History of Science and Technology

Michigan Academician, Winter 2008 | Go to article overview

History of Science and Technology


An Overview of Papers and Documents of the Behaviorist, Theodore Christian Schnierla, Housed at the Archives of History of American Psychology. Gary M. Lange, Saginaw Valley State University, Department of Biology, University Center, MI 48710

Mid-Michigan born and raised, Theodore Christian Schneirla became a leader in the field of behavior and neuropsychology in the 1950s and 1960s. Unfortunately, following his death in 1968, only one book of selected articles written by Dr. Schnierla was published. In this talk, a description of the 10.5 linear feet of records, with glimpses into their information is described. This work is part of a series of efforts into discerning the work life and accomplishments of this great Michigan native and world-renowned scientist.

An Overview of the History of Obesity Measures and Standards. Rose M. Lange, Saginaw Valley State University, Department of Nursing, University City, MI, 48710

The incidence of obesity in the U.S. is at epidemic levels (Legal, 1999). Over half of adults are overweight or obese, with an 80% increase in women with Body Mass Indexes >40 (Grundy et al, 1999; Leermakers et al, 2000). Is the current Body Mass Index measure presenting a clear picture of obesity in the United States? This presentation provides an historical accounting of obesity measurements and standards with emphasis on the effects these measures have on society's perception of obesity. Different measures of ideal body weight and lean body weight will be presented.

An Analysis of "Irreducible Complexity" in the History of Science. Donald J. Weinshank, Michigan State University, Department of Computer Science & Engineering, Lansing, MI 48824

We will look briefly at the claim by Intelligent Design advocates that many questions are unanswerable with the domain of science, referring to "15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense" in the July, 2002 Scientific American. We will then look at historical precedents for this claim, beginning with inscription on the lid of the Wereshnepher sarcophagus from the early Ptolemaic Period (380-300 BCE). In each case, we will examine the consequences which would have inexorable occurred, had such non-mechanistic views been final. Finally, we will examine the issue in terms of Michael Ruse's argument that Intelligent Design is a "science stopper."

The Periodic Classification of the Elements: Mendeleev and Imperial Russia. Deborah R. Huntley, Saginaw Valley State University, Department of Chemistry, University Center, MI 48710

Long before there was any theoretical understanding of the properties of the elements, chemists devised empirical classification schemes. Efforts to categorize the elements emerged more or less simultaneously in England, France, the United States, Germany, and Russia. Dmitrii Mendeleev developed the most sophisticated classification scheme, which has evolved into the modern periodic table, around 1870. At the time of his development of the periodic table, Mendeleev was beginning his career as a professor of chemistry in St. Petersburg, Russia. Despite his youth and the competing classification schemes, Mendeleev was so confident of his periodic system that he brashly predicted the existence of three undiscovered elements. His predictions were verified within a few years and it is his classification system, although not his original format, that graces every chemistry classroom in the world today. Mendeleev's scheme will be discussed in the context of 19th century science and the latter years of Imperial Russia.

The History of Chiropractic Education in Michigan. Ralph C. Gordon, Michigan State University, Pediatrics and Human Development, Lansing, MI 48824; Western Michigan University, Department of History, Kalamazoo, MI 49008

After the Civil War there was a turning away from "heroic medicine" with patients subjected to excessive and dangerous treatments such as bloodletting, purging and vomiting. …

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