The first season of the Philadelphia Regional Colloquium in the History of Science, Technology and Medicine concluded with a discussion at the Franklin Institute of Anke Timmermann's work on alchemical recipes. Each meeting of the series was a discussion of a pre-circulated paper that was distributed from this web site. In addition to Dr. Timmermann's chapter, participants read and discussed the work of Arwen Mohun of the University of Delaware, Dominique Tobbell of the University of Pennsylvania, and Amy Slaton of Drexel University. The topics ranged from managing fire risk in the 18th century to healthcare policy to the influence of attitudes toward race in engineering education.
Each colloquium was held in a different venue among PACHS consortium member institutions--the Library Company of Philadelphia, the Academy of Natural Sciences, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and the Franklin Institute.
Despite the required reading, the changing venue, an ice storm, and exam week, average attendance was 30 individuals from about 20 different educational, research and cultural institutions between Princeton, NJ, and Wilmington, DE. We also had several participants from other states and other countries who were visiting the area. The discussions were uniformly lively and challenging, to the benefit of both authors and audience.
Each evening was capped off with a social hour and light dinner. Here, a Drosophila on the wall would have observed a graduate student being introduced to a senior scholar with mutual interests, a scholar from one institution being invited to teach a class at another, a speaker being asked to present in another forum, and a scholar recently arrived in Philadelphia meeting his new colleagues.
The series resumes in Fall 2008. Please watch this space for the program and join us!