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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.

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!

Photos from Dibner Library Lecture

I finally have some photos from the Dibner Library Lecture. The lecture took place in a lovely room in the Smithsonian Castle. It used to be the library, and you can see bookshelves lining the walls. These are now used as display cases; each member institution of the Smithsonian gets to put a representative display in one of the cases.

(This was taken about an hour before the lecture began. The hosts had received so many RSVPs for the lecture that they set up about 100 seats, most of which were full by the time I began speaking!)

There were numerous rather large and looming examples of 19th-early 20th century taxidermy arrayed on top of the cases:

And here I am during the talk, probably explaining the finer points of how the members of the Philosophical Breakfast Club brought about the invention of the modern scientist (either that, or describing how much they ate and drank at their breakfasts!).

It was great fun! I especially enjoyed the Q & A afterwards—what a smart and engaged audience!

Reminder: Dibner Lecture, Washington DC, December 6

I wanted to remind D.C.-area friends and fans of The Philosophical Breakfast Club that I will be delivering the Dibner Library Lecture at the Smithsonian Castle Commons next Tuesday, December 6, at 5pm. The lecture is free and open to the public, and will be followed by a reception. I’d love to see you all there!

They made up a lovely program for the lecture; view it here.

Dibner Library Lecture Press Release

The Smithsonian Institution has posted its press release announcing my Dibner Library Lecture here.

Dibner Library Lecture, December 6, 2011

I am excited to announce that I will be delivering the Dibner Library Lecture at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, December 6, 2011. Last year’s Dibner Library Lecturer was Richard Holmes, author of The Age of Wonder; previous lecturers include Anthony Grafton (Princeton), Joyce Chaplin (Harvard), Owen Gingerich (Harvard-Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory), Katherine Park (Harvard) and many other distinguished scholars in the history of science.

I will speak on “The Philosophical Breakfast Club and the Invention of the Scientist.” The lecture will be held in the Smithsonian Castle Commons/Schermer Hall at 5pm, followed by a reception. It is free and open to the public. I hope to see many friends and fans of The Philosophical Breakfast Club there!

The Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology opened in 1976. Its core collection of 10,000 rare books and 1000 manuscript groups came to the Smithsonian from the Burndy Library, founded by Bern Dibner. The collection includes some of the most important scientific texts spanning the 15th to the early 20th centuries. The Dibner Lecture was begun in 1992, and since 2000 the lectures become available in published form and also on the Smithsonian Institution’s website.

More to follow, when the Smithsonian makes its official announcement!