History of Science & Technology. (Abstracts-2003 Annual Meetings)

Michigan Academician, Spring 2003 | Go to article overview

History of Science & Technology. (Abstracts-2003 Annual Meetings)


Scientific Communication Patterns in 1885-1925: The Leverett-Taylor Papers. Diane Baclawski, Michigan State University, Geology Library, East Lansing, MI 48824-1115

The processes of scientific discovery have remained consistent over the last few hundred years, but the communication processes among and between scientists have changed considerably over the last one hundred years. Although communication was far less dependent on technology in 1900, considerable use was made of every available communication/transportation mode. During the period between 1885 and 1925, glaciologists in the Midwest were discovering and interpreting the glacial history of Michigan and the Great Lakes. They recorded their observations in field notebooks and exchanged information in hundreds of letters. Michigan State University Libraries maintains an archive of 1,100 letters written by Leverett, Taylor, Lane, Winchell, Chamberlin, and other glacialists, as well as the copies of the field notebooks for Michigan by Frank Leverett. Ar a time when travel was more difficult, and communication was dependent primarily on U.S. mail and telegraph, the letters record observations, exchange data, describe field work and problems, request assistance, and provide a forum for testing hypotheses.

Advocating Scientific Information. Kathleen Fleming, Wayne State University, Science & Engineering Library, 5048 Gullen Mall, Detroit, MI 48202

Science, technology, and medicine have always been reliant on the work and efforts of individuals who observed, studied, and recorded the results of their scientific endeavors. The act of recording guarantees that intellectual efforts will be available to others at a distance in either time or space, and it is this cumulative knowledge that allows discovery to proceed. Samuel Cox Hooker, a chemist in the late nineteenth century noted: "When entering upon new work, all the literature bearing upon the subject should be available for study by the investigator" (Hooker 1928). Hooker believed this so strongly that during his lifetime he built a magnificent chemistry library. In 1936 Dr. Neil Gordon, founder of the Cordon Research Conferences, learned that this impressive collection was up for sale and convinced Hooker's heirs to sell this chemical library to Central College in Fayette, Missouri. In 1942, Dr. Gordon became the chair of the Chemistry Department at Wayne University and eventually brought the Hooker Scientific Library to Detroit. In addition to use of the collection, the library offered translating, abstracting, and literature reviewing services. These services ended in 1970, but the legacy of Hooker and efforts of Cordon continue to the benefit of science.

Teaching the "Scholastic Method" by Glossing Early Medical Texts. Sheldon J. Kopperl, Grand Valley State University, Biomedical Sciences Department, 369 Padnos Hall, Allendale, MI 49401; kopperl@gvsu.edu

Survey courses in the history of science and/or technology discuss the teaching! learning methods of the medieval university as part of the role of the liberal arts during late medieval times. To make the point clear and to allow students to express themselves in styles they are most comfortable with, we have designed projects involving the actual preparation of "glossed" authoritative texts from medieval and ancient secular (e.g., Hippocrates) and religious (e.g., relevant parts of the Babylonian Talmud [c. 400 C.E.]) "authorities." This paper discusses examples of the benefits and difficulties our students encounter with their unexpected "creative freedom" as they work on these projects. A case study from the Talmud will be discussed in detail.

Astronomy at Albion College, 1875-1940. Keith Snedegar, Utah Valley State College, History & Political Science, 1235 West 1295 South, Orem, UT 84058-2232

A small Methodist institution with no particularly distinctive program of scientific study, Albion College sought to enhance its academic reputation through the construction of an astronomical observatory in 1884. …

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