Working Groups

Physical Sciences

The Working Group on the History of the Physical Sciences meets monthly to discuss a colleague’s work in progress or to discuss readings that are of particular interest to participants.

Meetings are usually held at the Consortium offices in Philadelphia from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. on third Thursdays. Scholars located anywhere can also participate online.

To join this working group, click "Request group membership" at right. You will receive instructions for participating online or in person.


  • Joseph Martin

    Joseph Martin teaches in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge. He has published on the history of twentieth-century physical sciences and the philosophy of science and technology.


  • Kathryn Olesko

    Kathryn Olesko is Associate Professor in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Her main research interest is the history of science and technology since the seventeenth century, with a special interest in measuring practices, science pedagogy, science and engineering in Prussia, and comparative nuclear cultures.


Upcoming Meetings (all times Eastern)

There are no currently scheduled upcoming events.

Past Meetings

  • April 20, 2016

    Teasel Elizabeth Muir-Harmony of the American Institute of Physics introduced her paper "From the Moon to Japan: The US Exhibition of a Lunar Rock at the 1970 Osaka World's Fair."

  • March 16, 2016

    Allan Needell of the National Air and Space Museum introduced his "Webb, the New Deal and 'Space Age Management.'"

  • February 17, 2016

    Kristie Macrakis of Georgia Tech and ​the Woodrow ​Wilson Center introduced her paper, "How We Really Found Missiles on Cuba: A Story about Myths, Technology and Secret Agents."

  • January 20, 2016

    Mott Greene of the University of Washington introduced his biographical work, "Alfred Wegener: Science, Exploration, and the Theory of Continental Drift".

  • December 17, 2015

    Ruth Rand, Consortium for HSTM and UPenn, introduced her draft dissertation chapter, "'Terror in the Skies': Falling Space Junk, Space Weather, and International Environmental Liability During the Long 1970s."

  • October 15, 2015

    Lillian Hoddeson and Peter Garrett of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign introduce their book chapter on "Stanford Ovshinsky and the Invention of the Nickel-Metal-Hydride Battery"

  • September 17, 2015

    Anthony Eames of Georgetown introduced his paper, "Trident: The Socio-Scientific Construction of a Cold War Weapons System."

  • May 6, 2015

    Vivien Hamilton of Harvey Mudd College introduced her draft, "Physics in the New York Times: 1880-1920".

  • April 1, 2015

    Andrew Zangwill of Georgia Tech introduced his paper, "Density Functional Theory at 50: A Look Back."

  • March 4, 2015

    Peter Ramberg of Truman State University introduced his paper, "Popularizing Astronomy in the German Free Religious Movement, 1850-1852." Abstract: Although historians have outlined the popular treatments of astronomy in the nineteenth century Britain by Mary Somerville, Richard Proctor and Agnes Clerke, the popular presentation of astronomy in nineteenth century Germany remains relatively unexplored. This essay examines articles on astronomy that appeared in Kirchliche Reform, a prominent journal of the German free religious movement of the 1840s and 1850s. This series of eight articles were written by the Halle schoolteacher H. Weißgerber between 1850 and 1852 and took their readers on a tour of the structure and origin of the solar system and the Milky Way. In all of his articles, Weißgerber took every opportunity to show how the results of modern astronomy made traditional religion obsolete.

Group Membership