Visiting Fellow: Terry Christensen

Terry wrote to PACHS recently about his post-doctoral work:

"The 2009-2010 academic year was very productive for me. This circumstance is due, in large part, to the resources available to me as a PACHS Visiting Fellow. As a consequence of this access, I was able to fully develop two projects, one of which will be submitted for publication in the summer of 2010.

"The first undertaking was to prepare a proposal for a National Science Foundation post-doctoral fellowship that would enable me to work with Professor David Kaiser of MIT on a study that involved a good deal of quantitative history. It was therefore necessary for me to become conversant in scientometrics, an emerging subfield of the Sociology of Science. As a consequence of my PACHS affiliation, I was able to access up-to-date literature in this rapidly evolving area of study so that our proposal was grounded in, and supported by, the most recent and relevant scholarship in this field. Professor Kaiser and I submitted our proposal to the National Science Foundation on 28 January 2010.

"This project is built around an innovative approach to assessing the efficacy of mentors in physics by evaluating the scientific productivity and the impact of the research conducted by those mentor’s former students. On 12 March 2010, I delivered a talk on this methodology at the annual conference of the Columbia History of Science at the University of Washington Marine Biology Laboratory in Friday Harbor, WA. The talk, I might add, was very well received.

"I also prepared an unrelated paper, 'Twin Sons of Different Mothers: John Wheeler, Edward Teller, and the Cold War Quest for Peace through Military Hegemony, 1948–1983,' which was presented in draft form to a PACHS Regional Colloquium on 12 February 2010. The paper generated a good deal of discussion and, as a consequence of the feedback received at the colloquium, I lengthened the paper and fleshed out areas where more detail was needed by the reader. I now believe this work is stronger and more likely to be published with a minimum of editing. Later this month, after consulting with Professor Kaiser as to the optimum journal for this particular article, I will be submitting 'Twin Sons' for publication.

"In sum, the PACHS fellowship has enabled me to produce sound scholarship as well as providing the opportunity for significant professional growth."