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Lectures & Programs

Dibner Library Lectures on the History of Science and Technology

Supported by The Dibner Fund

2006: Mathematics
Dr. Joyce E. Chaplin (Professor of History, Harvard University, and author of "The First Scientific American: Benjamin Franklin and the Pursuit of Genius") on "Science for a New Country: Benjamin Franklin's Political Arithmetic."
December 13, 2006.
View the Press Release

2005: Physics
Dr. John Stachel (Professor of Physics Emeritus and Director of the Center of Einstein Studies at Boston University) on "1905: Einstein's Miraculous Year."
December 13, 2005.
View the Press Release

2004: Astronomy
Albert Van Helden (University of Utrecht) on "Huygens's Ring, Cassini's Division, and Saturn's Family: The First Explorations of the Solar System."
October 27, 2004.

2003: Metrology
Ken Alder (Northwestern University) on "The Measure of the World," the mission to measure the Earth and define the meter for all nations and for all time.
November 5, 2003.
Online Version Available

2002: Engineering and Magic
Anthony T. Grafton (Princeton University) on "Technica Curiosa: Engineering and Magic in Early Modern Europe."
October 15, 2002.
View the Press Release

2001: Commemorating the Dibner Library’s 25th Anniversary
Owen Gingerich (Harvard University and Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory) on “Icons of Understanding: Celebrating Bern Dibner’s Heralds of Science” and eminent British antiquarian book dealer Roger Gaskell on “From Collector to Reader: Bern Dibner and History of Science Collections” with an introduction by Ron Brashear (Head of Special Collections, Smithsonian Institution Libraries).
October 3, 2001.
Online Version Available

2000: Scientific Discoveries
Kenneth L. Caneva (Professor of History, University of North Carolina at Greensboro) on "The Form and Function of Scientific Discoveries."
November 16, 2000.
Online Version Available

2000: Astronomy
Steven J. Dick (U. S. Naval Observatory) on "Extraterrestrial Life and Our World View at the Turn of the Millennium."
May 2, 2000.
Online Version Available

1999: History of Architecture
Charles Brownell (Virginia Commonwealth University) on "Horrors! Changing Views of the American Victorian House."
March 9, 1999.

1998: History of Medicine
Katharine Park (Department of the History of Science, Women's Studies, Harvard University) on "Visible Women: Anatomical Illustration and Human Dissection in Renaissance Italy."
May 20, 1998.

1997: Technology and Invention (Centenary of Bern Dibner's Birth)
Henry Petroski (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Duke University) on "Pencils, Paperclips, and Invention."
November 18, 1997

1996: Earth Sciences (Smithsonian 150th Anniversary, Honoring Geologist James Smithson)
Robert Hazen (Carnegie Institution of Washington Geophysical Laboratory and George Mason University) on "Earth Sciences, Unanswered Questions, and the Dibner Legacy."
September 25, 1996.

1995: Chemistry and Art
Roald Hoffmann (Cornell University) on "Chemistry Imagined" in conjunction with SIL-Washington Project for the Arts exhibition, Science and the Artist's Book.
May 30, 1995.

1994: History of Technology, The Telephone (Late 19th Century)
Bernard Carlson (University of Virginia) on "Making Connections: Alexander Graham Bell, Elisha Gray, and Thomas Edison and the Race to the Telephone."

March 17, 1994.

1993: Natural History of the Renaissance
William B. Ashworth, Jr. (University of Missouri, Kansas City) on "Animal Encounters of the Emblematic Kind: Re-writing the Book of Nature in the Late Renaissance."
May 13, 1993.

1992: History of Technology, The Printing Press (15th to 20th Centuries)
Elizabeth Eisenstein (University of Michigan Emerita) on "Celebrating Western Technology in the Age of the Hand Press."
June 4, 1992.


Smithsonian Institution Libraries in collaboration with the Washington Collegium for the Humanities Lecture Series

1999: "Shifting Perspectives in History, Culture, and the Arts" Lecture Series
Charles Brownell (Virginia Commonwealth University) on "Horrors! Changing Views of the American Victorian House."
Supported by The Dibner Fund.
Reception Suite, National Museum of American History.
March 9, 1999.

1997: "Belonging and Acceptance in History, Culture, and the Arts" Lecture Series
Mary Henderson (Curator, National Air and Space Museum) on "Star Wars: Belonging and Acceptance of the Hero."
Co-sponsored with National Air and Space Museum.
March 5, 1997.

1990: "The World of the Child" Lecture Series
Carol J. Barton (Book Artist) on "Playful Readings: A History of Children's Movable Books."
September 13, 1990.

1988: "Death and the Afterlife in Art and Literature" Lecture Series
B. J. T. Dobbs (Professor, History of Science, Northwestern University) on "Alchemical Death and Resurrection: The Significance of Alchemy in the Age of Newton."
Based on Isaac Newton manuscript in the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology. Published with funds from the Women's Committee and the Seidell Endowment, 1990.
February 16, 1988.


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