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 Fridays. 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.


  • jmartin's picture

    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.


  • oleskok's picture

    Kathryn Olesko

    Kathryn Olesko teaches in the Program in Science, Technology and International Affairs and the Department of History at Georgetown University. Her main research interest is the contextual history of physics 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

  • 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.

  • February 4, 2015

    Cameron Lazaroff-Puck, University of Minnesota introduced his paper "Gearing up for Lagrangian Dynamics: The Flywheel Analogy in Maxwell's 1865 Paper on Electrodynamics."

  • December 3, 2014

    Carsten Reinhardt of CHF introduced his draft paper, "The Dynamics of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology."

  • October 29, 2014

    Nasser Zakariya of CHF introduced a draft book chapter, "Tales of Hawks and Hounds: Scientific Narratives of the SSC and NASA Origins"

  • October 1, 2014

    Jessica Wang of UBC introduced her article "Physics, Emotion, and the Scientific Self: Merle Tuve's Cold War", HSNS v.42 n.5.

  • May 7, 2014

    Joe Martin of Colby College introduced his paper, "The Simple and Courageous Course: Industrial Patronage of Basic Research at the University of Chicago, 1945-1961."

  • April 2, 2014

    Bill Rankin of Yale introduced his draft chapter on the politics of military coordinate systems and alternatives to latitude and longitude, "Aiming Guns, Recording Land, and Stitching Map to Territory: The Invention of Cartographic Grid Systems, 1914­-1939."

  • March 5, 2014

    Teasel Muir-Harmony of MIT and PACHS introduced her paper "Selling Space Capsules, Moon Rocks, and America: The Use of Spaceflight in Public Diplomacy, 1961-1979."

  • February 5, 2014

    Alex Csiszar of Harvard University and Chemical Heritage Foundation introduced his "Owning It: authorship and discovery, 1835-1850."

  • December 4, 2013

    Alex Wellerstein of the American Institute of Physics introduced his "'Old H-bomb arguments never die!' Secrecy, invention, and the Teller-Ulam priority dispute."