Conference | The History of Science and Contemporary Scientific Realism

Date: February 19-21, 2016The History of Science and Contemporary Scientific Realism Flyer
Time: FRI 9:30-7:00PM, SAT 9:30-9:00PM,
SUN 9:30-5:00PM

Location: Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis IUPUI Campus Center

Register here.
For the official website, please visit here.

Presented by Timothy D. Lyons, Department of Philosophy, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, USA & Peter Vickers, Department of Philosophy, University of Durham, UK present a three day conference: “An Interdisciplinary Meeting For Historians And Philosophers Of Science.”

Scientific realism is roughly the view that the world exists as science describes it. But there is a historical challenge to that view: the fact that many successful theories have been rejected in favor of new theories.

Timothy Lyons, Department of Philosophy chair and associate professor of philosophy of science in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, said the historical challenge involves what he calls the Big Question: Does predictive success mean that scientific theories are true?

This question will drive an upcoming conference, “The History of Science and Contemporary Scientific Realism,” taking place Feb. 19 to 21 at the IUPUI Campus Center. The conference will include 30 scholars from 10 countries discussing the history — and philosophical implications of that history — of topics ranging from genetics to geology, fundamental physics to medicine, chemistry and biology.

Beyond the fact that “the history of science is fascinating,” Lyons suggests that attendees can gain valuable insight on at least two matters:

“The first is the intrinsically interesting Big Question,” he said. “People watch ‘Cosmos,’  hear about DNA evidence [and] watch movies meant to be based on scientific theories. A huge portion of our contemporary worldview comes from science. Are its theories true? A desired outcome of the conference is a better understanding of the answers to the Big Question.”

Lyons also hopes that recognizing the success of discarded theories would encourage scientists to question what is treated as fact today. Scientists themselves are too busy studying nature to study the history of science, he said, and are likely unaware of past predictive successes and the way in which false parts of theories contributed to those successes.

“There is much to be uncovered in the history of science,” said Lyons, “and if we gather evidence about which parts of successful scientific theories have been retained, and which parts have not, such evidence could inform today’s scientists in their own theorizing.”

The conference is funded by a three-year grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, located in the United Kingdom. Lyons and his research partner, Peter Vickers, a lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at Durham University (United Kingdom), were awarded the grant for their project titled “Contemporary Scientific Realism and the Challenge from the History of Science.”

As for his personal position, Lyons said, “If I’m advocating anything, it’s that, in the quest for truth — or even in the quest only for further successful predictions — the history of science suggests we should not sit complacent with what is accepted today. In fact, we may well find good precedent in the history of science for creatively challenging even the most fundamental components of our best theories, despite their predictive success.”

Registration is $35 before Feb. 15 and $45 after Feb. 15. Space is limited. For more information, please contact Mary Lee Cox at Cox24@iupui.edu.

Supported by the AHRC funded project “Contemporary Scientific Realism and the Challenge from the History of Science.”

 

Lecture: Jacob Darwin Hamblin, “Arming Mother Nature: The Birth of Catastrophic Environmentalism”

Jacob HamblinApril 1, 2015 | 6:00-7:30
PrintText; 652 East 52nd Street, Indianapolis, IN 46205
Free tickets available below

When most Americans think of environmentalism, they think of the political left, of vegans dressed in organic-hemp fabric, lofting protest signs. In reality, writes Jacob Darwin Hamblin, the movement–and its dire predictions–owe more to the Pentagon than the counterculture. In Arming Mother Nature, Hamblin argues that military planning for World War III created “catastrophic environmentalism”: the idea that human activity might cause global natural disasters. This awareness, Hamblin shows, emerged out of dark ambitions, as governments poured funds into environmental science after World War II, searching for ways to harness natural processes–to kill millions of people. Proposals included the use of nuclear weapons to create artificial tsunamis or melt the ice caps to drown coastal cities; setting fire to vast expanses of vegetation; and changing local climates. Oxford botanists advised British generals on how to destroy enemy crops during the war in Malaya; American scientists attempted to alter the weather in Vietnam. This work raised questions that went beyond the goal of weaponizing nature. By the 1980s, the C.I.A. was studying the likely effects of global warming on Soviet harvests. Driven initially by strategic imperatives, Cold War scientists learned to think globally and to grasp humanity’s power to alter the environment. Arming Mother Nature changes our understanding of the history of the Cold War and the birth of modern environmental science.

Dr. Jacob Darwin Hamblin is Associate Professor of History of Science, Technology, and Environmental History at Oregon State University. His most recent publication is Arming Mother Nature: The Birth of Catastrophic Environmentalism, published by Oxford University Press in 2013. He has also published Poison in the Well: Radioactive Waste in the Oceans at the Dawn of the Nuclear Age, published by Rutgers University Press in 2008, and Oceanographers and the Cold War, published by University of Washington Press in 2005. Dr. Hamblin’s current work explores the promotion of nuclear-related science and technology so-called developing countries, blending the histories of science, environment, and international relations.

Co-sponsored by Earth Charter Indiana, PrintText, and NUVO.

Huntington Library Research Fellowships 2014-15

huntington logo

Fellowships at The Huntington 2014-2015

The Huntington is an independent research center with holdings in British and American history, literature, art history, and the history of science and medicine. The Library collections range chronologically from the eleventh century to the present and include seven million manuscripts, 413,000 rare books, 275,000 reference works, and 1.3 million photographs, prints, and ephemera. The Burndy Library consists of some 67,000 rare books and reference volumes in the history of science and technology, as well as an important collection of scientific instruments. Within the general fields listed above there are many areas of special strength, including: Middle Ages, Renaissance, 19th- and 20th-century literature, British drama, Colonial America, American Civil War, Western America, and California. The Art Collections contain notable British and American paintings, fine prints, photographs, and an art reference library. In the library of the Botanical Gardens is a broad collection of reference works in botany, horticulture, and gardening.

The Huntington will award to scholars over 150 fellowships for the academic year 2014-2015. These fellowships derive from a variety of funding sources and have different terms. Recipients of all fellowships are expected to be in continuous residence at the Huntington and to participate in and make a contribution to its intellectual life.

Application deadline for all fellowships: Nov. 15, 2013.

Huntington Fellowships

Short-Term Awards
Long-Term Awards
Dibner History of Science Program

 

For full fellowship and grant program details and deadlines, including application procedure and submission guidelines, visit The Huntington’s website.

Short-Term Awards
Huntington Fellowships

Eligibility: PhD or equivalent; or doctoral candidate at the dissertation stage.

Tenure of fellowship: One to five months.

Amount of award: $3,000 per month.

NOTE: The majority of “Huntington Fellowships” will be awarded to scholars working in the general holdings of the Library; however, we do offer a number of specialized fellowships:

  • Francis Bacon Foundation Fellowships in Renaissance England
  • Reese Fellowship in American Bibliography and the History of the Book in the Americas
  • Trent R. Dames Fellowship in the History of Civil Engineering
  • Christopher Isherwood Foundation Fellowships
  • Francis J. Weber Research Fellowship in Roman Catholic History
  • Molina Fellowships in the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences

Applying for one of the specialized fellowships does not disqualify you from being considered for a “Huntington Fellowship.”

Travel Grants and Exchange Fellowships for Study in Great Britain

Eligibility: PhD or equivalent; or doctoral candidate at the dissertation stage. Applicant must be based in the United States.

Tenure of fellowship: One month.

The Huntington offers several travel grants in any of the fields in which the Huntington collections are strong and where the research will be carried out in libraries or archives in Great Britain. We also offer exchange fellowships with Corpus Christi, Linacre, and Lincoln Colleges, Oxford; and with Trinity Hall, Cambridge.

Linacre College, Oxford

Accommodation is provided by the college with the stipulation that the fellowship must be taken up in July or August of 2014. A stipend of $3,000 is provided by the Huntington to the recipient of the fellowship before traveling to England. The fellow must provide a written report on his or her experience.

Corpus Christi College/Lincoln College/Trinity Hall

Accommodation and hospitality is provided by the college with the stipulation that the fellowship must be taken up in July or August of 2014. The Huntington will reimburse the fellow for economy round-trip airfare before going to England. The fellow must provide a written report on his or her experience.

Travel Grants

Recipients of the travel grants must be conducting research in a library or archive in Great Britain in any of the fields in which the Huntington collections are strong. The Huntington will reimburse the grantee for economy round-trip airfare before the trip. A stipend of $3,000 will be paid after the grantee submits a detailed report on the research conducted. The travel grants can be taken up as early as June 1, 2014, and no later than June 30, 2015.

Clark-Huntington Joint Bibliographical Fellowship

Eligibility: PhD or appropriate research experience.

Tenure of fellowship: Two months (one month at the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library; one month at The Huntington).

Amount of award: $5,500.

Sponsored jointly by the Clark and the Huntington Libraries, this two-month fellowship provides support for bibliographical research in early modern British literature and history as well as other areas where the two libraries have common strengths; eligible projects include textual scholarship, analytical/descriptive bibliography, history of printing and/or publishers, and related fields. For details and application instructions regarding this fellowship only, please contact Dr. Gerald Cloud at gwcloud@humnet.ucla.edu.

Long-Term Awards
Barbara Thom Postdoctoral Fellowships

Eligibility: Non-tenured faculty.

Tenure of fellowship: Nine to twelve months.

Amount of award: $50,000.

Fellowship is designed to support non-tenured faculty who are revising their dissertation for publication. Applicants must be pursuing scholarship in a field appropriate to the Huntington’s collections and must have received their PhD between 2009 and 2011.

Mellon Fellowship

Eligibility: Applicants must have completed all requirements for the PhD by no later than Nov. 15, 2013.

Tenure of fellowship: Nine to twelve months.

Amount of award: $50,000.

Applicants must be pursuing scholarship in a field appropriate to the Huntington’s collections.

Dana and David Dornsife Fellowship

Eligibility: Applicants must have completed all requirements for the PhD by no later than Nov. 15, 2013.

Tenure of fellowship: Nine to twelve months.

Amount of award: $50,000.

Applicants must be pursuing scholarship in a field appropriate to the Huntington’s collections.

National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships

Eligibility: Applicants must have completed all requirements for the PhD by no later than Nov. 15, 2013, and must be a United States citizen or foreign national with a minimum of three years U.S. residence.

Tenure of fellowship: Nine to twelve months.

Amount of award: $50,000 ($4,200 per month from NEH; balance of stipend from Huntington funds)

Applicants must be pursuing scholarship in a field appropriate to the Huntington’s collections.

Dibner Program in the History of Science

The Dibner Program in the History of Science offers historians of science and technology the opportunity to study in the Burndy Library and to work in the other resources for the history of science and technology at The Huntington.

Short-Term Awards

Eligibility: PhD or equivalent; or doctoral candidate at the dissertation stage.

Tenure of fellowship: One to five months.

Amount of award: $3,000 per month.

Long-Term Awards

Eligibility: Applicants must have completed all requirements for their PhD by no later than Nov. 15, 2013.

Tenure of fellowship: Nine to twelve months.

Amount of award: $50,000.

Applicants can be conducting research or already be at the writing stage and need reference materials only.