Dibner names fellows


The Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology has announced the appointment of eight senior, six postdoctoral, one science writer and seven graduate student fellows for 2005-06.

Senior fellows and their research topics are:

Bruno Belhoste, professeur d'histoire contemporaine, University Paris X-Nanterre, will study the effects of labs, institutions, schools and major local scientific figures on the scientific activity in Paris at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries.

Karine Chemla, directrice de recherche at the French National Center for Scientific Research, will work on a book in English examining Chinese mathematics of 2,000 years ago.

David Friedman, professor in the history, theory and criticism section of MIT's Department of Architecture, plans a book on the early methods of geometric survey, the development of maps of urban design, and the accuracy of the instruments used.

Ben Marsden, lecturer in cultural history, University of Aberdeen, Scotland, will work on "W. J. Macquorn Rankine and the Making of Engineering Science."

Giovanni Paoloni, professor of studies on cultural heritage at University La Tuscia in Viterbo, Italy, will work on "Vito Volterra and his American Correspondents."

Carl Posy, a philosophy professor at Hebrew University, will work on "Kantian Mathematical Themes: A Pair of Chapters in 18th and 19th Century Mathematics."

Glen Van Brummelen, a mathematics professor at Bennington College, plans to write a scientific history of trigonometry from Hipparchus to Fourier.

David Wilson, a history professor at Iowa State University, will conduct research for a biography of William Whewell.

Postdoctoral fellows and their research topics are:

Sandro Caparrini, mathematics professor at the University of Turin, will write about the direct influence of mechanics and geometry on the development of vector calculus.

Matthew Harpster is finishing his dissertation at Texas A& M University; he plans to examine five ancient shipwrecks and trace the development of design methods as recorded in two 15th century Italian treatises.

Jeremiah James is completing his Ph.D. at Harvard University. He will work on his dissertation on Linus Pauling and begin work on the history of X-ray crystallography.

Martin Niss, who will receive his Ph.D. this spring in the history of physics from the University of Roskilde, Denmark. The title of his proposed project is "Mathematics as a Constraint and the Impact of New Techniques on Modeling Practices in Solid State Physics."

There are two second year postdoctoral fellows. Claire Calcagno received her Ph.D. in archaeology from Oxford University and was recently a Visiting Scholar in MIT's Program in Science, Technology and Society. Her research focuses on Harold Edgerton's contributions to maritime archaeology. Takashi Nishiyama received his Ph.D. from The Ohio State University in 2004. He is exploring the technology transfer from aeronautics to the high-speed bullet train in post-World War II Japan.

The science writer fellow is Deborah Cramer, who is working on "Cholera: The New Face of an Old Disease."

The graduate student fellows are: Alexander Brown, a student in MIT's Program in Science, Technology and Society; Dimitri Constant, a Ph.D. candidate at Boston University; Jean François Gauvin, a doctoral candidate at Harvard University; Peter Shulman, a student in MIT's Program in Science, Technology and Society; Jenny Leigh Smith, a student in MIT's Program in Science, Technology and Society; Elly Truitt, a doctoral candidate at Harvard University; and Anya Zilberstein, a student in MIT's Program in Science, Technology and Society.

For more information, visit dibinst.mit.edu.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on June 8, 2005 (download PDF).


Topics: History

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