Announcements and reports of events

Writing Biography in New York City Next Monday

I’m looking forward to my event next week at St. John’s University. I will be discussing the challenges of writing biography—especially four intertwined biographies of men who each lived rich and productive lives!—as well as the joys of living “with” such fascinating people for so many years. The event, on Monday, April 30 from 12:15–1:40, will be held on the campus of St. John’s University in Queens, New York, and is free and open to the public. Lunch will also be served. For more information, or to register, email or call 718-990-1859.

See the announcement of the talk here.

The Philosophical Breakfast Club at the Arnold Arboretum: May 9

The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University has put out a lovely poster advertising my upcoming talk:

Breakfast Club at Arnold Arboretum

I am looking forward to my visit to the Arboretum, and would love to see friends and fans of The Philosophical Breakfast Club there.

Cambridge in America Event: May 3rd

The Cambridge in America group has put a nice announcement of my May 3rd “Food for Thought” luncheon on their website (it’s the second screen that appears after you get onto the site; or you can click here for the direct link).

I’m very excited about the opportunity to meet fellow Cambridge alumni and their guests over lunch! And I’m very pleased that we will be meeting in the Century Association, a London-style club founded in 1847 by William Cullen Bryant which was intended for “Artists, Literary Men, Scientists, Physicians, Officers of the Army and Navy, members of the Bench and Bar, Engineers, Clergymen, Representatives of the Press, Merchants and men of leisure.” (The club finally began to admit women members in 1989.) So it will be an occasion to chat about The Philosophical Breakfast Club in an actual club! I look forward to seeing friends and fans of the book on May 3rd.

April Events

I’d like to remind everyone of an upcoming event: A Writing Biography Luncheon, at which I will be talking about the challenges—and the joys—of writing The Philosophical Breakfast Club. This will be held on Monday, April 30th at St. John’s University in Queens, New York at 12:15pm. The event is free and open to the public (and lunch will be served!). To register, and get directions to the event, please email or call (718)990-1859. For more information, see the poster below.

Writing Biography Poster

I am also sorry to announce that the lecture scheduled for Thursday, April 19th at the Brookhaven National Labs has been postponed, new date TBA. I invite all Long Island fans of The Philosophical Breakfast Club to join me in Queens on the 30th instead!

Science Update Podcast

When I was in Vancouver a few weeks ago, I did a taped interview for Science Update Radio of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The podcast is now online and can be heard here. (Look on the left menu: it’s the March 8 segment, “Science for Society.”)

Interesting to see what one sentence they pulled out from my 15 minute interview for the short broadcast! Of course I would have liked it if William Whewell’s name had made it in there (also “the philosophical breakfast club,” referred to only as a “group of scientists in the 19th century”) but at least Francis Bacon was name-checked! And it’s great to have a little historical segment sandwiched in between those on cutting-edge research in scientific fields. Thanks to Susanne Bard and her colleagues at Science Update Radio!

Three Upcoming Events in New York

I am happy to announce that I have three upcoming events in the greater New York City area.  On Thursday, April 19th at 4pm I will be speaking about the members of the philosophical breakfast club at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island as part of their Women in Science lecture series.  That event is free and open to the public.  I’ll be posting information here as soon as Brookhaven gets the listing up on their website.

On Monday, April 30th I will be discussing the writing process in general, and how I came to write The Philosophical Breakfast Club, at a Writing Biography Workshop held at St. John’s University.  There will be copies of The Philosophical Breakfast Club for sale, and I will be signing books after the discussion (bring copies you already own if you like!). The event is from 12:15–1:40pm.  I’ve just been told that a larger room for the event has been found, so we are able to open this up to non-faculty members!  If anyone would like to be on the list for admission to that event, please contact me and I’ll arrange it.

Finally, on Thursday, May 3, I’ll be the speaker at a “Food for Thought” luncheon sponsored by the Cambridge in America alumni group.  Besides lunch, a talk about the book and a book signing, there will be time to mingle and chat informally.  It should be fun!  This event is open to alumni of Cambridge University and their guests.  I’ll post registration information here when the event is up on the CIA website.

And then I’ll be off to Boston for the event at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard on the 9th, as previously announced.  It will be a busy spring!

I’m looking forward to all these opportunities to meet readers of The Philosophical Breakfast Club!

Lecture Tour in Vancouver

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!

Dibner Lecture at Smithsonian Now Available Online

The video of my Dibner Library Lecture in December is now available online, here.

Although it was dark in the room, and I had to wear the microphone power-pack on the back of my collar, you can see and hear me well. The audio/visual folks did a great job!

I really enjoyed giving this talk—it was such an engaged audience! Thanks again to the Smithsonian Institution for the invitation, and to everyone who braved the torrential rain to attend.

Two Upcoming Talks in Vancouver

I am getting ready for my trip out West next week. I will be giving two talks on The Philosophical Breakfast Club in Vancouver. On Thursday, February 16th, I will be lecturing on “The Philosophical Breakfast Club and the Invention of the Scientist” to the Nineteenth-Century Studies Group at the University of British Columbia—an interdisciplinary faculty and graduate student consortium. (For further information on the talk, which is free and open to the public, see here.)

Then, the next morning, on Friday February 17, I will be part of a panel on “Creating a Global Knowledge Society: Lessons from History, Philosophy, and Sociology” at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. My talk, “Global Science and the Public Good: Tidalogy, Meteorology, and Magnetism,” will address the way that William Whewell and John Herschel, inspired by their Sunday morning philosophical breakfasts and Francis Bacon’s writings, spearheaded international research on the tides, weather and terrestrial magnetism. See here for more information.

It should be an exciting and busy two days!

Dibner Library Lecture Featured in HSS Newsletter

The most recent edition of the History of Science Society newsletter highlighted the Dibner Library Lecture I delivered in December. If you scroll to the bottom you will find a link to the other Dibner Library Lectures that are available on the website of the Smithsonian Institution, those by Joyce Chaplin, Albert Van Helden, Ken Alder, Anthony Grafton, Owen Gingerich, and others.

You can read the article here.

The written version of my lecture will be available online as well. I am currently working with the head of special collections at the Smithsonian, Lilla Verkedy, to find images from their books and other materials that we can use to illustrate the lecture. It should be lovely when it is finished!