22nd International Congress of History of Science, Beijing, July 24-30, 2005 International Union of History and Philosophy of Science – Division History of Science


Politically Engaged Scientists, 1920 -1950: Science, Politics, Philosophy, History. Organizers Gregory Blue (University of Victoria) Christopher Chilvers (Science Museum, London) Anna K Mayer (University of Florida) Patrick Petitjean (CNRS-Paris et Université Paris 7)

Goals for the symposium In the decades following the First World War, a number of scientists making prominent contributions to their own disciplines simultaneously turned their attention, both theoretically and in practice, to issues of science policy and to the social and international roles of science. Several also began focussing on the history of science and contributed to a new flourishing of interest in that field. These trends continued during the Second World War and its immediate aftermath. Scientists at Cambridge University played an essential role in promoting them, but many elsewhere were also involved.

The aim of this symposium is to draw together discussions on the historiography of science, the history of particular disciplines, and the history of the involvement of 20th-century scientists in the public sphere. Our primary focus is on biologists and physicists active in the 1930s, especially those working in Great Britain, the Soviet Union, France and China, who contributed to the construction of scientific and ideological networks committed to politically activist approaches to burning isues of the day. Scientific humanism provided a common point of reference shared by Marxists and non-Marxists alike, and a crucial social and political role was allotted to the history of science.

Origins of this proposal The idea for this symposium emerges from the international colloquium « Biologistes engagés: science, histoire, philosophie, politique, autour de Cambridge dans les années 1930 » organised in Paris in June 2004 by the REHSEIS team (Recherches Épistémologiques et Historiques sur les Sciences Exactes et les Institutions Scientifiques) associated with the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique and the Université Paris 7. That colloquium concentrated especially on the work of J. Needham, C.H. Waddington, J.D. Bernal, J.S. Huxley and J.B.S. Haldane. Contributions to that event focused on particular aspects of the activities of these scientists. The proposed ICHS colloquium aims to highlight the connections between these aspects and to demonstrate some of the consequences of those connections. In these ways it will continue and broaden our discussions initiated at the Paris colloquium.


The length of each paper: 20 minutes plus10 minutes discussion.

Congress languages: English and French.

The potential speakers interested in participating in the Symposium are requested to send the organizers a one-page preliminary abstract (via e-mail or regular mail) and his/her correct postal and e-mail-addresses. Please feel free to disseminate the Call for Papers to other prospective participants. Each participant at the Congress can give only one paper!

Deadline for the preliminary application of a paper to the organizers: 31th October 2004. Those colleagues who will send the organizers their abstract will be notified about the acceptance of their paper by January 1, 2005.

For registration, please, contact: Congress Website: http://2005bj.ihns.ac.cn Fax: 86-10-6401-7637; E-mail: [email protected]

Addresses of the organizers:

Gregory Blue Department of History, University of Victoria PO Box 3045 VICTORIA BC V8W 3P4 CANADA Tel: +1 250 721 7388 Fax: +1 250 721 8772 E-mail: [email protected] Web: web.uvic.ca/~blueg

Christopher Chilvers Science Museum, Exhibition Road, London, SW7 2DD UNITED KINGDOM E-mail: [email protected]

Anna K Mayer Volkswagen Postdoctoral Fellow History of Science Department of History University of Florida, Gainesville FL 32611 U.S.A. E-mail: [email protected]

Patrick Petitjean Université Paris 7 REHSEIS UMR 7596 2 Place Jussieu 75251 Paris Cedex 05 France E-mail: [email protected]