History of Science and Technology

By Clark, Russell | Michigan Academician, Winter 2009 | Go to article overview

History of Science and Technology


Clark, Russell, Michigan Academician


The abstracts were edited by section leader, Russell Clark.

The Early History of Wine. Christiane L Joost-Gaugier, Wayne State University, Department of Art and Art History

The aim of my project is to discover the origins and ancient history of wine and wine making based on the evidence of ancient literature. While there have been attempts to define this early history based on one geographical area or another, or based on archaeological evidence which in turn is based on the interpretation of surviving objects, these have been incomplete since there has not, to my knowledge, been a broad study of the literary evidence in general. Although the grape vine may have been known since Neolithic times, I consider what the written word tells us about viticulture, that is, its translation into a fermented beverage that took its place in the history of classical culture. To this end, I am studying the literatures of Egypt, ancient, classical, and post-classical Greece, Rome, Late Antiquity, and Early Christian times as well as the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. From this wide-ranging study I am hoping to construct a history of wine-making including its uses, marketing, and development - from its first mentions to its establishment as an essential ingredient of civilization.

From Chromosome to Gene: The History of Tumor Suppressor Genes. Rosalyn M. Sweeting, Saginaw Valley State University, Department of Biology

Tumor suppressor genes play an important role in regulating the cell cycle and normal cell behavior. In cancer cells, these genes are inactivated either by deletion, mutation or epigenetic modification. The discovery of tumor suppressor genes began in the 1970's when experiments on laboratory animals showed that the fusion of tumor cells with normal cells resulted in non-tumorigenic hybrids. Human genetics provided another clue to the existence of tumor suppressor genes as individuals with specific congenital chromosome abnormalities, namely deletions, are particularly susceptible to the development of certain types of childhood cancer. The significance of this association was reinforced by the finding of similar cytogenetic abnormalities in some samples of identical tumors from normal children. Molecular studies revealed an even higher incidence of these genetic changes in these tumors and, in addition, showed that the same region on the homologous chromosome was also affected, leading to the total loss of genetic material. These investigations also demonstrated that genomic imprinting played a role in gene inactivation in these tumors. Subsequent molecular analyses led to the identification of specific genes, the loss or inactivation of which is crucial to tumor development.

Visual Engineering: Mid-20th c. Power Systems and Electronics' Impact upon a 21st c. Artist. Michael R. Mosher, Saginaw Valley State University, Department of Art

Raymond F. Mosher (1906-2000), Professional Engineer and UM Professor of Electrical Engineering 1957-75, left a substantial archive and library to his son, this paper's author. This included textbooks from student days at MIT (BS '29, MS '30), ephemera and technical publications from the Western Massachusetts Electric Company, Bell Labs and General Electric Corporation in the 1930s and 1940s, plus university textbooks and magazines from the 1950s through 1970s.

Yet the author is an artist, not an engineer, so the archive (largely obsolete for contemporary engineering purposes) gets examined to inspire the generation of artworks, not the generation and transmission of electricity. In 2001, and again in 2007-2008, the artist investigated electrical imagery, from coal-fired power plants, substations, generators and turbines, to control panels, motors and their parts, which found their way into paintings and drawings.

From 1985 to the present, he has also employed the schematic imagery of classical electronics--resistors, capacitors, batteries, ground, coils, lamps, switches, plus diodes, triodes, pentodes--in pseudo-circuits that link figures. …

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