First Circular and Call for Papers


XXVI Symposium of the Scientific Instrument Commission 6-11 September 2007 Cambridge, Massachusetts

Sponsored jointly by the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, Department of the History of Science, Harvard University MIT Museum, Massachusetts Institute of Technology IUHPS Scientific Instrument Commission

Harvard and MIT are very pleased to host the XXVI Symposium of the Scientific Instrument Commission of the International Union for the History and Philosophy of Science in September 2007.

This conference is open to anyone interested in the history, preservation, documentation, or use of scientific instruments. Graduate students are especially encouraged to attend, and we anticipate being able to offer some modest travel support to them.


The primary theme for the conference will be “Scientific Instrumentation on the Frontier.” We encourage papers on related topics, such as: — colonial science and its instruments — provincial versus metropolitan instrument makers — instrumentation taken on voyages of exploration or on scientific expeditions (e.g., apparatus used on ships sailing to the New World, on Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery, or on quests into outer space or within the brain) — “Science, the Endless Frontier,” Vannevar Bush’s report, 1945, and affects of science policy on instrumentation.

As a secondary theme, we encourage debate on the question, “Are Historical Scientific Instruments Relevant to Modern Scientific Researchers?”

Proposals for papers, posters, or sessions on other topics are also welcome. Details on the submission of abstracts and deadline (30 June 2007) will be posted on the conference website.

============================================================ Preliminary Program

Thurs. Sept 6, At Harvard Afternoon Registration CHSI Exhibitions Behind-the-scenes tours of CHSI optional walking tours: Harvard College Observatory or Glass Flowers at Harvard Museum of Natural History Evening Opening Reception

Fri. Sept. 7, At Harvard Morning Papers Afternoon Papers Innovation Odyssey Tour (bus tour of Boston area historical landmarks of science, medicine, and engineering)

Sat. Sept 8, At MIT Morning Papers Afternoon Papers Walking tours of MIT Labs and Stata Center Evening MIT Museum Exhibitions Behind-the-scenes tours of MIT Museum Reception

Sun. Sept 9, Full-day Excursion New England Wireless and Steam Museum Scientific instruments at the Peabody Museum and Medical Library, Yale University

Mon. Sept 10, At Harvard Morning Papers Afternoon Papers Excursion to Peabody Essex Museum, Salem Evening Conference Banquet: Traditional New England Clambake

Tues. Sept 11 Optional Activities Excursion (full-day): Woods Hole, Cape Cod Hands-on Workshop (half-day): Tools and Techniques of Traditional Instrument Makers


Conference Hotel

The official conference hotel will be the [email protected] (<” target=”_new”>> It is on the MIT campus (two blocks from the MIT Museum), within walking distance to the Charles River and Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood, and close to public transportation to Harvard Square and other attractions.

Discounted room rates are $209 per night (single or double) plus 12.45% tax. Conference discounts extend three days before and three days after the Symposium. Please mention the “Scientific Instrument Symposium” room block when you make your reservation. The deadline for booking is 7 August 2007.

To make a reservation at the [email protected]: ___Telephone: 1-617-577-0200 ___Email: <mailto:[email protected]>[email protected] ___Online: Go to <” target=_blank>> Click on Reservations (bottom left of screen). This will take you to a / [email protected] joint website. Follow instructions to select dates, smoking preferences, bed type and number. Enter

[code to be announced soon] for the group code.

Because of our beautiful autumns and the large number of colleges in Boston, September is high season for hotels. We have made every effort to get you the best discount in Cambridge, but those with a car may wish to stay at suburban hotels. Those without a car may want to share rooms with friends or check out special rates at local bed & breakfasts and smaller hotels. You can find a list at <” target=”_new”>> or <” target=”_new”>>

Conference Banquet

The conference dinner will be a festive and traditional New England clambake. A regional specialty, the menu will include clam chowder, steamed clams or mussels, boiled lobster, corn on the cob, salad, and dessert. A vegetarian alternative will be also available.

Optional Activities

Tuesday, September 11, is set aside for the following organized activities. Additional charges apply.

Excursion: Woods Hole, Cape Cod (full-day)

Enjoy a day on Cape Cod exploring Woods Hole and its world-famous ocean-science laboratories. We will arrange special tours of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the Marine Biological Laboratory, visit research vessels at the dock, and see the special vehicles and instruments used for deep sea exploration. (fee, $45, lunch not included)

Hands-On Workshop: Tools and Techniques of Traditional Instrument Makers (half-day)

Participants in this workshop will make (and take home) a small brass navigator’s quadrant using traditional hand tools and techniques for layout, scribing, and punching. Tools and materials will be provided. The workshop will be led by Rich Paselk and Michael Wright. It is supported by a grant from the Robert A. Paselk Scientific Instrument Museum. Enrollment limited to 24. (fee, $20)

Conferees may also choose on their own to explore Boston or to go on a whale watch. Suggestions and advice will be available from the local organizers or on the conference website.


Online registration using a credit card will be available at the conference website by the second week in January.

Full registration for the conference includes all excursions and tours, receptions, lunches, and coffee breaks from Thursday to Monday, September 6-10, plus conference materials, publications, and a souvenir tote bag. Registration for an accompanying person includes group excursions, tours, and evening receptions. The conference banquet on Monday night, September 10, has a separate fee. The deadline for early registration is May 1.

Full Registration: $325 (before May 1) $400 (after May 1) Accompanying Person: $225 (before May 1) $300 (after May 1)

Conference Banquet: $75 per person (choice of clambake or vegetarian)

Optional activities on Tuesday, September 11:

Excursion to Woods Hole $45 per person Hands-On Workshop (quadrant) $20 per person

For Further Information

Conference Website:

Mailing Address:

SIC XXVI 2007 Department of the History of Science Science Center 371 Harvard University 1 Oxford Street Cambridge, MA 02138 U.S.A.

Telephone: 1-617-496-6436 Fax: 617-496-5932

Logistical Organizer: Marcus Dahmen <mailto:[email protected]>[email protected] 1-617-496-6436

Program Organizers: Sara J. Schechner <mailto:[email protected]>[email protected] 1-617-496-9542 Deborah Douglas <mailto:[email protected]>[email protected] 1-617-253-1766