BSHS President Dr Patrica Fara writes:

Dear Colleagues

This newsletter is being mailed out to coincide with a new and exciting venture that we were asked to keep secret until now…

On November 17, New Scientist is celebrating its 60th birthday with a special feature on key inventions introduced since its foundation in 1956. These were chosen by members of the BSHS, who have contributed articles for both the printed and the electronic versions of this best-selling magazine. As you might expect, some of their selections will strike New Scientist readers as being quite quirky: this is far from being an old-fashioned glorification of technical progress! This initiative will take history of science to wide audiences: New Scientist’s circulation is 130,000, and its readership is far larger. Many thanks to everyone who submitted an essay – and I am particularly grateful to our Communications Officer, Jessica van Horssen, who coordinated the project and kept it under wraps while she persuaded/encouraged/chivvied authors into submitting the right number of words at the right time.

If you’d like to read them, here is the link

I’m also delighted to announce that the winner of the BSHS’s fourth Great Exhibitions competition is the innovative display What is a Planet? put on by the Adler Planetarium, Chicago. This engaging exhibition draws on cutting-edge research into historical objects to provide a fascinating visitor experience. In addition, the Outreach and Education Committee wanted to celebrate the strength of the submissions by awarding the status of Highly Commended to The Medical Museion, Copenhagen for The Body Collected. The Museion has a strong track record in unusual approaches to medical topics, and this excellent exhibition is no exception. What is a Planet? runs until 8 January 2017, but the closing date for The Body Collected at the Medical Museion has yet to be determined. Catch them while you can!

These awards confirm that the BSHS faces outwards not inwards. Despite the B for British in our title, we are an international organisation. Our next postgraduate conference will be in Florence in April. In summer 2018, we will be hosting the ESHS conference in London, when we will be welcoming visitors from all over the world. And our Grants committee has just approved research funding for seven junior scholars engaged in an impressive variety of different topics.

As you know, the BSHS is currently in the enviable positon of being able to fund some small but significant projects. Our wonderful Outreach & Education committee, chaired by Jamie Stark, has finalised its brand new BSHS Engagement Fellowship scheme, which enables students to gain experience in Museum work. Our hard-working Treasurer, Miles Parker, has done all the sums, and has just confirmed that we will be able to offer three placements – at Bristol Museums, the Linnean Society of London, and  the Royal Pump Room Museum, Harrogate. Of course, we would have liked to support more of the applicants, whose proposals were all marvellous, but these choices will give us diversity of scale, geography and topic.

Our next Council meeting will be on 21 January 2018. We will be voting then on new members for the following academic year, so please send any nominations in advance to Lucy Santos [email protected]
The Council is elected by the BSHS members, so please get involved in choosing who you’d like to represent you. And please let me know if there is anything you think we should be doing differently.

With very best wishes

Patricia Fara