudiced technology?

Priceonomics: How Photography Was Optimized for White Skin Colour

Youtube: Ha ha ha HP Computer’s face tracking camera doesn’t recognize black people

NPR: Light and Dark: The Racial Biases That Remains in Photography

Colossal: Dreamlike Autochrome Portraits of an Engineer’s Daughter From 1913 Are Among the Earliest Color Photos

 Christina O'Gorman 1913 Photo: Mervyn O’Gorman (1871-1958)

Christina O’Gorman 1913
Photo: Mervyn O’Gorman (1871-1958)

Quotes of the week:

“Be the person your dog thinks you are.” – Bill Murray

“The second most important job in the world, second only to being a good parent, is being a good teacher.” – S.G. Ellis

“To Thales the primary question was not what do we know, but how do we know it.” – Aristotle

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” – Jack London

‘…a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it’s not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance’ – Terry Pratchet

“We live in a culture where we don’t embrace failure.” How will you know your strengths w/o exploration – Deborah Berebichez

“Writing and reading is to me synonymous with existing. ”― Gertrude Stein

“If Galileo had said in verse that the world moved, the inquisition might have let him alone.” – Thomas Hardy

“The problem with straining at gnats is that it increases the chances of swallowing camels”. – John D. Cook

“I hate travelling & explorers…adventure has no place in the anthropologists profession.” – Claude Lévi-Strauss

“Only a man who sees giants can ever stand upon their shoulders.” – @fadesingh

“People will mock religion as a fantasy for those who won’t face reality, but think building warp drive is just a matter of can-do spirit”. – Sean M Carroll

PHYSICS & ASTRONOMY:

Corpus Newtonicum: Why? You endeavoured to embroil me with women

Brain Pickings: Einstein on the Common Language of Science in a Rare 1941 Recording

NPR: Hubble’s Other Telescope and the Day it Rocked Our World

The Hooker 100-inch reflecting telescope at the Mount Wilson Observatory, just outside Los Angeles. Edwin Hubble's chair, on an elevating platform, is visible at left. A view from this scope first told Hubble our galaxy isn't the only one. Courtesy of The Observatories of the Carnegie Institution for Science Collection at the Huntington Library, San Marino, Calif.

The Hooker 100-inch reflecting telescope at the Mount Wilson Observatory, just outside Los Angeles. Edwin Hubble’s chair, on an elevating platform, is visible at left. A view from this scope first told Hubble our galaxy isn’t the only one.
Courtesy of The Observatories of the Carnegie Institution for Science Collection at the Huntington Library, San Marino, Calif.

This Day in History: 4977 Universe is created, according to Kepler

Forbes: Einstein: A Radical, But Not A Rebel

PDF Books for Free: Great Astronomers: Galileo Galilei by Sir Robert S. Ball (1907)

Ri-Science: Erwin Schrödinger coined the term ‘wave mechanics’ (or Wellenmechanik) on this day in 1926 in a letter to Albert Einstein.

MIT News: 3 Questions: Marcia Bartusiak on black holes and the history of science

The Renaissance Mathematicus: Unsung? I hardly think so.

Lise Meitner und Otto Hahn im Labor, Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut für Chemie, 1913 Source: Wikimedia Commons

Lise Meitner und Otto Hahn im Labor, Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut für Chemie, 1913
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Optics & Photonics: Charles Hard Townes: The Second Half-Century

Voices of the Manhattan Project: Myfanwy Pritchard-Roberts’ Interview

UC San Diego: Digital Collections: Leo Szilard and Aaron Novick Research Files

UC San Diego: Digital Collections: Leo Szilard Papers

The H-Word: Halley’s Eclipse: a coup for Newtonian prediction and the selling of science

Astrogeo.oxfordjournals.org: Halley and his maps of the total eclipses of 1915 and 1724

Ptak Science Books: Gorgeous Gearworks – a Model of the Solar System, 1817

“Planetary Machines, the New Planetarium for Equated Motions by Dr. Pearson”. London, for Rees’ Cyclopedia, 1817; 8×10″.
Source: Ptak Science Books

Ars Technica: Scanning meteorites in 3D may flesh out solar systems origin story

AIP: Oral History Transcript – Dr. Steven Weinberg

EXPLORATION and CARTOGRAPHY:

Board of Longitude Project Blog: Thomas Earnshaw’s troublesome chronometer

Marine chronometer no. 512, by Thomas Earnshaw, about 1800 (National Maritime Museum ZAA0006)

Marine chronometer no. 512, by Thomas Earnshaw, about 1800 (National Maritime Museum ZAA0006)

Viatimage: Image database of expeditions into the Alps.

The Guardian Maps: The Guardian view on reading maps: so much more than navigation

National Library of Scotland: Map images

Cambridge Digital Library: Longitude Essays: Artificial Horizon

MEDICINE & HEALTH:

Fiction Reboot: Daily Dose: MedHum Mondays Presents: The Application of a Surgeon’s Operating Case

Nautilus: The Man Who Drank Cholera and Launched the Yogurt Craze

Duke Today: Medicine Cabinet of Curiosities: Can you guess how these medical devices were used?

Lancet Psychiatry: Cutting the body to cure the mind

Doctor performing ovariotomy (London, 1882) The National Library Of Medicine

Doctor performing ovariotomy (London, 1882)
The National Library Of Medicine

Diseases of Modern Life: Introducing the India Office Medical Archives Project

Medievalist.net: Project to compare health of Londoners from medieval and industrial eras

Wellcome Library: Thalidomide: an oral history

CHoSTM: One Hundred Years of Health: Changing Expectations for Ageing Well in 20th Century America

Inside the Science Museum: Richard Liebreich’s Atlas of Ophthalmoscopy

V0010407EL The eye, as seem through a microscope

RCP: Swiney Cups

TECHNOLOGY:

Conciatore: Eyes of the Lynx

Yovisto: Wallace Hume Carothers and the Invention of Nylon

Ptak Science Books: The Understated Announcement of Bell’s Telephone Patent, 1876

Ptak Science Books: Establishing the (Royal) Aeronautical Society, 1866

Spaceflight Insider: Women in Space: In The Beginning

Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space during the Vostok 6 mission, which lifted off in June 1963. Photo Credit: Commons / Ria Novosti

Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space during the Vostok 6 mission, which lifted off in June 1963. Photo Credit: Commons / Ria Novosti

The Royal Society: Interface: Invention as a combinatorial process: evidence from US patents

IEEE Spectrum: Mildred Dresselhaus: The Queen of Carbon

Ptak Science Books: Feeling and Touching Calculated Numbers in the 18th Century: Palpable Mathematical Devices

Conciatore: Washing Molten Glass

Washing, sorting and carrying cullet Denis Diderot 1772

Washing, sorting and carrying cullet
Denis Diderot 1772

IEEE Spectrum: The Murky Origins of “Moore’s Law”

IEEE Spectrum: Moore’s Law Milestones

XPMethod: Unidentified Found Object (UFO)

Ptak Science Books: Quite Images of Great Loses and Heroism – British Navy Losses, 1945

Gizmodo: Why is the Paper Clip Shaped Like It Is?

The 1640’s Picture Book: Anima’dversions of Warre

Ptak Science Books: Episodes in the History of Dropping Things – Baby Bombs, Bomb Babies and Dropping Women on Manhattan

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Ptak Science Books: A One-Line Entry into the Computer Revolution: the Transistor, 1949

Conciatore: Scraping the Barrel

Teylers Museum: Horse Mill

Ptak Science Books: An Extremely Early Computer Program for the BINAC, 1949

EARTH & LIFE SCIENCES:

Strange Science: Earth Sciences

The Independent: The science of weather forecasting: The pioneer who founded the Met Office

Yovisto: Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki

Wallace Letters: The A. R. Wallace Correspondence Project’s Transcription Protocol

The Unz Review: Vignettes of Famous Evolutionary Biologists, Large and Small

Facebook: On 27 April 1806 Moehanga Discovered Britain

Letters from Gondwana: Alcide D’Orbigny and the Beginnings of Foraminiferal Studies

Alcide Dessalines d’Orbigny , 1802.  Source: Wikimedia Commons

Alcide Dessalines d’Orbigny , 1802.
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Arcadia: The Great Fear: The Polesine Flood of 1951

Embryo Project: The Pasteur Institute (1887– )

Yovistro: The Works of Lord Avebury

Embryo Project: Wilhelm His, Snr. (1831–1904)

Yovisto: Santiago Ramón y Cajal and the Neurons

NCSE: Darwin’s Pallbearers, Part 2

Embryo Project: Sir D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson (1860–1948)

Geschichte der Geologie: Strukturgeologie und Mittelalterlicher Bergbau

Die Schiener bei der Arbeit, Miniatur aus einer Grubenkarte aus dem 18. Jahrhundert. Zu seinen Arbeitsgeräten gehörten Schnüre, Stäbe, Hängekompaß, Setzkompaß, Klinometer, Abstechen (Winkelgerät) und Quadrant.

Die Schiener bei der Arbeit, Miniatur aus einer Grubenkarte aus dem 18. Jahrhundert. Zu seinen Arbeitsgeräten gehörten Schnüre, Stäbe, Hängekompaß, Setzkompaß, Klinometer, Abstechen (Winkelgerät) und Quadrant.

Yovisto: Vito Voterra and Functional Analysis

CHEMISTRY:

Chemical Heritage Magazine: Harold C. Urey: Science, Religion, and Cold War Chemistry

After helping create the atom bomb as part of the Manhattan Project, Harold Urey focused on uncovering the age and origins of Earth and the solar system. In this 1951 photo Urey inspects a 'fossilized thermometer' of belemnite (a prehistoric squid-shaped creature). Urey used information from these fossils to estimate the temperature of oceans from as far back as 100 million years. (USC Digital Library)

After helping create the atom bomb as part of the Manhattan Project, Harold Urey focused on uncovering the age and origins of Earth and the solar system. In this 1951 photo Urey inspects a ‘fossilized thermometer’ of belemnite (a prehistoric squid-shaped creature). Urey used information from these fossils to estimate the temperature of oceans from as far back as 100 million years. (USC Digital Library)

META – HISTORIOGRAPHY, THEORY, RESOURCES and OTHER:

Hooke’s Books

CELL: Hooke Folio Online

The Stute: Was I Wrong about “The End of Science”?

The Atlantic: What Was the Worst Prediction of all Time?

Social History of Medicine: Vol. 28 Issue 2 May 2015: Table of Contents

Edge Effects: Why Our Students Should Debate Climate Change

Huff Post: Debunking the Myths of Leonardo da Vinci

FaceBook: Isis Journal: Imogen Clarke interview

ISIS: Table of Contents: Vol. 106 Issue 1 March 2015

Vox: Why Oliver Sacks was so ambivalent about becoming a bestselling author

Neurologist and best-selling author Dr. Oliver Sacks. His new memoir, On The Move, grapples with the tension between being a media personality and a physician. Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Neurologist and best-selling author Dr. Oliver Sacks. His new memoir, On The Move, grapples with the tension between being a media personality and a physician.
Chris McGrath/Getty Images

The Washington Post: Philosophy’s gender bias: For too long, scholars say, women have been ignored

The Conversation: Reducing science to sensational headlines too often misses the bigger picture

JHI: Dispatches From the Republic of Letters

Oxford MHS: Newsletter May 2015

teleskopos: Real, replica, fake or fiction?

Nature: A view from the bridge: Metaphor and message

The #EnvHist Weekly

Slate: Science Needs a New Ritual

Nautilus: The Big Bang is Hard Science: It is also a Creation Story

The Chronicle of Higher Education: The Object as Subject

Faith and Wisdom in Science: Can Science be more like Music? An Experiment with Light and Song

Leonardo: Codex Madrid

ESOTERIC:

BOOK REVIEWS:

Sun News Miami: Newton and Empiricism

Maclean’s: Einstein’s beef with Schrödinger

Notches: Classroom Wars and Sexual Politics: An Interview with Natalia Mehlman Petrzela

Kestrels and Cerevisiae: Book Thoughts: Pauly’s Controlling Life

The New York Times: ‘Einstein’s Dice and Schrödinger’s Cat’, by Paul Halpern

The Wall Street Journal: The Half-Life of Physicists

British Journal for the History of Science: Outsider Scientists: Routes to Innovation in Biology

New Scientist: The Least Likely Man celebrates a genetic-code-breaking genius

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The New York Review of Books: Revelations from Outer Space

New Scientist: Scientific Babel: Why English Rules

NEW BOOKS:

THEATRE:

The Royal Society: A dramatic experiment: science on stage 11 May 2015

Oppenheimer production photos 2014: Photo by Keith Pattison c RSCRsC

Oppenheimer production photos 2014: Photo by Keith Pattison c RSCRsC

FILM:

TELEVISION:

SLIDE SHOW:

VIDEOS:

Youtube: Under the Knife: Episode 8 – Corpse Medicine

The Public Domain Review: The Westinghouse Works (1904)

Youtube: Collider: JJ Thomson’s Cathode-ray tube

‘Fighting for the Vote: Science and Suffrage in World War I’ – Dr Patricia Fara

Vine: Science Museum: Difference Engine No. 2

RADIO:

BBC Radio 4: Archive on 4: The Language of Pain

PODCASTS:

Chemistry World: Acetylene

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

University of Cambridge: HPS Dept: Workshop: Science and Technology in the Context of International Exhibitions 6 May 2015

Royal Museums Greenwich: Maritime Lectures Series: WW1: Three Sisters 7 May – 11 June 2015

Oriel College Oxford: 2015 Thomas Harriot Lecture: Dr Stephen Clucas 28 May

Monash University: CfP: Translating Pain: An International Forum on Language, Text and Suffering 10-12 August 2015

University of the West of England, Bristol: Science in Public: research, practice, impact” 9-10 July 2015

Archives for London: Seminar: Science in the city: the archival life of Robert Hooke 7 May 2015

Freud Museum London: Exhibition: Early Scientific Discoveries: Freud the Physician 30 April–7 June 2015

The Royal Society: Conference: Archival afterlives 2 June 2015

LSE: Summer Workshop of HPPE: Economists from 1780 to 1980: Observing and configuring the economy 12 May 2015

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

University of Regensburg: Conference: Will our journals go extinct? Further perspectives in scholarly publishing 9 June 2015

BSHS: Useful information about Swansea ahead of #BHSH15

The Recipes Project: Notches CfP: Sex, Food and History Round Table

University of South Carolina: CfP: Art, Anatomy, and Medicine since 1700

Courtauld Institute of Art: Leonardo da Vinci Society Annual Lecture: ‘Leonardo, Luca Pacioli and the Venetian Optic c. 1480-1510’ 8 May 2015

LOOKING FOR WORK:

The Mercurians, a Special Interest Group of the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT): Pam Laird Research Grant

The School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science at the University of Leeds: Offers a variety of funding opportunities to support taught postgraduate study.

Society for Renaissance Studies: Postdoctoral and Study Fellowships

UCL:STS: PhD Programmes

University of London: Chair in the Understanding of the Humanities

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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