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Dibner Institute appoints Fellows for 1998-99

The Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology has appointed thirteen resident, one visiting and seven postdoctoral Fellows for 1998-99. They come from several nations and pursue many different aspects of the history of science and technology.

The following are the names and planned research projects of the new Dibner Institute Resident Fellows:

Xiang Chen, Department of Philosophy, California Lutheran University. "Instruments as Material Paradigms: Experimental Apparatus in the Optical Revolution."

Kelly DeVries, associate professor, Department of History, Loyola College. "Devils from Hell: Gunpowder Weaponry During the Hundred Years War."

Moritz Epple, assistant professor for the history of mathematics and exact sciences, University of Mainz, Germany. His Dibner research will continue his work on the emergence of topology.

Juliet Floyd, associate professor of philosophy, Boston University. She plans to complete a book on the historical and philosophical significance of Ludwig Wittgenstein's discussions of mathematics and logic.

Alan Franklin, professor of physics, University of Colorado. "Death by a Thousand Cuts: Selectivity and the Production of Experimental Results."

Kostas Gavroglu, professor in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Athens. At the Dibner Institute he plans to work on two projects: the final stages of a book on the history of quantum chemistry, and research for a project entitled "The Sciences in the European Periphery During the Enlightenment."

Alexander Jones, professor in the Department of Classics and IHPST at the University of Toronto. At the Dibner Institute he will explore Ptolemy's Geography, the only book on cartography to have survived from classical antiquity.

Andrew Pickering, professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He will work on a book titled History of Cybernetics.

Nicolas Rasmussen, University of New South Wales, Australia. He will study American plant physiologists in the 1920s-1940s and their links to the biotechnology industry.

Leonard S. Reich, professor of science, technology and society and administrative science at Colby College. He will work on a book about transportation in American history titled On Wheels, Wings and Waves.

Katherine Rinne, associate fellow, Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia. She will continue to develop a CD-ROM prototype entitled "Aquae Urbis Romae: the Waters of the City of Rome," an interdisciplinary study of hydrology, topography and urban form that explores the city's 2,800-year water history.

Friedrich Steinle, research fellow, Max-Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin. He plans to continue work on a book titled The Formative Period of Electromagnetism 1820-ca. 1833.

Nicolas Wey-Gomez, assistant professor of Hispanic studies at MIT. "The Old Science in the New World: Scholastic Science and Moral Philosophy in the Spanish Colonial Americas."

Appointed as a Dibner Institute Visiting Fellow is Lis Brack-Bernsen. She has taught at the Universities of Copenhagen and Aarhus in Denmark and is the author of articles on the history of ancient astronomy. While at the Dibner Institute, she will work on interpreting Babylonian lunar text TU 11.

The Dibner Institute has made the following postdoctoral fellowship appointments:

Arne Hessenbruch, a visiting lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania. His project is a book, Reception of the Theory of Radioactive Disintegration.

Christophe Lecuyer recently completed his dissertation at Stanford University. His Dibner project is "From the Lab to the Fab: Physics Research, Manufacturing Practice, and Ion Implantation at High Voltage Engineering Corporation and Fairchild Semiconductor, 1962-1978."

Reviel Netz, research fellow and affiliated lecturer, Cambridge University. He expects to write a brief volume, An Introduction to Cognitive History.

Richard Sorrenson, assistant professor at Indiana University. He will continue work on his manuscript, Visible Technicians: The Pursuit of Natural Philosophy by Mathematical and Optical Instrument Makers in 18th-Century England.

Klaus Staubermann completed his dissertation at Cambridge University. He will analyze the debate between two leading astrophotometrists, G. M������ller in Potsdam and E. Pickering at Harvard College Observatory.

John Michael Steele will investigate the lunar and planetary records contained in the "Astronomical Diaries" kept by Babylonian astronomers from mid-eighth century BC to the beginning of the Christian era. He also plans to study East Asian, European and Babylonian records of meteors.

Benno van Dalen, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellow, Institut f������r Geschichte der Naturwissen-schaften, Frankfurt, Germany. He will work on a manuscript tentatively titled The Activities of Muslim Astronomers in China During the Mongolian Yuan Dynasty (1260-1368).

The Dibner Institute has also reappointed Noah Efron, Tal Golan, David McGee and James Voelkel to a second year as postdoctoral fellows and announced that fellowship awards have been made to 11 PhD candidates enrolled in programs at three Dibner Institute consortium-member institutions: host institution MIT, Boston University and Harvard University.

MIT awardees are Babak Ashrafi, Edward A. Eigen, Gregory J. Galer, Diane Greco, Hannah Landecker andRobert Martello. Harvard awardees are Peder Anker and Andrew Robertson. Those from Boston University are Rosalind Carey, John Symons and Gerald A. Ward.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 13, 1998.

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