University of Minnesota


Program Newsletter

Issue No. 6, September 2007

In this issue:


This year marks the culmination of our merger with the graduate program in History of Medicine. We are now the Program in the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine. Three graduate students—Xuan Geng, Joseph Martin, and Barbara Reiterer—entered the new program this fall, and you can read about them in the student section of this Newsletter. Although it may be administratively confusing, this is a merger only of the graduate programs. Our Program in History of Science and Technology will remain in the Institute of Technology, and the History of Medicine in the Medical School. Faculty appointments and undergraduate teaching will remain unchanged.

Another major change is ahead for the Program in History of Science and Technology as I will step down as director of the program at the end of the academic year, in anticipation of my retirement in a year or so after that. The dean will carry out an internal search for a director. The program has had only two directors since 1972, when Roger Stuewer and I joined the faculty as a nascent history of science and technology program.

With your generous help, we have accumulated enough money in the Roger Stuewer Fellowship Fund to make a second award. Joe Martin, a new student who intends to study the history of physics, will receive a fellowship from the fund for Spring semester. We hope to be able to award a fellowship for a full year soon, but that depends on continued contributions. The university is still matching contributions to the Fund, which means that if you make a contribution this year, it will in effect be doubled. Contact Barbara to make a contribution, which is, of course, tax deductible.

We hope to see many of you at the HSS annual meeting, which will be in Arlington, Virginia (a suburb of Washington, DC) from November 1-4. As usual, we will have a reception in my suite on Saturday night after the HSS banquet. More information will follow in October.

Best wishes, and we hope to see you soon.

Alan Shapiro

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Brett Steele (1994)

Alexandria, VA

I've enjoyed another productive year at the Homeland Security Institute. I've been able to work on projects involving risk analysis, training and education, doctrine development, terrorism threat assessments, radical Islamist ideology, and even some historical 'lesson learned' and leadership studies. If the emergency response to the San Francisco Earthquake wasn't depressing enough, I had to review some grim accounts of the 1919 race riots.

I also accepted an adjunct faculty position at Georgetown's Security Studies Program to teach their core course on Technology and Security. Yes, Kai Barth recruited me and has given me lots of freedom to redesign the course. So, I'm looking forward to working with graduate students again.

A rather controversial study I participated in at RAND on civil-military relations is finally getting published as The Civil-Military Gap in the United States: Does It Exist, Why, and Does It Matter?, Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2007. Another RAND monograph that I contributed to, Assessing the Value of U.S. Army International Activities, Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2006, was published this past year.

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Robert Ferguson (1996)

Silver Spring, MD

I was chided last year for not contributing to the newsletter. I don't know that this will get me off the hook as I really don't have that much news. I continue writing the history of NASA's aeronautical research while my little boy, Giacomo, yells at me from the living room. I have a home office, a workspace secured by a sturdy gate and flimsy will power. Giacomo is nearly two; this September he will begin nursery school at a nearby cooperative housed in a purple bungalow (apropos of lefty Takoma Park). Among our parental duties will be the biweekly production of play-dough for the two-year-olds. Louise, as some of you know, made a career switch six years ago from architecture to food. She is now developing and deploying new recipes and venues for Whole Foods Market in the Mid-Atlantic region. All-in-all, our professional and home lives have become thoroughly mixed-up, hopelessly behind schedule and fantastically under-staffed. But it is great fun. I look forward to seeing some of you at the SHOT conference in D.C. this year.

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John P. Jackson, Jr. (1996)

Boulder, CO

I’m still working on “the big book” on Darwinism and American social theory with David Depew of the University of Iowa. The slice I’m tackling right now involves the professionalization of American cultural anthropology at the beginning of the twentieth century. As of this writing, I have just returned from Berkeley, California where I spent a week in the Bancroft Library working with the papers of Alfred L. Kroeber who was Franz Boas’s first Ph.D. student in anthropology at Columbia University and founded the anthropology department at the University of California. Kroeber was instrumental in defining the relationship cultural anthropology would have with the biological sciences in his long career (1901-1960).

In August 2006 Michele and I celebrated our twentieth wedding anniversary with an extended rafting trip. I had a good time, ignore the obvious panic you can see on my face in the picture. We bought a new house in Louisville, Colorado. Our kids keep growing: Maggie is 13 and Jack is 10. They are much, much smarter than I am.


Jack & Maggie


Michele and John

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Chris Young (1997)

Milwaukee, WI

Professional activities for the year tended to be closely related to my teaching, which included a senior seminar focused on the history and philosophy of science for science majors at Alverno College. I also taught a senior seminar in environmental science and found out how little our students know about this history of environmentalism, ecology, and the affiliated science and social concerns. Besides a course on global warming, I've been keeping busy in the classroom with introductory biology courses. I've also been intrigued by prospects for research into my own classroom practice that comes under the heading of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. In June, the Carnegie Foundation hosted a CASTL workshop on this scholarship at Columbia College in Chicago. I presented a project I've been leading and got some good responses from their mentors.

Greenwood Press published a reference guide, Evolution and Creationism, coedited by Mark Largent and me. Be sure your respective libraries order a copy!

The annual pilgrimage to Seattle for the Columbia History of Science Group meeting in early March brought Michelle, Riley, and me back to the Pacific Northwest. It was great to see many of the usual suspects and reconnect.

In July, I ended my eight-year stint as secretary of the International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology at the meeting in Exeter, England. What will I do in my spare time now, you ask? Hmmm. Maybe I'll try to publish an article.

Riley starts kindergarten (4-year-old) after Labor Day, and the fun just keeps building. She's having fun learning some gymnastics and taking swimming lessons. She basically takes care of herself around the house, but enjoys constant companionship if we're around, so we don't take too many breaks.

Michelle is still working on a global process transition team at Rockwell Automation, using her human resources background to implement SAP for their users around the world. I don't even know what that means, but hope that it will be impressive to any who do know and especially to those who don't.

My next project will explore the changing meaning of "habitat" around developing human ommunities. That's right, it's Over the Hedge with a scholarly bent. I take all my inspiration for kids movies these days. "What have you learned, Dorothy?"

I'm attaching a photo of people gathered at the ISHPSSB meeting in Exeter, England, who claimed a Minnesota affiliation. They include alumni, former postdocs, former faculty, and hangers-on of various sorts.


ISHPSSB meeting, Exeter, England: People who claimed a Minnesota affiliation

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Diana Kenney (1998)

Marstons Mills, MA

In March, I started working as a science writer and editor at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA, ( where I have wanted to be for years. This is a unique and fascinating place in the history of American biology. Every summer, a truly impressive and international cadre of scientists migrate to the MBL to do research and teach graduate-level summer courses, many of which have been offered for more than a century. The MBL also has year-round research centers and a new, joint Ph.D. Program with Brown University. The core fields of study are cell biology, embryology, neurobiology and neuroscience, ecosystems science, molecular evolution, and microbial ecology. I am writing all sorts of things — from Web features to a bi-annual magazine to press releases to the annual report — and did so at an unbelievable pace this past summer! I love it. The best fringe benefit is being surrounded by ocean. It’s just outside my office window. Profs. John Beatty (who was my advisor at the U of M), Jane Maienschein and James Collins offer a History of Biology seminar at the MBL in May, each year on a different topic ( Please get in touch if you find yourself in Woods Hole!

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Effy Vayena (1999)

Zurich, Switzerland

After more than seven years at the Department of Reproductive Health and Research in WHO, I am moving to the University of Zurich as a senior research fellow in the Department of Bioethics. In my new position and Institution I will continue working on international research ethics with a focus on international biomedical research. I am also planning to build into this program projects that address ethical issues in reproductive and sexual health.

My new contact details are:
Effy Vayena, PhD
Senior Research Fellow, UFSP
University of Zurich
Department of Bioethics
Zollikerstrasse 115
CH-8008 Zurich

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Kai-Henrik Barth (2000)

Washington, DC

I am in my eighth year at Georgetown University, where I am a faculty member in the Security Studies Program (SSP), the world’s leading graduate program of its kind. At SSP I am responsible for one of the three concentrations, on technology and security, and I teach classes on the history, technology, and security implications of nuclear weapons programs, unconventional weapons, as well as various research seminars on technology and security. My graduate students are largely political scientists, but also include some scientists, engineers, and historians. Many of my students work for NGOs or government agencies, including the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the CIA, and the State Department. Since 2005 I am also the SSP Director of Studies; in this capacity I am responsible for academic quality control and other program management issues. I actually love this part of my work, too. In fact, I hope to become an associate dean in the foreseeable future.

Last year John Krige and I published Osiris volume 21, Global Power Knowledge: Science and Technology in International Affairs. It took six years (and about 2,000 emails!) from idea to publication. I had heard many horror stories about the difficulties of producing an edited volume, but my own experience with Osiris is rather positive; most importantly, John and I have become good friends in the process. My own contribution to the volume (in addition to writing the introduction with John) focuses on the role of scientists in international affairs, more specifically, on scientists as drivers of arms control agreements.

In 2006 I began a larger study on theories of nuclear proliferation: why do states develop nuclear weapons? Most of my political science colleagues answer this seemingly simple question by pointing to a state’s security concerns. After studying a number of nuclear weapons histories in detail I don’t believe this anymore: I argue that we have to take domestic politics, prestige, and the agendas of various interest groups into account. In the last year I focused on Iran’s nuclear program, and I have given a number of talks on the role of the Iranian nuclear establishment on Iran’s program, including presentations at the HSS meeting in Vancouver, in our own program in Minnesota (thanks to Bob Seidel and Alan Shapiro for this wonderful opportunity!) and at Princeton. I would love to visit Iran, but as my colleagues with good CIA connections tell me, this would not be a good idea at this point…

Arguably the most important development in our lives is that Kati and I have become U.S. citizens (our son Per-Niklas was happy to see his parents finally catch up with him). We were sworn in on May 8, 2007, in a moving ceremony in Washington, DC, and, believe it or not, 24 hours later we had our new U.S. passports in hand (and traveled as Americans to Turkey)!

Per-Niklas had his first day in the DC public school system (an adventure, to put it mildly), where he starts Kindergarten in a Spanish Immersion program. He is a wonderful and very energetic 5 ½ year old: he loves soccer, baseball, swimming and just plain running. Most of all he loves the Smithsonian museums and traveling, from small road trips to flying overseas.

Kati runs her own consulting company (, designing green roofs for large governmental and commercial clients, including NIH and the World Bank. This year she put a green roof on our house on Capitol Hill.

Our next plan is to move to the Persian Gulf: I was offered a position with Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service branch in Doha, Qatar, and I am pretty sure that we will move there in July 2008. It’s so hot there for most of the summer that you can’t go outside (just like Minnesota in the winter!) So, if you want to visit us in DC, give us a call soon or put Qatar on your travel plans!

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Al Martinez (2000)

Austin, TX

Hello y'all. In 1944, in "Benefit of Clergy," George Orwell wrote that "Autobiography is only to be trusted when it reveals something disgraceful. A man who gives a good account of himself is probably lying, since any life when viewed from the inside is simply a series of defeats." That said, let me write a few positive things nonetheless. I'm still teaching history of science and math at UT Austin. Good news is that Johns Hopkins has approved for publication my book on the history of Einstein's relativity. Meanwhile, my book Negative Math has received various positive reviews, it was translated into Japanese, and Princeton is preparing to issue it in paperback. Also, this summer I made a website for my writings:

Since I last wrote in our HST Newsletter I published some new articles: “Euler’s Mistake? The Radical Product Rule in Historical Perspective,” American Mathematical Monthly (2007); “There’s No Pain in the FitzGerald Contraction, Is There?” Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics (2007); and “Replication of Coulomb’s Torsion Balance Experiment” Archive for History of the Exact Sciences (2006). Finally, I've been working on a new book based on my classes at UT Austin. As for something disgraceful, what can I say, wait, I've already taken up enough space, so maybe next time.

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Tania Munz (2000)

Berlin, Germany

Although I always enjoy reading this newsletter, this is the first time I've decided to not just lurk but also contribute a few lines. So much has happened since I left Minnesota in 2000 that I'll try to keep it brief. Probably the biggest academic news is that I finally defended my dissertation on the history of animal behavior studies this spring. In July I moved from Princeton to Berlin, where I started a three-year research position at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. The BOOK is on the top of the to-do list, although I already feel lovingly distracted by my next project(s). Older news are my two articles that appeared in 2005, one on the honeybee dance language controversy in the Journal of the History of Biology and the other on animal behavior and film in a German film studies journal called montage/av. I look forward to seeing old Minnesota friends at HSS again this year and hope to also see some of you in Berlin over the next three years. I still miss Minneapolis and think of my time at the U often and fondly.

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Kevin Francis (2002)

Olympia, WA

This will be my fourth year at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. I'll be co-teaching "Christian Roots: Medieval and Early Modern Science" during fall and winter quarter, and "Alchemy" in spring quarter--fortunately, I'm responsible for the historical and not the laboratory component of this course.

I continue working on scientific views of prehistoric extinctions and their intersection with modern debates on species preservation. I'm presenting at HSS and hoping to see many Minnesota folks in Washington DC.

Tom continues to teach at the UW law school, so we split our time between Olympia and Seattle. It's a bit disjointed, but we feel lucky to have academic jobs relatively close to one another and to live in such a lovely part of the world. This photo is from a recent backpacking trip to Mt. Adams.


Kevin at Mt Adams, WA

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David Sepkoski (2002)

Wilmington, NC

The major items to report for 2006-7 are the completion of my first year at UNC Wilmington and the publication of my first book, a revision of my dissertation. Adjusting to the south has been interesting, and it has helped to have had Paul Brinkman right up the road in Raleigh for occasional visits and trips to the beach. Otherwise, I'm still plugging away at my history of paleontology projects, some of which may come to fruition over the next year. I look forward to catching up with everyone in D.C., and do let me know if you plan to be in the southeast.

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Jay Aronson (2003)

Pittsburgh, PA

Tamara and I had another fun and productive year here in Pittsburgh. Ezra just turned two on August 10, and he is looking forward to the arrival of his new baby sister (at least that's what the sonogram tells us) in mid-September. We've had a busy travel schedule over the past year: a two week vacation to California in December; a family trip to South Africa and Portugal in April/May and our first family camping trip (in West Virginia) a few weeks ago. I also presented a paper at a meeting in Cambridge, England in June. In other news, my book will be officially released by Rutgers University Press this fall. Because of the new baby, I doubt I'll be at any meetings this year, but please drop me a line if you happen to find yourself in Western Pennsylvania!

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John Gustafson (2004)

Madison, WI

My very recent news regards my move to Madison, Wisconsin, this August to start a job search. My wife Karen has accepted a fine job in Madison and my grant-funded position at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College(FDLTCC)in Cloquet, Minnesota was becoming tenuous, so we are off to begin a new adventure!

I was able to do many fun and challenging activities at FDLTCC including the development of two new academic programs. One was a two-year degree in Electric Utility Technology, and the second was a one-year certificate program in Clean Energy Technology. FDLTCC is intending to continue both programs. Unfortunately, I only applied my history of science and technology interests sparingly within my two programs. This past year I did develop materials for a new course to be called Native American Heritage in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, with its intent being to encourage especially Native American students to appreciate their pre-Columbian heritage in those subjects. Within the course I will carefully define the term "Native American science" as akin to their natural philosophy, and will likely only gloss over it because of the difficulty in fully understanding what their various natural philosophies were in pre-Colombian times. Of note, the scientific revolution happened after Columbus, and one might very well ask why. My plan had been to teach this new course this fall at FDLTCC, but my move to Madison has interrupted that plan.

Having been somewhat isolated from the history of science in northern Minnesota, I am looking forward to being close to Madison's active program in the history of science. Look for me as a greeter at Wal-Mart if my job search does not go well.


Karen and John at Jay Cooke State Park, MN

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Don Opitz (2004)

Chicago, IL

Last year I announced I had landed a job at DePaul University. Now I can say with confidence that I survived my first year. Woo-hoo! It's been an adventure planning and developing no fewer than 6 new courses. I'm particularly proud of my "Issues in Science and Religion," which attracts the attention of students and, at times, administration. Most of my teaching is with undergraduate adult students, but this summer I had fun teaching a course in DePaul's M.S. in Science Education program consisting mainly of Chicago area schoolteachers. Scholarship-wise, I've contributed a few entries to the new DSB and published a couple of articles in the "teaching and learning" realm. DePaul awarded me a nice research grant which is enabling further archives work in Britain and presentations. I am also making a couple of presentations at British conferences ("Geographies of 19th-century science" and "Science and Religion"). Hopefully this activity will result in a couple of journal articles and further material for a book manuscript on "country-house science." Home is a small charming condo in Evanston. I'm involved in the community as member of the Ridgeville Band and board director of the Ladd Arboretum and Evanston Environmental Association. My partner Gregg and I also tend a garden plot in our community garden.

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Georgina Montgomery (2005)

Bozeman, MT

I spent the last year as a NSF postdoc at Montana State University where I focused on my research and taught a class on Darwinian Revolution and another on Animal Histories. Reaching across disciplinary lines, I gave guest lectures in the Philosophy and Media and Arts departments and a public lecture on Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey for the Women’s Center to highlight women’s history month. I spent July as a fellow for the first annual Animals and Society Institute which gave me the opportunity to focus on my research while surrounded by scholars interested in an array of issues concerning human-animal relationships.

Looking ahead, I will be continuing at Montana State University but now as a Visiting Assistant Professor. I will be teaching Darwinian Revolution, America Since 1940, History of Modern Science, Gender and Technology and Other Animals. You will see me presenting at HSS in a session on field studies that I co-organized with Gina Rumore and at the annual meeting for the Organization of American Historians. In there somewhere I will also be finishing my book manuscript.


Georgina and Bob at Mt. Rainer

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Ronald Frazzini (2006)

Plymouth, MN

Following the dissertation defense and graduation, Jacque and I traveled to Alaska and Nova Scotia. This year, I was able to give a couple of paper presentations with the travels, and we went to Las Vegas for the IEEE conference on Society and Technology with a paper on the impact of automation in automobiles. In August we travel to Copenhagen for the ICOHTEC conference, and I'll present on Olivetti in the 1930s. I did find a bit of teaching work next year at Metropolitan State College, co-teaching a course on technology and society in the Master of Liberal Studies program. I am also doing some technical consulting for Honeywell, doing seminars on mentoring for college students and participating in a project on student engagement in university activities. The grandkids also figure in there. Jacque is busily involved with the new Guthrie Theater, being a tour guide at MIA and organizing a local Plymouth art show. We both will sing with the Minnetonka Choral Society this fall. We have definitely failed retirement.

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Susan Rensing (2006)

Starkville, MS

My first year at Mississippi State University has been a good one. I organized the first Southern HoST conference (see pic for some familiar faces); it will be held this year by Georgia Tech and Emory and will hopefully have an even larger turnout. I have been working on my book project, an article for the Blackwell Companion to the History of American Science, and new course proposals to expand our HoST offerings. I also gave a talk at Colby College this year, which was great fun, even though I got stuck in my first Nor'easter. I'll be presenting at the Berks in Minneapolis next summer, so I hope to see some of you there. This spring I'm also going to be the acting director of the Gender Studies program and teaching in our new honors college.


Southern HoST conference

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Rick Swanson (2006)

Oakdale, MN

After six years as Science Content Director for DragonflyTV, a production of Twin Cities Public Television seen nationally on PBS, I have accepted a position at Valspar Corporation as Training Manager in Regulatory Affairs.

I can also be seen and heard playing my banjo around the Twin Cities with my band, The Recliners. I merged my interests in banjo and history of chemistry by building my own banjo, inlaid with symbols from alchemy. Interested readers can learn more at

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Jennifer Alexander

I am delighted that my efficiency book (The Mantra of Efficiency) is due out soon, from Johns Hopkins. This leaves me free to concentrate on “Sport and Work”, a study of the development of biomechanics. This fall I am teaching two courses related to that project, a freshman seminar on artificial people in history, “From Golem to Robot to Cyborg,” and an upper-division course on biotechnology and biomechanics. Jack is keeping us busy at home, trying to knock things over with his soccer ball and insisting he no longer needs training wheels on his bike (he doesn’t mind falling over, so he probably is right). The new addition to the family, Tinkerbell the terrier, is now too big to wiggle through the fence, but pretty soon he’s going to be able to jump it. Fortunately he can be lured home with any offer of food; I have had success with a stale waffle and an apple core.

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Mark E. Borrello

Updates since last newsletter….okay, we had a baby in October, Alba. She makes three and I’m confident, a complete set. Nico and Gia are very excited about their new toy (very life-like). There were two of talks in Vancouver in the fall, one at the University of British Columbia and one at the HSS meeting in a session together with former Minnesota student Tania Munz. I’ve just returned from a lovely trip to the ISHPSSB meeting in Exeter where I managed to miss the appointed “Minnesota Family Portrait.” According to relatively reliable sources (Mark Largent and Chris Young) we had approximately 15 people in attendance with affiliations in History of Science and Technology or the Center for Philosophy of Science. I gave Mark Largent permission to photoshop me in – we’ll see how that turns out. I’m finishing a couple of projects (the Rebels in Biology book is coming out from Yale University press and the Descended from Darwin volume is also moving forward) and am looking forward to beginning some new ones, including a group project on the internationalization of Drosophila genetics.

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Susan Jones

Greetings from the St Paul campus, where preparations for the State Fair are already underway as I write this. Having lived in Minnesota now for two years, I am beginning to get the Ole and Lena jokes and have experienced the Great Minnesota Get-Together. My husband and I have even been in the audience for a “Prairie Home Companion.” As my colleagues have pointed out, however, I have not yet been ice fishing (that one can wait). I’ve been busy at the Program this past year, too, with conference presentations, a research trip to Britain and the Netherlands, and serving on the committees of graduate students from history of science, ecology, conservation biology, and history of medicine. My new course for freshmen, “Life on Earth,” played to a sold-out audience and we are hoping to expand it in the coming year. This year, I am working to finish my book on the history of anthrax (Johns Hopkins Press) and will be moving into a new area of research: the historical ecology and evolution of infectious diseases. I’m especially interested in how we can use tools such as phylogenetics and ecological models to inform our historical studies of disease episodes (including the Black Death, the influenza pandemic of 1918, and the long-term ravages of tuberculosis). These tools look at disease from the pathogen’s point of view, and they may radically change our scientific understanding of many historical events. Stay tuned, and have a great year.

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Sally Gregory Kohlstedt

Sabbatical leaves are important markers in academic lives, and I am about to embark on one. Mine have enabled me to finish sometimes long-standing research projects and envision or start new ones, transfer administrative responsibilities to colleagues with fresh ideas and energy, gain a healthy perspective on my own institution while visiting other ones, and generally catch my breath. So, this summer, I am finishing a seven-year term as Director of Graduate Studies plus four or five other on-campus committee responsibilities, even as I get ready to spend 2007-2008 in Washington, D.C. in the fall and then January through June as a Fulbright scholar in New Zealand. David will continue as chair in Geology and Geophysics. We will see quite a bit of each other in the fall, and he will come to New Zealand at least once, with Kris and Kurt, for a family ski trip to Queenstown on South Island. My base will be at the University of Auckland, so let me know if you are coming Down Under!

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Tom Misa

This fall I'm teaching two classes. The graduate Historiography seminar has started well, with our program's three new students plus 5-6 others from across campus. The history of technology survey is a lot of fun, but has me running. At CBI our "big" news is that Jeffrey Yost, associate director, has been named Editor in Chief for Annals of the History of Computing, beginning January 2008. We have a one-year NSF grant to start our project on NSF's "FastLane" system. Joline Zepcevski will cook up a web-based interview platform and a Wiki, which we hope will make her famous (and give us a new research tool).

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Bob Seidel

I have returned from Newfoundland, which has its own unique time zone and is therefore outside the realm of history, to resume work on technology transfer, computers in high-energy physics, and the history of chemical engineering. Interested parties may feel free to volunteer for commenting or editorial differences. I am on sabbatical working mainly in my basement to recover from this summer's floods, a computer crash, and referee reports. At least they're not rejections.

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Alan E. Shapiro

Last April the 50th anniversary of the Midwest Junto was celebrated at Iowa State. Perhaps it was because I am the Junto member who has been attending meetings longer than any other active member (since 1966), that I was asked to present the second Stuart Pierson Memorial Lecture. As Stuart was a close friend of mine since we were graduate students, it was a particular honor. The next Junto meeting will be in Minneapolis 11-13 April 2008, so if you are planning a trip to the Twin Cities, this would be a good time for a visit. I wrote up two papers for publication this summer, one for a volume commemorating the 300th anniversary of the publication of Newton’s Opticks in 1704, and another on the developments of the concepts of real and imaginary image in the 17th century. As I will step down as director of the program at the end of the academic year, I look forward to a more leisurely academic life.

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Roger H. Stuewer

Life remains full. I continue to devote lots of time to editorial work for Physics in Perspective, the journal that my good friend and colleague John S. Rigden and I founded ten years ago, and for the Resource Letters of the American Journal of Physics, which I have been editing for the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) for twenty-nine years. In July I attended the AAPT meeting in Greensboro, North Carolina, and next year in January and July will attend the AAPT meetings in Baltimore and in Edmonton, Alberta. This past year I again served on the Council of the American Physical Society (APS) and as a member of the APS and American Institute of Physics (AIP) Pais Prize Selection Committee; the recipient was Max Jammer, whom I first met in the late 1960s when he visited the Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science for a couple of months. In April I attended the APS meeting in Jacksonville, Florida, and this November and next April I will attend the APS meetings in Denver and St. Louis. In July I also gave a talk at a conference in Berlin, and this October and next April I have been invited to give talks at meetings in Hamburg and at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. In February I also go to Vienna to participate in a new research project on the history of nuclear physics in Austria.

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Suzanne Fischer

I'm finishing up revisions on my dissertation and will defend in the fall. My project looks at the popular career of scientific medicine through the lens of clinics treating men's sexual diseases. On the public history front, I've been putting up exhibits, writing grants and doing almost everything else for the HCMC History Museum, and I also spent the summer working for the Babbage. I gave a paper at HSS last year, and this year I'll be giving a paper at SHOT, along with a few papers at regional museum conferences. I've also been involved in the new Graduate Student and Early Career Caucus of HSS; I'm excited to soon be the latter rather than the former. I continue to volunteer for the Midtown Farmers Market. Also, I recently bought a new bicycle and hope to do some bike touring.

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Xuan Geng

I am a first year graduate student in HSTM. I finished my B.S. in biological science at Peking University, China. My undergraduate research focused on Ca2+ signaling related proteins in cardiac muscle cells and the technique of RNA interference. Because of this background, I am interested in history of biology, especially the history of molecular and cellular biology. The history of gender and science also attracts me. In my leisure time, I am interested in handcraft and traveling.

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Maggie Hofius

I will begin my second year in the program this fall after taking a break this summer from dealing with problems of the past in order to deal with problems of the present, working for my two law practicing heroes in Georgia. It was a great opportunity to learn a bit more about the interaction between science and our judicial system, as work on my favorite case increased my awareness of the many issues surrounding DNA evidence and analysis both in the present and not so distant past.

This year I will continue with my coursework. I remain interested in 20th century physics in Europe and the United States. At the moment I am quite taken with the environment of the interwar period. I am leaning towards an institutional approach to 20th century physics, but it is still too early to predict exactly which direction my interests will take me.

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Kate Jirik

I’ve spent the past year working on requirements for the new combined program. Even though I started four years ago, the new requirements fit better for me. I didn’t make it to HSS in Vancouver because I had to choose between three days in Vancouver in November or ten days in Paris in April. While it was a hard choice (not really), I picked Paris and had a fantastic time. I’m working on refining a topic for my dissertation. At the present time, I’m taking my interest in eugenics, politics and ethics and starting to look at institutions for the feeble-minded, the one in Faribault, Minnesota, in particular. I had a paper accepted by the Bioethics Forum, an online journal associated with the Hastings Center. It appeared in December 2006.

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Joe Martin

I am coming to the program from New Zealand, where I have spent a year living and working, ready to build on my B.A. in the history and philosophy of science, which I completed at Boston University in 2006. I plan to focus on the history of 20th century physics, but also hope to take advantage of the program's diversity and do some exploring. I'm looking forward to the shift back into student life, and to getting a taste of a real winter again.

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Rachel Mason Dentinger

In the past few months, with the support of the NSF and the U of M Graduate School, I have buckled down and really begun my dissertation research on the history of coevolutionary studies. I have traveled to archives on both coasts (UC-Santa Barbara and Harvard) and in the Midwest (Urbana-Champaign and the “little apple,” Manhattan, Kansas). My travels have also taken me to interviews with biologists Paul Ehrlich, May Berenbaum, and Peter Raven. I look forward to more of the same in the fall, as well as a trip to DC in November, to take part in a Sunday-morning session at HSS, organized by Gina Rumore and Georgina Montgomery, which promises to make it worth your while to get up early on the morning after Alan’s party! This fall will also mark the beginning of a new phase in my life, which could incite a newfound appreciation for hockey and socialized medicine (one being far bigger leap than the other): At the end of August, Bryn and I will move to Toronto, where he will begin a post-doc at the University of Toronto and the Royal Ontario Museum.

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Hyung Wook Park

I am spending my full time dissertating and job searching. Currently, I have finished four chapters of my dissertation, and the other parts will be completed soon. Fortunately, one of my chapters has been provisionally accepted for publication by the Journal of the History of Biology. I gave a talk about this chapter in the International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology at Exeter, England, where I met a number of my professional colleagues and friends. My summer went very well.

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Barbara Reiterer

I entered the program this fall with a Masters degree in sociology from the University of Vienna, Austria. After graduation I spent a few years working in social research, with mobility in old age as my main field. Although I liked applied research, I was always interested mainly in the history of science in general, and of the social sciences in particular. Now I am excited about the possibility of turning my latent hobby into a manifest professional occupation. My research interests lie in the fields of methodology of empirical social research, the migration of scholars between Austria and the U.S., and the issue of women and (social) science, especially during the first half of the 20th century. I am pleased to return to the University of Minnesota, where I spent the last year as a research scholar at the Center for Austrian Studies. Other than work, I love traveling, music, movies, and sports like running, swimming, badminton, and watching basketball and American football (I used to play outside linebacker for an Austrian ladies team, but now I am quite satisfied with my role as a mere spectator). Finally – and for this I blame my cultural heritage – my well-being strongly depends on good coffee; and I also enjoy nice wine or beer in pleasant company.

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Gina Rumore

On June 20, Sean and I welcomed our first child, Anneke Elyse McQuillen, into our family (pictures at While being pregnant slowed down my running and swimming and put the kibosh on my biking, it did inspire my writing. With the help of a University of Minnesota Dissertation Fellowship, I am now in the final stages of writing my dissertation, beginning my job search, and working on a paper on the historical geography of Glacier Bay, Alaska, which I will present at the HSS meeting in D.C. My working dissertation title is "Carving out a Place for Science: Ecology and Glaciology in Glacier Bay, Alaska, 1879-1958 (or from John Muir to IGY)." In addition to being a full-time mother and working on my dissertation, I am continuing to work a few hours a week at the University’s Center for Writing, where I am part of an exciting new program called “Writing Enriched Curriculum.” My position allows me to work with faculty members from all disciplines to integrate writing into their undergraduate courses. I am also working on creating web materials for undergraduates to help them understand the writing norms in different disciplines. My first effort is “Writing in Biology” (

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