42nd Scientific Instrument Symposium

Scientific Instrument Commission

18. - 22. September 2023
Palermo, Italy

Through Ages, Cultures, Concepts: Instruments in Collections, Books, Archives

Scientific Instruments have crossed time and space: they witness the knowledge that was characteristic of the epoch and civilization in which they were built and used. What is a scientific instrument? Which concept is behind it? How did it evolve in different centuries and geographical areas? How did it interact with its cultural context? Which role did it play?

The annually symposium usually focused on physical collections, in museums and in other institutions, but it is equally interesting to reflect on the representations of scientific instruments in different contexts, from fine arts to cinema, from textbooks to catalogues and archives, where drawings or descriptions of instruments are sometimes hidden in notebooks or correspondence, sometimes revealing unexpected connections.

In memory of Paolo Brenni, the symposium will pay special attention to conservation and restoration of scientific instruments and the importance of preserving this specific kind of heritage.

In continuity with the last Symposia of the Scientific Instrument Commission (SIC), the organisers want to invite new scholars, open to new methods and new approaches to instruments, and aim to extend their geographical reach, possibly to countries bordering the Mediterranean basin, to learn about historical collections there.

For the upcoming 42nd SIC Symposium in Palermo, you are invited to reflect on these and other issues related to scientific instrument studies. All proposals for sessions, papers or posters on any topic dealing with the history of scientific instruments are welcomed.


In order to register, you must fill-in a registration form which will be available on the website of the conference (in preparation); when registration opens, a notice will be circulated.

Travel grants

We have a limited number of fixed amount travel grants available for postgraduate students and early career scholars (within 5 years of completion of studies). We are particularly keen to support those who have not attended the SIC Symposium before, or those who are currently under-represented within our community. We will announce the call for travel grant applications on the Rete mailing list in April 2023.

Veröffentlicht am 12.01.2023