Seminars in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology – Week 7, 25th November

Who? Next Monday’s seminar will be given by Dr Jacob Ward, who will be speaking about ‘Thatcherism and the Information Age: How the British Telecom Infrastructure Changed Politics’.

What? ‘In 1984, Margaret Thatcher privatised British Telcom for almost £4 billion, then the largest stock flotation in history. BT’s sale popularised privatisation as a key neoliberal policy in Britain and around the world, showing that governments could successfully sell their national infrastructures to the private sector.

This paper argues that BT’s history cannot simply be understood as an example of politicians transforming infrastructure, but instead shows how information technology has mediated political change. I begin by using institutional sociology and infrastructure studies to argue that political change, like technological change, is not a linear process from idea to action, but instead one that is shaped by infrastructure and institutions like British Telecom.

I show this through a history of how telecom engineers and managers computerized and digitalized BT’s network to protect its monopoly for Britain’s ‘second industrial revolution’, complicating BT’s move from public to private. I conclude by considering how, as infrastructure mediates radical political change, we can approach infrastructure ownership and development for today’s supposed ‘fourth industrial revolution’.

Where? History Faculty Lecture Theatre, George Street, Oxford

When? Monday 25th November 2019, 16:00.

This lecture has been organised by the Oxford Centre for the History of Science, Medicine and Technology as part of the Seminars in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology series.

All welcome to attend!

Opening hours w/b 18th November – UPDATED

Update: Due to staff training, on Thursday 21st the Library will be staffed 3-5pm.

Next week, the History of Medicine Library will be staffed:

Monday 18th: 2.15pm-5pm
Tuesday 19th: 
2.15pm-5pm
Wednesday 20th: 
2.15pm-4.30pm
Thursday 21st:
3pm-5pm
Friday 22nd: 
2.15pm-5pm

The Library’s books on the history of medicine are available to search on SOLO, or you can view our newest arrivals on LibraryThing! New readers are always welcome; if you would like to visit please contact us by email or phone to arrange your appointment.

Have a splendid weekend!

‘The Herball or Generall Historie of Plants’, book, London,. Credit: Science Museum, London. CC BY

Seminars in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology – Week 6, 18th November

Who? Next Monday’s seminar will be given by Dr Simon Mays, who will be speaking about ‘Humanising the past: the case of the skeletons from Stonehenge’.

What? ‘Archaeology lies at the interface between the sciences and the humanities, drawing on traditions of both. In the study human skeletal remains (ostearchaeology), theoretical as well as methodological approaches from the sciences have become dominant. This had led to a narrowing of the discipline. Testing of hypotheses using statistical analyses of large data sets has come to be regarded as the main and, in the eyes of some, the only valid way of conducting osteoarchaeology. In recent years this has begun to be questioned. There is a rise in an osteoarchaeology in which the focus is not on patterns at a population level but rather the construction of narratives of lives of individuals from their skeletons. Such approaches were arguably stimulated by the need to use scientific analyses to present osteoarchaeology to the public in an engaging way. However, the rise of this ‘osteobiographical’ approach may also signal a theoretical realignment in which concepts from the humanities are once again perceived as providing a fruitful basis for osteoarchaeological enquiry. As ever, the difficulty lies in reconciling these ‘two cultures’ in a fruitful way. I will illustrate these points with a study of the osteobiographies of some skeletons from Stonehenge.’

Where? History Faculty Lecture Theatre, George Street, Oxford

When? Monday 18th November 2019, 16:00.

This lecture has been organised by the Oxford Centre for the History of Science, Medicine and Technology as part of the Seminars in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology series.

All welcome to attend!

Opening hours w/b 11th November

Next week, the History of Medicine Library will be staffed:

Monday 11th: Unstaffed
Tuesday 12th: 
2.15pm-5pm
Wednesday 13th: 
2.15pm-4.30pm
Thursday 14th: 
2.15pm-5pm
Friday 15th: 
Unstaffed

The Library’s books on the history of medicine are available to search on SOLO, or you can view our newest arrivals on LibraryThing! New readers are always welcome; if you would like to visit please contact us by email or phone to arrange your appointment.

Have a splendid weekend!

Wellcome library: view of library book stack. Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY

 

Seminars in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology – Week 5, 11th November

Who? Next Monday’s seminar will be given by Professor Harvey Brown (University of Oxford), who will be speaking about ‘What was Einstein’s real achievement in his 1905 theory of special relativity?’

What? ‘Several years before Einstein published his 1905 theory of special relativity, ether theorists had essentially discovered the main relativistic effects predicted by the theory: length contraction, time dilation and the relativity of simultaneity. In this lecture I will argue that Einstein’s work was more than a novel exercise in packaging (providing a “principle” rather than “constructive” approach). It also introduced a completely unprecedented way of understanding the physical meaning of the mathematics of motion.’

Where? History Faculty Lecture Theatre, George Street, Oxford

When? Monday 11th November 2019, 16:00.

This lecture has been organised by the Oxford Centre for the History of Science, Medicine and Technology as part of the Seminars in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology series.

All welcome to attend!

Opening hours w/b 4th November

Next week, the History of Medicine Library will be staffed:

Monday 4th: 2.15pm-5pm
Tuesday 5th: 
2.15pm-5pm
Wednesday 6th: 
2.15pm-4.30pm
Thursday 7th: 
2.15pm-5pm
Friday 8th: 
Unstaffed

The Library’s books on the history of medicine are available to search on SOLO, or you can view our newest arrivals on LibraryThing! New readers are always welcome; if you would like to visit please contact us by email or phone to arrange your appointment.

Have a splendid weekend!

The witch of Endor with a candle. Engraving by J. Kay, 1805, after A. Elsheimer. Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY

Seminars in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology – Week 4, 4th November

UPDATE: Please note the below lecture has now been cancelled. 

Happy Halloween! November is (spookily) almost upon us, so here are the details for the first November lecture…

Who? Next Monday’s seminar will be given by Dr Caitjan Gainty (King’s College London), who will be speaking about ‘Dissecting “Diegelman” (1945): Film, Medicine and the Cinematic Oeuvre of Kurt Goldstein’.

What? ‘This talk uses as an entry point into the discussion of medical cinema the neurological films of Kurt Goldstein, the psychiatrist/neurologist who, like many of his medical colleagues in the first half of the twentieth century, saw the new technology of motion pictures as potentially capable of totally transforming how medicine was done. In exploring what film meant in particular for neurology, the talk will review the movement of cinema into neurologic contexts and explore both the ‘fitness’ of film for neurologic work and the larger cultural and scientific contexts that helped to make motion pictures medically meaningful in the first place.’

Where? History Faculty Lecture Theatre, George Street, Oxford

When? Monday 4th November 2019, 16:00.

This lecture has been organised by the Oxford Centre for the History of Science, Medicine and Technology as part of the Seminars in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology series.

All welcome to attend!

Opening hours w/b 28th October

Next week, the History of Medicine Library will be staffed:

Monday 28th: 2.15pm-5pm
Tuesday 29th: 
2.15pm-5pm
Wednesday 30th: 
2.15pm-4.30pm
Thursday 31st: 
2.15pm-5pm
Friday 1st: 
2.15pm-5pm

The Library’s books on the history of medicine are available to search on SOLO, or you can view our newest arrivals on LibraryThing! New readers are always welcome; if you would like to visit please contact us by email or phone to arrange your appointment.

Have a lovely weekend!

Credit: Octavo books in strong rooms, Wellcome Institute Library. Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY

Seminars in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology – Week 3, 28th October

Who? Next Monday’s seminar will be given by Dr Leonardo Ariel Carrió Cataldi, who will be speaking about ‘Instruments of early modern Iberian empires: towards a critical history of globalisation’.

What? ‘My paper will present the first outputs of a new project which tackles the crucial but unexamined tension between measuring and orientation tools used by Europe’s Old Regime societies – which bear a strong local and regional stamp – and the universal expansionist ambitions of their empires. Situated at the crossroad of history of science and technology and intellectual and social approaches, for the occasion of the HSMT seminar, I will select some significant case studies, from a wide range of sources (navigational instruments, travelogues, maps, clocks, calendars and nautical and cosmographical treatises) related to the Iberian world and its early modern territorial expansion in a comparative approach with other empires.’

Where? History Faculty Lecture Theatre, George Street, Oxford

When? Monday 28th October 2019, 16:00.

This lecture has been organised by the Oxford Centre for the History of Science, Medicine and Technology as part of the Seminars in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology series.

All welcome to attend!

Opening hours w/b 21st October

In Week 2, the History of Medicine Library will be staffed:

Monday and Tuesday: 2.15pm-5pm
Wednesday: 2.15pm-4.30pm
Thursday and Friday: 2.15pm-5pm

The Library’s books on the history of medicine are available to search on SOLO, or you can view our newest arrivals on LibraryThing! New readers are always welcome; if you would like to visit please contact us by email or phone to arrange your appointment.

Have a splendid weekend!

The British Museum: the incunabula room of the library, with a member of staff fetching books [?]. Wood engraving, possibly after I. Jewitt. Credit: Wellcome CollectionCC BY