Established this year as a joint program between the California Institute of Technology and The Huntington, Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, the new Research Institute for the History of Science and Technology at Caltech and The Huntington (RIHST) is pleased to announce its plans and research themes for the next three years. Doris and Henry Dreyfuss Professor of History at Caltech Jed Z. Buchwald will serve as its first director, and Dibner Senior Curator of the History of Science and Technology at The Huntington Dan Lewis will serve as associate director.
Beginning in the fall of 2019 and continuing yearly thereafter, the research institute will bring a senior scholar in the field into residence at The Huntington to conduct research in the areas of their expertise, based where appropriate on both The Huntington’s extensive library collections and the Caltech Archives. In addition, a short-term visiting scholar will be invited to spend two weeks at Caltech and The Huntington to give seminars both there and at other locations in Southern California.
In the summer of 2020, a group of scholars will convene for two weeks to work together in a residential institute under the rubric of the year’s subject. The research institute’s second year will continue with a senior scholar in residence at The Huntington; a junior scholar appointed for a two-year term at Caltech; two short-term research fellows at The Huntington; two further visitors who will offer seminars; and another summer residential institute. The third year will see the appointment of another senior scholar; the recruitment of two additional short-term fellows at The Huntington; invitations for two visitors to give seminars; and a third summer residential institute.
Each year has a specific theme. In the first year (2019-2020), the subject will be the history of electrical technology, broadly construed, in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Erik Conway, historian at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, will be that year’s senior scholar, and he will also convene the following summer’s research institute in collaboration with the research institute’s directors. The second year’s theme will be the history of environmental sciences, and applications for the senior scholar in that field will be solicited in the fall of 2019. The third year will focus on the nature and development of early modern science, especially in the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
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