The Method of Mirania: Teaching Science at the College of Philadelphia

Nicholas Spicher, Johns Hopkins University<br/>PACHS 2008 Dissertation Research Fellow

Chemical Heritage Foundation, Brown Bag Lecture

Tuesday, October 7, 2008 - 12:00pm

Time: 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. Place: 6th Floor Conference Room, Chemical Heritage Foundation This talk centers on the lecture-demonstration as an innovative method of teaching natural philosophy in the 18th century. The method was popular not only with college audiences but also in the larger culture of public science that was an essential characteristic of the Enlightenment. Using information gained from documents at the American Philosophical Society and the University of Pennsylvania, such as lecture notes, textbooks, and correspondence, Spicher describes the pedagogy of lecture-demonstrations in Philadelphia compared with that in Europe. More than mere diversions for public audiences, these lecture-demonstrations formed a basis for a new kind of scientific education and competed with older educational methods for supremacy. Nicholas Spicher received his bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in 2001. He is pursuing a doctorate in the history of science and technology at Johns Hopkins University. His dissertation will focus on the pedagogy of science in the 18th century. He received a one-month PACHS Dissertation Research Fellowship, the product of which is the current presentation.