History and Philosophy of Science (L)
Minutes of the 2008 Section L Business Meeting
Section L Business Meeting,
AAAS Annual Meeting
February 16, 2008
Washington Room, Hilton
9:30 - 11.30 a.m.
Notice: To fund travel by speakers, no refreshments were served.
Introductions. Jose Fernandez represented the AAAS national office.
The members approved the 2007 minutes.
2008 Sarton Memorial Lecture, February 16, 12:30pm - 1:15pm Convention Center Room 302
Janet Browne, “Commemorating Darwin: The History of Scientific Celebrations”
Introduction by AAAS President-elect James J. McCarthy, Alexander Agassiz Professor of Biological Oceanography at Harvard University.
2008 Section sessions, Sunday February 17
8:30am - 11:30am, Convention Center Room 310
Earth Observations from Space: 50 Years of Accomplishments
Organized by James Fleming
1:45pm - 3:15pm, Convention Center Room 203
Where Does "Think Globally, Act Locally" Come From?
Organized by Bruce Lewenstein
3:30pm - 5:00pm, Convention Center Room 203
Whose Scientific Judgment?
Organized by Douglas Allchin
Chair Elect: Alan J. Rocke, Case Western Reserve Univ.
Member-at-Large of the Section Committee: Paul Lawrence Farber, Oregon State Univ
Electorate Nominating Committee: Rachelle D. Hollander, National Academy of Engineering/Univ. of Maryland; Phillip R. Sloan, Univ. of Notre Dame
Secretary: Jonathan Coopersmith (2009-12)
Roger D. Launius, National Air and Space Museum: For distinguished scholarship and leadership in the field of space history, and for demonstrating the relevance of history to public policy.
Naomi Oreskes, University of California, San Diego: For distinguished scholarship in the history of earth sciences, and for leadership in relating science and technology studies (STS) to contemporary scientific policy debates.
Robert C. Richardson, University of Cincinnati: For outstanding achievement in the two most important areas to emerge in recent philosophy of science: philosophy of biology and cognitive science; specifically for work on sciences of complex systems.
Financial report (Jonathan Coopersmith)
The base budget for the Section is $2100 plus a rollover of $2100. A section may roll over a balance from the previous year of up to the current year's base budget. This money gives the Section the opportunity to support travel by session speakers and possibly subsidizing graduate students.
Announcements from officers’ meeting
The AAAS is increasingly an international organization with one-third of its members based outside the United States.
The AAAS is launching a new NSF-supported program, aaas.org/communicatingscience, ”to provide resources for scientists and engineers, both online and through in-person workshops to help researchers communicate more broadly with the public.” Two workshops will be held with funding to support travel. The workshops are
- March 14 - San Jose State University
- April 3 - North Carolina State University, Raleigh
Recruitment and publicity at HSS, SHOT, PSA, ICOHTEC, &c.
Leaving copies of Science at the HSS and SHOT meetings was not successful. The Secretary will investigate whether an issue of Science with a cover letter could be given to each HSS registrant at the next meeting.
All the Section officers are requested to write a paragraph about why they are AAAS members and send it to the Secretary. These paragraphs will be sent to society newsletters and placed on the Section L website (which should be created soon).
[added after the meeting] The AAAS operates EurekAlert! for the media, which is an expert's database and a source of press releases. Posting is done by a public relations officer. SHOT, HSS, and PSA secretaries may want to investigate posting news and recent articles on Eureka. Section L members may want to ask their PR department to put them into the Expert's Database. For more information, contact Jill Grigg, 202-326-6718, www.eurekalert.org
Encouraging students, including undergraduates to attend and participate should be a priority. Among the possibilities are subsidizing the cost of attending the meeting and encouraging poster submissions. Because it is launching its first poster session at its annual meeting this year, HSS may prove a jumping-off point for submitting posters to AAAS. We should publicize websites that tell how to make posters to encourage students.
The PSA secretary should be invited to the L meeting in Chicago to explore closer cooperation.
We should try to have more Section L people become Fellows and become active in AAAS. Scientists often are asked about the societal relevance of their work and as they often punt on the human dimensions, this may provide an opportunity for historians and philosophers.
There is not a low-cost membership option to only receive Science electronically. Regular dues are $139, postdocs pay $99, and students $75, with reduced rates for the first year of $99, $50, and $50 respectively.
Opportunities for engagement with AAAS, Public Policy Fellowships, Science Magazine, and other committees and sections.
Bruce Alberts will be the new Science editor. The Secretary will write to offer to help as a resource for the Darwin 2009 coverage and other HPS issues. The challenge is that all the Darwin scholars and many more who are not are already overcommitted. Instead of creating our own list, the letter will mention HSS as a reference.
The issue of guaranteed session slots for sections was discussed. Experience has shown that best way to be accepted is to create multidisciplinary panels.
2009 Sarton Memorial lecturer: Ken Alder, Northwestern University.
Future Sarton speaker selection and preparation.
The Section is cooperating more with HSS in selecting a speaker. The ideal person would be an excellent speaker who is local (to reduce travel costs) and has an appealing topic.
The 2009 meeting theme is “Our Planet and Its Life: Origins and Futures”
This includes processes of discovery and synthesis, origins of earth systems, communication of this understanding and how can this be useful for policy makers.
A key to successful session development is to spread the workload away from the Chair. Consequently, the people who expressed most interest in a session are listed as the lead proposer.
Among the possible sessions the Section may develop and support are:
Defining Life - Betty Smocovitis will investigate
Carol Cleland and Christopher Chyba. as speakers
Possible areas: biology, geochemistry, space exploration
Astronomy: “Other Planets, Other Life” based on a Princeton workshop
400th anniversary of the discovery of the moons of Jupiter and an International Year of Astronomy. Owen Gingrich and Martin Harwit might be good plenary speakers. Jim Fleming will investigate.
Darwin, the anniversary.
Among the suggestions were to focus less on Darwin and more on outcomes, to discuss the evolution/creation-debate, and to work with Biology.
linking Darwin’s sexual selection theory to gender theory
discussing persistent controversies
150th anniversary of petroleum drilling: possibly an interdisciplinary panel on transitioning energy economies.
Possible speakers: Hugh Gorman, Michelle Aldritch, Vic Baker
Audra Wolfe will investigate and possibly cooperate with Geology and Industrial Science & Technology.
Critical issues in the philosophy of biology
The evolutionary development of medicine, past, present, and future
experimental systems, embryology
Jason Robert will investigate
Evolutionary perspective on the history of the scientific method. Danielle Mihram will investigate:
Bayesian causal networks - interdisciplinary benefits of this revolution in data gathering and analysis.
Tom Nickles will investigate in cooperation with other sections.
Chemistry: Wayne Gladfelter
Innovation from an evolutionary perspective. This may work with recent research looking at the “innovation environment”
Possible speaker: Phil Scranton on aerospace
Scott Hauger will investigate
How has and is science being used to help or hinder human rights.
[this emerged later from discussion]
Sara Miles had the idea.
From the Sunday meeting, other Sections expressed interest in these possible sessions that could have a historical or philosophical component. If interested, please let me know so I can put people in contact:
- designing complex infrastructure needs (Engineering)
- sustaining US competitiveness and technology transfer (Engineering)
- the Great Lakes (General Interest)
- cloud computing (Information)
- data (Information)
- environmental influences on health (Medicine)
- influence of medical sciences on evolution (Medicine)
- evolution of medical therapies (Medicine)
- attraction of intelligent design (Social, Economic and Political Sciences)
The 2009 Fellows nomination process will begin in late February.
Betty Smocovitis reported that her experience as Chair helped her find people to run for office.
The Section unanimously passed a resolution thanking Betty Smocovitis for her service.
Danielle Mihram raised the question of whether the Section could do anything for public science day or family science day. The former, according to Jose Fernandez, consists of hands-on sessions for 200-300 middle-school students visiting local universities and talks at the meeting. The latter is hands-on booths. The idea sounded intriguing. Anyone interested in pursuing this idea should contact Jose Fernandez.
The consensus was that a Saturday meeting was preferable to Friday.
Jonathan Coopersmith, Secretary
- James Fleming
- Thomas Nickles
- Jonathan Coopersmith
- Richard Creath
- Karin Ellison
- Jose Fernandez
- J. Scott Hauger
- Jane Maienschein
- Jay Malone
- G. Arthur Mihram
- Danielle Mihram
- Sara Miles
- Jordan Gardenier
- John Gardenier
- Karen Rader
- Sarah Richards
- Jason Roberts
- Margaret Rossiter
- Vassiliki Betty Smocovitis
- Saepa Vrtilek
- Audra Wolfe