I’m just back from my trip to Vancouver, where I talked about The Philosophical Breakfast Club in front of two great audiences. On Thursday afternoon I lectured on “The Philosophical Breakfast Club and the Invention of the Scientist” at the University of British Columbia. The talk was sponsored by The UBC Nineteenth-Century Studies Association, the Department of History, and the Science and Technology Studies Graduate Program. It was a very interdisciplinary audience of philosophers, historians, literary scholars, and scientists. Lots of great questions during the Q & A!
The next morning I was interviewed by Susanne Bard for Science Update Radio of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She asked me about the meaning and importance of science for the public good today, and how scientists in the 19th century promoted this idea under the influence of Francis Bacon. I’ll post a link here to the podcast when it is online.
Then I went to take part in a AAAS session on “Creating a Global Knowledge Society: Lessons from History, Philosophy, and Sociology,” organized by my colleague Heather Douglas of The University of Waterloo. I spoke first, on “Global Science and the Public Good in the 19th Century: Tidalogy, Meteorology, and Magnetism.” I discussed the way in which William Whewell and John Herschel spearheaded global science efforts in studying the tides, weather patterns, and terrestrial magnetism, as a way both to gain understanding of the fundamental forces of nature and improve the public good through improvements to navigation.
The other speakers were Alan Richardson of UBC, and Edward Hackett of Arizona State University, with commentary by Heather Douglas. It was a large and engaged audience, and it was nice to see some old friends there, and to meet some readers of The Philosophical Breakfast Club!