Dr Patrica Fara
Dear BSHS members
We held our Spring Council meeting on Saturday 6th, and so I’m writing to keep you up-to-date with the latest information and also to tell you about some time-limited opportunities.
The first feel-good news item is that Cambridge University Press (they publish BJHS) is offering a 20% discount to BSHS members on all books within their ‘history of science and technology’, ‘history of medicine’ and ‘history of science: general interest’ categories. Twice a year, the BSHS President’s newsletter will include details of their new history of science books and they will also be promoting their lists and the BSHS discount in Viewpoint. To take advantage of this deal, simply go to their website and put the books in your shopping basket; when you’re prompted for a discount code, enter ‘bshscamb17’ and your bill will automatically be reduced by 20%.
Another bonus offered by the BSHS is our generous array of grants and bursaries. If you’re intending to take a Master’s course in HPS next year, then go to http://www.bshs.org.uk/grants/masters-degree-bursaries for information about applying for one of our four bursaries of up to £4000 each: deadline 12 June. This year we awarded nearly £20,000 of travel bursaries for the conference in Rio, so please look up the BSHS website at http://www.bshs.org.uk/grants/butler-eyles-travel-grants for information about applying in future.
I’m also delighted to announce that this year’s BSHS Ayrton Prize for digital engagement goes to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers for their ‘Reach’ project – a series of online resources for schoolteachers about a range of topics in the history of science, technology and medicine at http://reach.ieee.org/ They are inviting collaborations with academics to develop new content, and so there is the potential here for a very extensive range of topics drawing on the latest HSTM research. Current topics and themes include ‘Triremes’, ‘Early Maritime Navigation’ and ‘The Printing Press’.
If you’re interested in outreach activities and the opportunity to hone your teaching and/or your Wikepedia skills, please contact Alice White [email protected], the editor of Viewpoint, who works for the Wellcome Library. One series of events is being held in conjunction with the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Biochemical Society: they’re looking for engaging talks on a woman (or women) from the history of science for 14-16 year-old students on and at: 9th June, Northwood College; 14th June, Imperial College; 23rd June, Clacton High School; 3rd July, Northumbria University. There will also be a Women and Electricity wikithon, run in collaboration with the Institution of Engineering and Technology, when there will be talks on notable women engineers, a chance to explore the Electricity: the Spark of Life exhibition and archival materials, as well as to create and improve Wikipedia biographies on female engineers and scientists.
Since the last newsletter, the annual postgraduate conference organised by Dorit Brexius has taken place in Florence. Fifty lucky speakers and other delegates enjoyed the EUI’s beautiful campus of Villa Salviati in the middle of the Tuscan hills, but this event’s huge success was not simply a matter of location: I know from personal emails as well as the official report that the talks and the programme of events were equally stunning. Next year’s conference will be held in Manchester, and will offer students from all over the world another marvellous chance to meet each other and promote their research.
On the subject of conferences: please don’t forget to register for the BSHS conference in York in July. Over 200 papers have been accepted, which is unusually high, but to take advantage of the lower early bird rate, you need to book by 15 May, even if you’re giving a paper: go to http://bshsconference.org.uk/ . From York, you can move on easily to the Science in Public conference in Sheffield, which runs from 10-12 July, carefully scheduled to make it easy to attend both: see https://scienceinpublic.org/science-in-public-2017/ . And if you fancy a trip across the Atlantic, there are further conferences this year in Rio and Toronto.
Plans are also well underway for the ESHS conference which, in defiance of Brexit, will be held in London in September 2018 with the theme of ‘Unity and Disunity.’ Those of you who were in Prague will remember the two excellent ‘Early Career Plenary Lectures’, and the ESHS is now inviting nominations for London in 2018. These lectures are designed to present an overview of a field or topic within the history of science that has received considerable attention and/or has generated fresh approaches to the discipline in recent years. Written versions of these lectures (‘State of the art in…’) will be published in the ESHS journal Centaurus – and the speakers’ fees, accommodation, and travel expenses will be covered. Nominations should include: (i) name of nominated early career scholar (less than 10 years after PhD), with a résumé of his/her CV and list of publications; (ii) a short description of the field or topic in the history of science to be revised; and (iii) a list of important publications in this field. If you are a member of the ESHS, please email your nomination directly to Erika Luciano [email protected] . The deadline is June 1, 2017. And if you would like to propose somebody for the distinguished Gustav Neuenschwander Prize, which is awarded for major, outstanding life‐long contributions to the history of science, please go to http://www.eshs.org/-The-Gustav-Neuenschwander-prize-28-.html
Although our name confirms that the BSHS is based in Britain, we have many overseas members, and Council is determined that we should maintain our international presence. We now have a panel of eight international advisers drawn from right across the globe: Ondrej Dostal (Czech Republic); Jonathan Simon (France; Alper Bilgili (Turkey); Haiyan Yang (China); John Mathew (India); Ruth Barton (New Zealand); Ana Rosa Barahona Echeverria (Mexico); and Jenny Rampling (USA). They all responded enthusiastically to our invitation, which suggested that they might like to comment on our policies (especially with respect to external affairs), outline ways in which we could firm up our links with other countries, xchange ideas and information, and perhaps embark on collaborative ventures. Next year we anticipate recruiting a further eight so that they can each serve a three year term in rotation.
When you’re at York, please come to our annual EGM, which is when you have the opportunity to vote for a new President and Council members, and to influence BSHS policy. This year I hope we can also discuss a couple of questions that have repeatedly cropped up this year and been debated at Council. What can we do to improve diversity and accessibility at BSHS functions and on our website? And since we are a charity bound by rules of political non-activity, what position should we adopt when we are asked to write letters of protest for various worthwhile causes, eg to support CEU in Budapest (we did), or to object to Donald J Trump’s attempt to exclude visitors from 7 countries (we didn’t). In addition, perhaps we should consider our own role in contributing to environmental damage when we hold a conference: if you’re interested in that aspect, please read the blog posted http://www.bshs.org.uk/its-time-to-rethink-international-conferences
I’m very much looking forward to seeing many of you in July at York, which – thanks to Sabine Clark, Adam Mosely, Ben Marsden, Frank James and other members of the Conferences Committee – promises to be a superb occasion. If you want to make sure for yourself, don’t believe me, but take a look at the programme and register!
With very best wishes