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Department of History and Philosophy of Science


These sessions explore books and objects as material sources for the history of science. Co-organised across the Whipple Library and Whipple Museum, each session will be led by expert guides and provide the opportunity for handling and round-table discussion.

Sessions focussed on print will explore some bibliographical techniques to identify and describe the structure and production of textual sources from the manuscript era through to the hand press period (16th–18th centuries), and then to the mechanisation of book production in the 19th and 20th centuries. Material culture sessions will consider objects and collections, providing opportunities to venture outside of the HPS Department to explore some of Cambridge's extraordinary scientific holdings.

All sessions will run 3.00–4.30pm on a Tuesday, avoiding the weeks immediately preceding essay deadlines. The term card can be found below. Places are strictly limited based on the venues' capacities, and signup will be first come, first served.

Organised by Jack Dixon and Joshua Nall.


Michaelmas Term 2023

10 October
Treasures of the Whipple collection & introduction to rare books, led by Jack Dixon
in the Whipple Library

17 October
Book production in the hand-press era, led by Dániel Margócsy & Edwin Rose
in the Whipple Library

24 October
Forgery and sophistication, led by Joshua Nall
in the Whipple Museum

31 October
Vigani's Cabinet, led by Simon Schaffer
at Queens' College

7 November
Book & pamphlet production in the industrial era, led by Jim Secord
in the Whipple Library

21 November
Scientific Collections at the Churchill Archive Centre, led by Allen Packwood
at Churchill College