Abstract:
This lecture examines the role of the 17th C Scientific Revolution (as well as generic scientific revolutions) as a master narrative in the history of science (from George Sarton to Thomas Kuhn) focusing on an approach that called for the use of quantitative methods. The protagonists of this approach, such as  J.D. Bernal, sought to apply the methods of science to the study of science itself, linking their drive for quantification to their claims of objectivity. This practice, called scientometrics, has evolved from a marginal technique to become a respected academic speciality with both political and intellectual appeal.

The lecture further examines the theme of the seminar — “origins” — and compares it to that of “revolution.”

Biosketch:
Elena Aronova is a historian of science working on the history of environmental and evolutionary sciences in the twentieth century. She is interested in the ways in which scientific practices are affected by, and contribute to, social and political order. Her current project examines the history and politics of environmental archives during the Cold War. She also works on the history of “science studies” as it emerged in early Cold War as a politically relevant area of expertise, on both sides of the Iron Curtain. Elena received a Ph.D. in History and Science Studies from the University of California at San Diego in 2012, after earning a doctorate in Biology and History of Science from the Russian Academy of Science.

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