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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 branded as 'Science in 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. Sessions branded 'Material Sources' will consider objects and collections, providing opportunities to venture outside of the HPS Department to explore some of Cambridge’s extraordinary scientific material culture.

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. Head over to Moodle now to book your place.

Organised by Jack Dixon and Joshua Nall.


Michaelmas Term 2022

11 Oct: Science in Print 1
Treasures of the Whipple collection, led by Jack Dixon, in the Whipple Library

18 Oct: Material Sources 1
Thinking with objects, led by Joshua Nall, in the Whipple Museum

25 Oct: Science in Print 2
Early Modern print, led by Dániel Margócsy & Edwin Rose, in the Whipple Library

1 Nov: Material Sources 2
Objects from the ends of the Earth, led by Charlotte Connelly, at the Polar Museum

8 Nov: Science in Print 3
Mechanised book production, led by Jim Secord & Edwin Rose, in the Whipple Library

22 Nov: Material Sources 3
Vigani's cabinet, led by Simon Schaffer, at Queens' College


Lent Term 2023

17 Jan: Science in Print 4
East Asian print culture, led by Mary Brazelton, at the Needham Research Institute

31 Jan: Material Sources 4
Colour: Art, science and power, led by Anita Herle, at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

7 Feb: Science in Print 5
Middle Eastern manuscripts, led by Yasmin Faghihi, at the University Library

17 Feb (Friday): Material Sources 5
Global botanical collecting, led by Lauren Gardiner, at the University Herbarium

21 Feb: Science in Print 6
Historic printing, led by Colin Clarkson, at the University Library

28 Feb: Material Sources 6
Historic printing, led by Colin Clarkson, at the University Library