When we sent the first Alumni Newsletter last year we boldly declared that it would inaugurate a new tradition in the Program of History of Science and Technology. Now that we are sending a second Newsletter it really is a tradition. We hope that it will allow us to keep in touch with you and allow you to more readily keep up with your classmates.
Many of you have already heard the unsettling news that John Beatty has left the University of Minnesota for a position in the philosophy department at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. John was a fine colleague, friend and teacher to so many of us. We will miss him. Despite the tough financial times we have approval to hire a replacement, and we have already advertised for the position. We hope that in next year's newsletter we will be able to announce the name of our new colleague in the history of modern biology. So far the program has not suffered significantly due to state budget cuts, but we are worried that things will get worse if the economy does not turn up soon. Of course, the University of Minnesota is not in a unique position with regard to severe budget cuts.
After last year's record-breaking five Ph.D.s, we returned to a more normal output with two new ones, Ioanna Semendeferi and Jay Aronson. To learn what they are up to now, see below. However, we welcomed six new Ph.D. students this fall. No doubt you will become familiar with them in the coming years.
The drive for Graduate Student Fellowship funds has been partly successful and continues. Your generous contributions have played an important part in our success. The Tomashes have pledged $150,000 and we have raised nearly $50,000 for the Roger Stuewer fund. While we hoped to have raised more money by now, the university development office has told us that we did quite respectably, considering that we started this fund drive in the worst economic downturn in recent memory. The university is still matching contributions to the Roger Stuewer Fellowship Fund, so that if you wish to make a contribution this year, it will in effect be doubled. Contact Barbara or me to make a contribution, which is, of course, tax deductible.
Many of us, faculty and students, will be at the HSS meeting in Cambridge this November. We hope to see you there, and remember that the Program always hosts a reception in my room for the Minnesota crowd one evening, usually on Saturday. Advance notice: A joint HSS and SHOT annual meeting will be held in Minneapolis 2-6 November 2005.
Best wishes, and we hope to see you soon.
Joe Cain (1995)
(August 2003) I've just been promoted to Senior Lecturer at UCL. Just ending a sabbatical, as the "Frederick H.Burkhardt Resident Fellow in Evolutionary Biology," at the American Philosophical Society Library. I've been elected president of the Society for the History of Natural History, and continue as Associate Editor for Archives of Natural History.
Writing: In addition to the regular stream, the APS has accepted my project, Upgrading Evolution: Documents of the Committee on Common Problems of Genetics, Paleontology, and Systematic which should appear in 2004 as a Transactions of the American Philosophical Society. Monograph on the American synthesis period in evolutionary studies in nearly, nearly completed. Will be in the publisher's hands in the Autumn. More detail can be found on my UCL Web page.
Dr. Joe Cain
Department of Science and Technology Studies
University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT UK
Office: 0207 679 1328 in UK
[+44 207 679 1328 overseas]
also President, Society for the History of Natural History
Robert Ferguson (1996)
Takoma Park, MD
(July 2003) I have two items to report:
- My new e-mail address is
- From 2003-04, I will be the Ramsey Fellow at the National Air and Space Museum
Takoma Park, MD 20912
John P. Jackson, Jr.(1996)
(August 2003) I'm happy to say that I finished a book manuscript this summer. Nadine Weidman of Harvard University and I completed Science, Race, and Racism; a survey of the race concept in western science for ABC-Clio under the editorship of Mark Largent, previously of the University of Minnesota, now at the University of Puget Sound.
Meanwhile, I am still working on the book on how segregationists used scientific arguments in the American South in the 1950s and 1960s. This book continues to grow and I hope to have a complete manuscript sometime this academic year.
I have been invited to join an interdisciplinary seminar here at the University of Colorado. The de Tocqueville Seminar is sponsored by Center to Advance Research and Teaching in the Social Sciences (CARTSS). My project for this seminar is entitled "Nazi Racism, American Racism: Toward a Comparative History." This grows out of the segregation science book. In that book I explore how easily Nazi and Neo-Nazis fit into the White South's defense of racial segregation. For the seminar, I hope to work out some historiographic implications of the ease by which Nazis worked with Americans in the 1930s and after World War II.
If anyone wants to know more about my work, I have papers and project descriptions posted to my website.
John P. Jackson, Ph.D.
Department of Communication
270 UCB, Hellems 94
University of Colorado
Boulder CO 80309-0270
Tel: (303) 492-8739
Shawn Rounds (1996)
Saint Paul, MN
(September 2003) While still in graduate school, I began working as a research historian with a local consulting firm, Hess Roise and Company, which specializes in architectural, engineering, and cultural resource history and preservation. While with Hess Roise, I got to traipse around all sorts of old buildings studying them, as well as doing field surveys of a couple hundred bridges as part of historic bridge inventories for the Minnesota and Michigan state transportation departments. Of course, I also dug into primary sources to put together histories of these objects and to place them within the greater context of the built environment. Most of my projects culminated in nominations for the National Register of Historic Places and HABS/HAER reports (Historic American Buildings Survey / Historic American Engineering Record) for the National Park Service.
Since 1998, I've been an electronic records archivist with the Minnesota State Archives, which is part of the Minnesota Historical Society. The State Archives collects selected records from government entities at all levels, from the governor's office (yes, we got Jesse Ventura's papers) down to townships and school districts. My job is to help these folks manage their electronic records, in all formats and media from databases on mainframes to word processing documents and e-mail, so that they remain accessible and uncorrupted for as long as they're needed. Since the State Archives keeps historical records permanently, that's no small task! Much of my time is spent developing, writing, and promoting guidelines and standards, as well as serving as project manager for several federally-funded grant projects. When I've had spare time, I also edit publications for two professional organizations, including Crossroads, the newsletter of the National Association of Government Archivists and Records Administrators (NAGARA) Committee on Electronic Records and Information Systems.
While I've been doing all of this, my partner of eighteen years, Lyda Morehouse, has been busy publishing a string of science fiction novels which have garnered some national awards and recognition (but, alas, no fortune yet to follow the fame). You can check out her work at http://www.lydamorehouse.com.
On the family side, we suffered a great tragedy with the loss of our daughter, Ella, who was stillborn on August 5, 2002. Only the support and love of friends and family has seen us through these past months. Although we still grieve for her and always will, we are now celebrating the life of our son, Mason, who was born on July 24, 2003. This new, very active, addition to our family has been keeping us wonderfully busy!
State Archives Department
Minnesota Historical Society
345 Kellogg Boulevard West
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55102-1906
Tel: (651) 296-2953
Michael Buckley (1997)
State College, PA
(August 2003) Michael Buckley is currently completing his Ph.D. In English at the Pennsylvania State University. His dissertation is an ecocritical examination of the character of the naturalist in early American nature writing, covering literary natural historians from William Bartram to Henry David Thoreau. In his spare time, Mike enjoys kayaking on the many whitewater rivers rushing off the Appalachian Mountains.
Michael G. Buckley
Tel: (814) 861-7081
Stephen B. Johnson (1997)
Colorado Springs, CO
(August 2003) Stephen Johnson is an associate professor in the Space Studies Department of the University of North Dakota, while living in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Over the last year, Stephen's been doing the usual faculty teaching & research, with two articles on the history of space business and management coming out during the year. The major new activity is that he will be the general editor for Space Exploration and Humanity, a two volume encyclopedia of space history that will be published by ABC-CLIO, scheduled currently for 2006.
Stephen B. Johnson
Associate Professor, Space Studies Dept.
University of North Dakota
Grand Forks, ND 58202
Tel: (719) 487-9833
Chris Young (1997)
(July 2003) Maybe every year just gets bigger than the one before, but this one will be tough to top. Since last summer, I started as a full-time assistant professor in the biology department at Alverno College in Milwaukee. Believe it or not, this was actually my goal when I entered the Program in History of Science and Technology at Minnesota, although I could not have foreseen ending up at a women's college in Wisconsin. Also in the fall, I served as the local arrangements chair for the History of Science Society's meeting in Milwaukee. Actually, this is not a big deal, since HSS now has an office that handles virtually all details of the meeting. I wrote the dining guide. That was about it for them. I continue to serve as the secretary for the International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology. Along with Keith Benson and some excellent folks in Vienna, we put on an amazing meeting in mid-July, with 424 attendees from 42 countries. This was a big deal, for me anyway. My book, out last year (In the Absence of Predators, Nebraska), was reviewed in the latest issue of ISIS. As with other reviews, the consensus seems to be that it is worth reading, although apparently no one is buying any copies. I'm working to complete a manuscript for ABC-CLIO's Science and Society series... any day now, Mark! There's something else. What was it? Oh yes, as most of you know by now, Michelle and I are now proud parents of Riley Daine Young, a baby girl born May 3. We're very excited to have joined the parenting ranks of Mary, Kai, and Juan (by mere days). I do not plan to attend HSS in November, so I'll be looking forward to keeping in touch via email.
Department of Biology
3400 S. 43rd Street
Milwaukee, WI 53234
Erik M. Conway (1998)
(August 2003) I'm currently (still?) working as a contract historian for the NASA Langley Research Center. Last June I completed a book-length history of supersonic transport research that is currently under consideration at the Johns Hopkins University Press. I'm now working on a history of NASA atmospheric science research that I'm supposed to have done in 2005. After a bust of a winter ski season (zero hours on the snow) I've managed to do quite a bit of whitewater kayaking on the Lehigh and Youghigheny Rivers in Pennsylvania this summer with Mike Buckley. My bruises from the Youghigheny have even healed. I hope to see lots of Minnesotans on the conference circuit this fall.
Erik M. Conway
NASA Langley Research Center
Diana Kenney (1998)
Marstons Mills, MA
(August 2003) I don't have any news to report this year -- my life is essentially the same as last year except my son is closer to being in school! (He enters kindergarten in September.) I'm still freelance writing and editing, and working part-time for the Cape Cod Times.
Tel: (508) 428-2722
Amy Foster (1999)
(August 2003) In May 2003, Amy Foster was awarded the Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Fellowship at the National Air and Space Museum. She will be in residence in Washington, DC for a year beginning in September. The fellowship will give her the opportunity to complete research and the writing of her dissertation on the politics and logistics at NASA during the 1970s and 1980s once the decision was made to send women into space. In addition, Amy's chapter on women in aviation during the 1990s will appear in print as part of the rerelease of Debbie Douglas' book Women in Aviation in America: 1945 — Present by the University of Kentucky Press in the late fall.
I'll continue to get and check email through my Auburn address. But I can be reached as well at .
Mark A. Largent (1999)
(August 2003) I'm teaching history of science and American history classes at the University of Puget Sound as a visiting assistant professor. The book-that-was-formerly-known-as-my-dissertation is just about done and I am preparing to send it off to Johns Hopkins University Press.
University of Puget Sound
Department of History
1500 N. Warner Street, #1033
Tacoma, WA 98416-1033
Tel: (253) 879-3977
Al Martinez (2000)
(September 2003) Having just now completed his two year term at the Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology, Al Martinez was finally pried off of his office door frame, and forcefully evicted and dispossessed, as he and his material and digital belongings were summarily displaced into the real world. At this moment what once were the entrails of his office now sprawl in cardboarded cubed forms in the center of his bedroom floor. Remember that Marx defined modernity as the period when everything solid dissolves in the air. By the way, the Dibner building itself will one day be demolished, as the Sloan School of Management of MIT takes over the site. (karma going around and coming around.) Happily, the Institute will live on. Meanwhile, aside from peanut brittle and caramel corn, Al's recent past has included book reviews, TV interviews, an active role in the Association of Postdocs of MIT, articles about Ritz, Einstein, and Euler, (or about truth, beauty, and the American way) and the uphill treacherous struggle to publish a book manuscript (or two). Lessons we already knew but should remember: Publishers are looking for books that resemble other books; If you don't say what you Don't mean, people will think That's what you mean; Don't expect the "review process" to be fair and square, it's just square. Oh well, keep sending it in, sooner is better than later, of course, but later is better than posthumous. Currently, it seems, Al Martinez will be a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Philosophy and History of Science at Boston University, and has a grant from the American Institute of Physics. He's also waiting to hear about a possible job at the AIP, the prospects looked good, but the plot thickened. So often it does! Still-current projects: Physical Mathematics, or, Minus Times Minus is What?, and, The Neglected Science of Motion: A History of Kinematics from Ampere to Einstein.
David Sepkoski (2002)
(June 2003) I'm pleased to announce that our daughter, Ella Sally Sepkoski, was born at 3:26 p.m. on June 17. She weighed 7lbs 8oz, and was 20.5 inches long. Not bad for a kid who was almost 2 weeks early. Dara had to have a c-section, but both baby and mom are fine, and are now home recovering. We welcome calls at 440.774.4328. If you'd like to see some snaps of the baby, point your browser to http://home.earthlink.net/~dsepkosk/Ella.htm.
Oberlin College ? Department of History
Rice Hall 301
10 N. Professor St.
Oberlin, OH 44074
Tel: (440) 775-6708
Jay Aronson (2003)
Jamaica Plain, MA
(August 2003) The past year has been quite exciting for me. Most importantly, my unbelievably wonderful wife, Tamara, and I were married in October 2002. She is originally from South Africa, spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Burkina Faso, West Africa, and is currently completing her doctorate in public health. We honeymooned in the Western Cape region of South Africa, which is home to Cape Town, several wine valleys, and some of the most spectacular scenery on earth. The highlight of the trip was a 4-day hike along the coast of the Indian Ocean called the Otter Trail. It is considered by many people (including me) to be the most beautiful hike in the world. Upon returning to Boston, I spent the next five months chained to my desk completing my dissertation on the development of forensic DNA analysis in the American criminal justice system. I am happy to report that I successfully defended in June 2003. I am now a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Program on Science, Technology and Society at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.
Jay D. Aronson
Tel: (617) 522-5859
Ioanna Semendeferi (2003)
(Aug 2003) Ioanna Semendeferi graduated with her Ph.D. degree in May 2003. Her dissertation is entitled: "Exploiting Uncertainty in Radiation Limits: Monticello Dissenters, Health Physicists, and the Civilian Nuclear-Power Debate." She is currently looking for ways to convert her dissertation into a book. She spent the summer in Greece visiting Athens, Thessaloniki, Halkidiki, and the islands of Crete, Ydra, and Skiathos. She also spent some time in New York City. She is living in Houston with her husband, Ioannis Pavlidis, who is associate professor at the Computer Science Department of the University of Houston. They are travelling frequently around the world and enjoy swimming year round.
Ioanna Semendeferi, Ph.D.
Houston, TX 77007
Tel: (713) 864-7366