History of Science


History of Science Department

The History of Science Department, located in Science Center Room 371, aims to study science, technology, and medicine in their historical and social contexts.


In New Letter, Harvard Divinity School Students Join Calls to Review Prof. Ragab Tenure Denial

A group of Harvard Divinity School students have joined undergraduates in criticizng the school's decision to deny Associate Professor Ahmed Ragab tenure in a letter to University President Lawrence S. Bacow, University Provost Alan M. Garber ’76, and Divinity School Dean David N. Hempton this week.


Digitizing the Sky

In the 1880s, Edward Charles Pickering, a stout Harvard astronomer whose deeply angled eyebrows recall an angry cartoon character, took on a new project: photographing the entire sky.


On Harvard Time: When Harvard Sold the Time

The year was 1839. William Cranch Bond was a clockmaker and astronomer living in Dorchester, Mass. Bond had been commissioned by the United States government under Captain Charles Wilkes to conduct measurements of longitude and “other scientific purposes” for the Navy’s Exploring Expedition of the Pacific Ocean.


Black Hole Initiative Receives $7.2 Million in Funding

​Harvard’s newly formed Black Hole Initiative received funding two weeks after world-renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking spoke about the initiative to a packed Sanders Theatre on April 19.


Retrospection: Agassiz's Expeditions in Brazil

But for Agassiz, the trip to Brazil was about more than science. Not only was evolution—a process not immediately observable to the human eye—deeply antithetical to Agassiz’s staunch empiricism, evolution was profoundly at odds with his perceived world order.


At Black Hole Talk, Stephen Hawking Draws Massive Audience

​World-famous theoretical cosmologist Stephen W. Hawking discussed the history of and recent breakthroughs in research on black holes at the inauguration of Harvard's Black Hole Initiative.


In Out of the Box Lecture, Student Learns From a Cardboard Box

As the College looks to increase its focus on teaching and learning, one professor is thinking out of this world—giving a lecture on space travel on Wednesday while one of his students sat inside a small, 1.5 cubic meter cardboard box.


Space Capsule Simulation

History of Science assistant professor Matthew H. Hersch’s class simulated a space capsule launch in class on Wednesday, with various students in charge of radio, rescue, and other duties.


Professors Discuss Rage at Interdisciplinary Symposium

Harvard professors from four different departments discussed the phenomenon of rage in human behavior.


Space Capsule Simulation

Dina M. Sinno, a student in History of Science assistant professor Matthew H. Hersch’s Space Medicine class, enters a constructed space capsule for a class simulation on what life is like for astronauts. Other students were in charge of other roles involved in a space capsule launch.


Professor Wins History of Science Award

The Sarton Medal is awarded every year to a scholar from the international community and is considered one of the highest honors in the history of science field.


15Q: Jonathan Eig, Author of 'The Birth of the Pill'

Sex: college students are pretty much always thinking, talking about, and (sometimes) doing it. That hasn’t always been the case. Recently journalist Jonathan Eig spoke at the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine at Harvard Medical School about his new book, “The Birth of the Pill.” The story of the birth control pill’s invention is riddled with twists, turns, dashing characters, and plenty of sexual activity. FM’s conversation with Eig was less salacious, but no less salty or stimulating.


One Year after Marathon Bombings, Countway Library’s Digital Archive Commemorates Emergency Medical Response

The Countway Library of Medicine is continuing its efforts to expand “Strong Medicine,” a digital archive that captures and compiles the stories of last year’s emergency respondents.


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