History of Science

Category archives for History of Science

Individualists, Working Together

An article titled “Individualism: The legacy of great physicists,” by Ricardo Heras. crossed my various social media feeds a half-dozen times on Tuesday, so I finally broke down and read it, and I’m puzzled. The argument is very straightforward– single-author publications used to be common, now they’re not, this might indicate a lack of truly…

Historical Physicist Halloween Costumes

It’s that time of year again when people start thinking about Halloween costumes– SteelyKid is apparently planning to re-use her Peter Pan outfit from last year– and the conceptual costumes post from a while back has proved enduringly popular at this time of year. If you’re not into conceptual art, though, maybe some historical cosplay…

Having spent a bunch of time talking about heavy stuff in the science blogging community, let’s unwind a bit and kick the week off with a look back at an old Master’s thesis. This one is from 1932, and is almost certainly a draft copy, because it’s extremely cheaply bound in cardboard with the title…

As noted in a previous post on Monte Carlo simulation in 1960, we recently came into possession of a large box of old Master’s theses. The bulk of these are from the 50′s and 60′s, but there are some going back much farther. As I pass these every day I’m in the office, I thought…

Quantum Crosswords: My TED@NYC Talk

The following is the approximate text of the talk I gave at TED@NYC last night. Approximate, because I’m somewhat prone to ad-libbing when speaking, and may have changed a few things here and there. I don’t really know, because I’m scheduling this post on Tuesday morning, before the actual event, using the draft text I’ve…

We cleared a bunch of space in our deep storage area over the summer, and one of the things we found was a box full of old student theses from the 1950′s and 1960′s. The library already had copies of them, but I thought it was sort of cool to have a look into the…

After a nice, relaxing weekend in Ithaca without the kids, I’ve returned to a crazy hectic Monday, with no free time to blog, despite a couple of things that I vaguely need to post. Lacking time, though, I’ll just give you this image of Condescending Louis de Broglie, an idea that sprang to mind when…

The stupid Steven Pinker business from a few weeks ago turned out to do one good thing after all. It led to this post at Making Science Public, which quoted some books by Jacob Bronowski that sounded relevant to my interests. And, indeed, on checking The Common Sense of Science out of the college library,…

Fun With Simulated Scattering

Two chapters of the book-in-progress will be devoted to the development of the modern understanding of the atom. One of these is about the Bohr model, which turned 100 this year, but Bohr’s model would not have been possible without an earlier experiment. The actual experiment was done by Ernest Marsden and Hans Geiger, but…

Wanted: The Hoosiers of Science

I’ve been revising a chapter on collaboration in science for the book-in-progress, making an analogy to team sports. And it occurred to me as I was trying to find a way to procrastinate, that while science is a highly collaborative endeavor, most of the popular stories that get told about science are not. There’s no…