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Department of History and Philosophy of Science


Researching in museums

Friday 6 October 2023, 1–2pm, Whipple Museum
Joshua Nall

Why is there a museum inside the HPS Department? And how can you use its collections in your research? Get the answers to these questions, and many more, in this seminar, led by the Director and Curator of the Whipple Museum, Josh Nall.

The main goal of this session is to show off the diverse array of instruments, models, and ephemera in the Whipple Museum's collection, and to encourage graduate students to consider using material culture in their research. Many former students have produced outstanding essays and dissertations based on the investigation of Museum object/s, and this session will present examples of this past research and discuss how to work successfully with museum collections.


How to survive the MPhil and Part III

Wednesday 11 October 2023, 4.30–5.30pm, Seminar Room 2
Scott Partington and Florence Robinson Adams

Led by two alumni, this informal session gives HPSM MPhil and Part III students the chance to discuss strategies and share tips.


Using Cambridge archives and manuscripts

Wednesday 11 October 2023, 11am–12noon and 1–2pm, University Library
Katrina Dean

This session will introduce students to the rich scientific collections in the University Library, from iconic manuscripts to new acquisitions covering a wide range of scientific disciplines and historical periods. Whether you are looking for inspiration for your essay or thesis, or a sneak peek at some highlights of Cambridge's scientific heritage, now is your chance. Everyone is welcome but the session is intended primarily for HPS Part III and MPhil students.


How do undergraduate supervisions work?

Friday 13 October 2023, 11am–12noon, Board Room
Marta Halina and Sachiko Kusukawa

All PhD students and postdocs are encouraged to supervise undergraduate students taking Part IB and Part II HPS courses. If you have never done supervisions before, this workshop is an essential prerequisite. It will explain the relationship between lectures and supervisions, departments/faculties and Colleges, and also cover practical topics such as managing reports and payments through CamCORS. It will also provide guidance on effective ways to plan and deliver supervisions for Part IB and Part II, with a particular focus on how to mark and comment on essays, based on real-life examples. There will also be a discussion of the pedagogical functions of supervisions.


How to write an essay in history and philosophy of science

Friday 13 October 2022, 12noon–1pm, Seminar Room 2
Anna Alexandrova, Charu Singh and Richard Staley

What is an essay in history and philosophy of science and how does one produce one of high quality? This session – which is strongly recommended for MPhil and Part III students – covers the basics of writing history essays and philosophy essays and the challenges of doing interdisciplinary work.


How to locate resources in history and philosophy of science

Friday 13 October 2023, 1–2pm, Whipple Library (Old Library)
Kim Alexander and Jack Dixon

Because HPS is such a large and sometimes loosely organised field, it can be challenging to locate the full range of published resources relevant to your work. Jack Dixon will discuss practical strategies for using library resources to quickly and effectively find the resources you need.


Apply for a PhD!

Friday 20 October 2023, 1–2pm, Seminar Room 2
Mary Brazelton and David Thompson

For those considering doing a PhD, in Cambridge or elsewhere, deadlines will soon be looming. This workshop, run by the Director of Postgraduate Education, will explain the Department's PhD admissions requirements and processes. More generally, advice will be provided on choosing places to apply to, finding a workable topic and appropriate potential supervisors, securing references, writing a convincing proposal, and applying for funding.


How to supervise examinable coursework

Friday 27 October 2023, 1–2pm, Seminar Room 1
Stephen John

This session is required for first-time supervisors of examinable coursework (Part III and MPhil papers, and Part II dissertations and primary source essays), and optional for supervisors with previous experience. This workshop will give guidance on helping students choose topics, find and use good sources, plan and carry out research and writing, and manage the constraints of deadlines and word limits. We will also consider strategies for coping with various problem scenarios: how and when to ask for help; questions of confidentiality; and how not to end up doing all the work yourself!


An introduction to data management and Digital Humanities

Friday 3 November 2023, 1–2pm, Seminar Room 1
Jack Dixon

This hour-long session will cover the basics of data management, some digital tools to help, and an introduction to the wider Cambridge Digital Humanities landscape.


How to turn an essay into a publishable article

Friday 7 June 2024, 1–2pm, Seminar Room 1
Marta Halina

It's one thing to please your examiners, but how do you go about impressing journal referees and editors enough to persuade them to publish your work? In this session we will look at the different demands made on examinable work and publishable work, the issue of how to choose a journal, and how to give your work the best possible chance of being accepted.