Summer School on History of Physics: „Scientific Instruments and Environmental Physics“
Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge
20. - 24. August 2018
University of Cambridge
This Summer School will survey the history of scientific instruments and seeks to contribute to the understanding of the development of recent climate science by exploring the role played by the physical sciences. Climate change has been an important concern for historians of science since the mid-1990s. There have been foundational accounts of the discovery of global warming and subtle portraits of changing views of climate and place over time, along with detailed studies of the history of meteorology and the rise of numerical modelling, and vital accounts of climate discourse and scepticism. Underlying this scholarship are abiding concerns with the diverse ways that climate has forced reassessments of scale, demanded new engagements between local histories and global measures, and engaged different sorts of audiences.
Alongside these accounts are a range of studies that consider how instruments and tools of science have been deployed in the field to gather data in the service of such global projects. These accounts link supposedly metropolitan physical sciences with stories of empire and expose the challenges of making instruments work in remote locations. Our studies will thus help engage histories of physics creatively with the issues important in understanding the implications of global warming in distinctively different locales - and should interest those working in meteorology, history and geography, as well as the history and philosophy of science.
The Summer School sessions will focus on various scientific tools and techniques, including those used to investigate and represent the climate, linking scientific inquiry to the development and trade in specialist instruments. There will be visits to the Museum of the History of Science at Oxford and to the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.
The Summer School will be held in the historic surroundings of Brasenose College at the University of Oxford. Registration to attend the Summer School with payment of the registration fee of £195 which will also include the cost of all lunches and dinners can be done through the website by the registration deadline of Friday 30th March 2018.
Bed and breakfast accommodation in rooms at Brasenose College for the duration of the Summer School can be booked and paid for through the website using the code HAPP2018 before selecting the Summer School dates. (We recommend applying soon to make sure you get one of the on-site rooms at Brasenose.)
There will be visits to the Museum of the History of Science at Oxford and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory as part of the programme. A limited number of bursaries to cover the registration fee are available to students and postdoctoral researchers from developing countries - to apply please send a request or any queries to .
Participating faculty include Rob Iliffe (Oxford), Richard Staley (Cambridge), Gregory Good (AIP), Sarah Dry (Independent Scholar), Matthias Heymann (Aarhus), Mike Hulme (Cambridge), Boris Jardine (Cambridge), Joshua Nall (Cambridge), Simon Schaffer (Cambridge).