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Subject: History of Science Seminar
From: Finn Aaserud <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Finn Aaserud <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 21 Feb 2006 20:33:48 +0100
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The Niels Bohr Archive's                    Aud. M, Niels Bohr Institute
History of Science Seminar              Blegdamsvej 21, Copenhagen
                                            Tuesday 7 March 2006, 14.15



                C.A.J. Chilvers, Assistant Professor
                 History of Technology Division
             Technical Knowledge Centre of Denmark (DTV)

                "1931, the year of living dangerously:
                    The Russian Delegation and the
           Second International Congress of the History of Science"

The Second International Congress of the History of Science held in London
in 1931 has acquired an iconic status in the modern discourse. Contrary to
the generally accepted view that the event was intended to be a 'quiet
meeting of historians of science' of standard academic character, the
congress was designed to launch a public intellectual movement for the
history of science, and the debates were carefully sequenced to demonstrate
the contemporary and philosophical relevance of the history of science. The
most serious historical reinterpretation has occurred regarding the Special
Session, allegedly dedicated to the Russian delegation's papers, which
witnessed the crescendo of the confrontation between the Russians and
Charles Singer, the mainstream historian of science mainly responsible for
the organisation of the event. Indeed, the congress needs to be understood
in terms of the political and economic maelstrom in which Britain found
itself in the summer of 1931. The presence of the Russian delegation
exacerbated this tension and brought the political crisis to the floor of
the Science Museum. 

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