Past Events

Organizing Science for Humanity Workshop

Feb. 12, 2016 at Columbia University, Low Library, Trustees Room organized by Deborah Coen, with participants Carol Gluck, Geert Somsen, Michael Barany, Andrew Gelman, Malgorzata Mazurek, Elizabeth Neswald, Stephen S. Morse, Paul Richards, Rachel Rothschild, and Daniel Kevles.

Led by Professor Deborah Coen, this half-day, closed-door workshop was a first step towards developing an analytical framework for assessing forms of international organization in the sciences. It brought together historians studying the history of scientific internationalism with scientists who have taken a leading role in international collaborations and negotiations. It looked at both the theory and practice of scientific internationalism—that is, both at the ideals espoused by founders of the new associations, and at the realities of interactions among their members. Case studies were drawn from the natural and social sciences in the twentieth century.

The goal was to put the global science of today in historical perspective. In this respect, participants sought to extend existing narratives of the history of international collaboration in the sciences to include recent history. What continuities and discontinuities could be traced between earlier forms of scientific internationalism and the ideologies and practices behind global science today?

  • Introduction: Deborah Coen (History, Barnard College), Carol Gluck (History, Columbia University; Chair of the Committee on Global Thought).
  • Varieties of Scientific Internationalism: Geert Somsen (History, Columbia University), Michael Barany (History, Princeton University).
  • Measuring the World, International Standards and Competing Values: Andrew Gelman (Statistics and Political Science, Columbia University), Malgorzata Mazurek (History, Columbia University), Elizabeth Neswald (History, Brock University, Ontario).
  • Global Science and National Security: Stephen S. Morse (Epidemiology, Columbia University), Paul Richards (Seismology Geology and Tectonophysics, Columbia University), Rachel Rothschild (History, New York University).
  • Concluding Remarks: Daniel Kevles (History, Yale University).

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