our program at a glance
Please help yourselves to our program at a glance informat. The abstracts can be found below in alphabetical order.
Monday, 19th July
Registration (9 a.m. - 12 p.m.)
We kindly ask to complete your registration in the conference office, so we will ascertain that your certificates will be printed and where you'll receive a bag with materials related to the conference and the city.
Opening and First Plenary (2 p.m., HEL 160)
Opening ceremony and organisers' welcome
P. Brenni: Changing perspectives: History of scientific artefacts and teaching instruments.
late afternoon session A
M. Texeira: Uncovering scientific practices through a collection
M. Mayoni: Teaching Natural History in Argentina in the 19th century
P. Heering: Categorising teaching devices in physics education
late afternoon session B
D. Munns: Teaching Reactors in the golden age of nuclear power
B. Hof: the first nuclear reactor for training
Díaz, Lubia: The Subcritical Set. A Nuclear Reactor devoted to Cuban Physicists and Nuclear Engineers ́ training and education
Tuesday, 20th July
morning session A (9 a.m. - 10.30 a.m.)
M. Markert: Enacting Experimental Physics in the Lecture Hall
R. Kremer: Introducing Electronic Experiments into Physics Teaching in the 1920's
J. Simon: Tradition vs. Innovation in the Making of Physics Pedagogy in America
morning session B (9.30 a.m. - 10.30 a.m.)
Carlos A. Cardoso: The transformations of the topic 'light intensity'
T. Van der Spek: The birth of the earth: theory, visualization and perception
plenary talk (11 a.m., HEL 160)
Talas, Sofia: At the beginnings of experimental physics teaching
early afternoon session A (2 p.m. - 3.30 p.m.)
E. Bertozzi: Talkative lost objects from Laura Bassi's cabinet
S. Fischer: The Pictet cabinet: instruments at service of demonstration
C. Herrmann: The Historical Physical Cabinet in Goerlitz
early afternoon session B (2 p.m. - 3.30 p.m.)
L. Ugbudian: OoU in the Educational Sector: Nigerian Experience
Wittje, Roland: Robert Pohl: German teaching instruments and practices in India
C. Silva: Sc hool collections of scientific instruments in Brazil
late afternoon session A (4 p.m. - 5.30 p.m.)
A. Lykknes: Crookes Model of the PSE
E .Charwat: Model tweaks, or, arguing with the object: late 19th- and early 20thcentury in-house customisation and use of models at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History (OUMNH)
J. Mueller: A Perspective on Educational Cell Models between History of Science and Artistic Research
late afternoon session B (4 p.m. - 5.30 p.m.)
J. Besouw: between hydrostatics and dynamics
P. Present: Van Musschenbroek’s teachings on projectile motion
H. Kostur: The Water Gauge Legacy
Wednesday, 21st July
road trip to Hauch's Physiske Cabinet in Sorø (Denmark)
Hauch's Physiske Cabinet is in the west of Denmark's main island, Sealand, in the small town of Sorø. The travelling time should be around three hours by bus. The departure time from the Helsinki building is 8 a.m. , we expect to be back in Flensburg around 7 p.m. .
Thursday, 22nd July
morning session A (9 a.m. - 10.30 a.m.)
F. Pierri: A Different Kind of Computer Game
S. Johnston: Object Lessons in the Asylum: Thomas Dexter and the Portable Museum
P. Urbanowicz: Affordances of electric machines in public science in Poland
morning session B (9 a.m. - 10.30 a.m.)
Takis Lazos: The Case of the Argyropoulos apparatus
Francoise KhantineLanglois: Instruments for teaching free fall from the XIXth century
Wolfgang Engels: Einstein's Simple Proof of Ampere's Molecular Current
plenary talk (11 a.m., HEL 160)
Maerker, Anna: Models and role models: learning about natural and social order through artificial bodies
early afternoon session A (2 p.m. - 3.30 p.m.)
A. Gouveia: Angola in a Box: A Collection of Glass Slides for the Teaching
Holly, Marc: Collections of the Royal School for Weaving, Dyeing and Finishing
Zaum, Jörg The object tableau as a didactic form of knowledge representation
early afternoon session B (2 p.m. - 3.30 p.m.)
R. Evans: Problem solving: hand- and homemade objects
T. McCloughlin: Physiological Botanical Instructional Artefacts
E. Cavicchi: Physical Manipulations: Teach Students to Think
late afternoon session A (4 p.m. - 5.30 p.m.)
D. Correia: The Kaleidoscope: the tale of a child's toy
J. Tapdrup: The Wise Swan: Education or Entertainment?
A. Schirrmacher: Revolution in Objects of Understanding
late afternoon session B (4 p.m. - 5.30 p.m.)
S. Newell: Interplay between Research and Teaching
Doria, Corinne: Training the modern physician: The introduction of the ophthalmoscope in medical education (1850-early 20th century)
M. Gajek: A Drawing as a teaching aid in biology
poster session at Phänomenta (7 p.m., with finger food and drinks)
Bravo Williams, Adriana: Science education in interactive museums
Holländer, Ruben: Historical Educational Apparatuses regarding the Mechanical Equivalent of heat: Historical, performative and material aspects
Kostur, Hakki Ilker: Can Model Catapults Bring Science, Mathematics, Technology, Engineering and History Together?
Lombardi Barbosa, Andrea: The construction of meaning
McCloughlin, Thomas: The Herbarium as a set of Botanical Instructional Artefacts
Morelli, Caterina: Experiencing Botany through interactivity and multisensoriality. The Brendel models case study
Will, Maria: The future of tradition: from 3-D to 2-D and back again?
Friday, 23rd July
early morning session (9 a.m. - 10.30 a.m.)
P. Nykänen: Thin blue line between Science and Technology: The Huber Model of the water closet
C. Forstner: From research to education: Mach-Zehnder interferometers for teaching students and museum visitors
F. Elliott: From Working Machine to Educational Tool – A Steam Turbine and Generator at the Science and Industry Museum
late morning session (11 a.m. - 12.30 p.m.)
S. Muravska: The New Melody of Ancient Sounds: What Secrets the Old Machine Lab Hides?
E. Angelini: The Origins of Politechnico di Torino: The Scuola di Applicazione per Ingeneri and the Regio Museo Industriale Italiano
L. Jeanson: not only new instruments for teaching
Brenni, Paolo: Changing perspectives: History of scientific artefacts and teaching instruments.
(to be updated)
Märker, Anna: Models and role models: learning about natural and social order through artificial bodies
(to be updated)
Talas, Sofia: At the beginnings of experimental physics teaching
In 1738, a chair of experimental physics was created at the University of Padua. The chair was assigned to Giovanni Poleni, who can be regarded as one of the first-generation professors of experimental physics in Europe, together with figures like Pieter van Musschenbroek and Willem ’s Gravesande. For the first time, science teaching was based on observations and demonstrations, and the new professors actually had to elaborate a totally new methodology of teaching.
In this paper, we will examine instruments and archival documents, in order to try to shed light on the challenges Poleni had to face to set up his lectures. We will discuss the way instruments were used, both for teaching and to spread around the new teaching practices.
Angelini, Emma: objects of understanding of the Scuola de Applicazione per Ingenieri at Politecnico di Torino: the Curioni Collection
With the birth of the Kingdom of Italy and the reorganization of education (lex Casati), in 1859 the first two schools for engineers were established in Turin and Milan. Furthermore in 1862, the Museo Industriale Italiano, one of the first examples of industrial museum in Europe, was founded in Turin. The Politecnico di Torino originated by the merge, in 1906, between the Regio Museo Industriale Italiano (Royal Italian Industrial Museum) and the Scuola di Applicazione per Ingegneri (Application School for engineers). The innovative character of the two institutions, devoted to develop the modern engineer, is the combination of theoretical lectures, experimental laboratories and collections of didactic models, mostly made by the school staff on recommendations of professors. The engineering school supplied itself with painted wooden models that reproduce to scale bridges, foundations, infrastructures, tunnels, models of mechanical machines, kinematic, rotating, toothed wheels, as well as minerals collections, measurement instruments, models and drawings of buildings.
The aim of those collections, used for didactical purposes, was to provide students with an educational complement useful for the immediate three-dimensional and small-scale visualization of the principles that govern the functioning and stability of each apparatus. The Curioni Collection, organized by Giovanni Curioni (1831-1887) professor of Constructions, is an outstanding example. About 150 models made of wood related to construction science are present, they represent structures, foundations, vaults, retaining walls, bridges, tunnels, railway tracks and models of existing structures as well.
The possibility of opening the models, composing and reassembling them allows to know their workmanship, to explore every single element in detail, to analyze the application peculiarities, the connections between the parts, the dimensions of width, height and depth. From the decomposition of each model, it is possible to visualize the correspondence between form and function, appreciate the technical details, the texture of the constructive apparatus and the tricks implemented by the professor in order to allow the assessment and the study the peculiarities of each structure. In addition to their educational role, the precision with which the models are manufactured make them an exceptional tool in order to understand the architectural design of the time and the evolution of the technological features.
Bertozzi, Eugenio: The talkativeness of lost objects. The physics Cabinet of Laura Bassi and the teaching of physics in the 18th Century
As first female University Professor, Laura Bassi has been widely studied by historians of science: the secret training as gifted girl in logic, metaphysic and "art of scientific argumentation", the public coming-out as female scientist in front the Senate of the City of Bologna and the appointment to the University chair of philosophy in 1732. Exploited as sign of emancipation by a Church-protected University, she was forbidden to regularly teach ("causa sexus") and rather exhibited on few, special occasions, such as the visit of international authorities.
The 40 years-long activity as public teacher delivering open physics classes at her house to "young people and foreigners" was a reaction to discrimination and, at the same time, her true scientific and immaterial legacy. After her death in 1778, she became myth and object of emulation. Her private, physics cabinets (made of hundreds instruments for optics, electricity, inflammable air, heat, gravity, mechanics, …) fell into the hands of private collectors and was completely dispersed.
New insights will be added to this rich panorama: a careful analysis of the full inventory of the cabinet and original sources not yet considered by historians will allow to understand whether Laura Bassi way of teaching – her peculiar way of crafting and delivering explanations on light, colours, ... - might be partly retraced and understood. The task imposes to understand whether "lost objects" are still revealing of scientific discourses and practices and to what extent they can be mobilized to reconstruct the scientific identity of the historical character.
Cardoso, Carlos Adriano: The transformations of the topic 'light intensity' in the context of teaching optics in physics courses
The doctrines of eighteenth-century physicists concerning the nature and properties of light came to light through the Gravesande or Musschenbroek compendia, in which we could find references and observations regarding the varying intensity of illumination of objects according to the distance to the light source. The later introduction of photometers and the establishment of reference units emerged throughout the century and mentioned in the successive compendiums.
Research on the topic 'Light Intensity' in physics textbooks allows us to know about the various photometer models and how photometry has consolidated itself as research and practical activity.
This paper seeks to investigate the possible relationships between research conducted in the field of optics, the demands, and economic interests related to the public lighting industry, and the teaching of photometry in the physics courses of the University of Coimbra (UC) in the mid 19th and early 20th centuries. With this in focus, we had researched leading textbooks published in Europe in this period. We also examined in the academic files of the UC, trying to understand how these scientific instruments were used in the classroom, in experiments, and the respective measurements carried out by teachers and students.
Cavicchi, Elizabeth: Physical Manipulations- Teach Students To Think and Open to Doing Research
Practical laboratory work and observation figured prominently in the education that Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston USA undertook at its nineteenth century founding. Emphasizing the "habit of close observation and reasoning" (Rogers 1861, 24), instruction at this new technical school departed from the lecture and demonstration format then prevalent. Edward C. Pickering, later Harvard Observatory’s director, established the physics laboratory to support student-conducted experiments and student research. Students’ direct involvement with apparatus is documented in Pickering’s lab manual (1872; successive editions to 1886). The manual described apparatus in detail, activities to perform with it, and analyses and science principles it elucidated. Briefing students on specific modes of failure in each apparatus, and its tendency (or not) to exhibit the physical behavior under study, the manual advised students to improvise, adjust and initiate projects of their own. An adjoining workshop, equipped with a lathe, was intended for such student use. With their own hands, students constructed parts and apparatus of their own design, "to carry out any ideas that may occur"(1873, vi). Intended to "teach a student to think" (1873, vi), these activities of physical manipulations opened education to actions of research. Drawing on practices, photos, apparatus, and student notebooks, dating from Pickering’s time and subsequent generations, this paper explores relations between student physical manipulations with apparatus and student initiation of research. Opportunity for student initiative and manipulations, a hallmark of Pickering’s laboratory, waned. Students entered research by other contexts, having other apparatus, rather than through the introductory physics lab.
Celestinho Silva, Cibelle: School collections of scientific instruments in Brazil
In the 1930s, Brazilian education went through reforms that emphasized scientific disciplines and the installation of school laboratories and cabinets in some Brazilian schools. These cabinets were collections of materials such as devices and instruments, models of animals, plants and human organs, etc. In the case of physics, the instrument collections were purchased from European companies such as Les Fils D’ Emile Deyrolle and Max Kohl Chemnitz. These artifacts can be found in schools in different conditions of preservation, and their displays vary significantly among schools. Over the last decade, there was a movement for cataloging, studying and organizing such collections. In this talk, I present collections from three schools in São Paulo State, which illustrate the circulation of such instruments' from Europe to Brazil, relating such trade with Brazilian social context in the early 20th century.
Charwat, Elaine: Model tweaks, or, arguing with the object: late 19th- and early 20th-century in-house customisation and use of models at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History (OUMNH)
Natural history models and casts were often adapted, and variations of models sold by dealers were produced in-house, especially by university departments, and are still found in many natural history collections today. How objects were changed and enhanced, for instance through remounting, the use of local reference systems and labels, accompanying booklets, additional drawings, materials or colours, can provide evidence of institutional teaching and research practices which are often not recorded otherwise.
This paper will include examples ranging from in-house "tweaking" to complete in-house production of models for research and teaching at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History in the second half of the 19th to the early 20th century. These examples not only reflect institutional cultures, but also different forms of communication at work. I will show that these objects manifest the ways in which institutions react to changing scientific environments through "arguing with the object" – both in the sense of using the objects for teaching, but also engaging with them about the theories and data they embody. Also, how authority — of the scientists and the producers involved in making the models, combined with specific institutional knowledge practices – shapes the "authenticity" of knowledge objects.
At the OUMNH, a number of handwritten booklets and labels survive. Together with other evidence linked to specific objects, they provide clues not only of how the models were used, but how they became active participants in the ongoing scientific debates of the late 19th and early 20th century.
Correia, Dawn: The Kaleidoscope: The Tale of a Childs Toy
The Kaleidoscope which was introduced by Sir David Brewster in 1816 quickly found a position as a children’s toy for which it has been ever since.
The wonders of the kaleidoscopes colourful and mesmerizing patterns are quickly experienced, and once the novelty of the kaleidoscope has ended, it lays abandoned and forgotten, relegated to the dusty cobwebs of childhood memories in favour of other exciting technology driven experiences that surround the contemporary world today.
Drawing upon Sir David Brewster’s A Treatise on the Kaleidoscope (1819) and material artefacts in museum collections, this paper offers an alternative perspective by re-evaluating the kaleidoscope giving some insight into how it has made a more significant contribution to knowledge over the last 200 years.
Both the intended and unintended impact of the kaleidoscope will be explored positioning its educational worth from a perspective informed by early 19th century scientific and technological changes where ‘rational amusements’ and ‘philosophical and optical’ instruments were born. Threads will be taken to discuss how the kaleidoscope has played a diverse part in developments of ideas that have impacted on today’s world.
Brewster’s kaleidoscope stands as an example of how the dissemination of an artefact and associated can provide greater insight and understanding in a cross disciplinary manner.
Ultimately, the kaleidoscope has provided a sophisticated educational legacy that it should be valued for beyond the label of a ‘child’s toy’.
Diaz Bernal, Lubia: The Subcritical Set. A Nuclear Reactor devoted to Cuban Physicists and Nuclear Engineers´ training and education.
Throughout the history of science in Cuba there is a section insufficiently explored in specialized studies: the training of professionals in nuclear science.
This research aims to systematize the history of the only nuclear installation that exists in Cuba, which has been closely related to the consolidation and training process of these Cuban nuclear scientists. We will refer to the subcritical natural uranium - light water reactor, conceived to prepare undergraduate students in the fields of Neutron Physics and Nuclear Rectors. The Reactor arrived from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) to Cuba in mid-1968, and immersed in complex political circumstances, it was practically dismantled to later be located in one of the oldest buildings of the University of Havana in order to fulfill with the mission that was entrusted to him: to prepare students in the management of nuclear facilities.
For the realization of this presentation we are based on the consultation of technical documents associated with the device, as well as a review of files of interest and mainly testimony of people who were closely linked throughout the life of the Reactor, even before the arrival in Cuban soil. The main objective is to make visible the importance of instruments like this one, which despite their antiquity and even precise interventions in order to extend their useful life, retain their initial values and have contributed to the development of many Cuban scientists.
Doria, Corinne: Training the modern physician : The introduction of the ophthalmoscope in medical education (1850-early 20th century)
Invented in 1851 by Hermann von Helmholtz, the ophthalmoscope has radically changed the
practice of ophthalmology. Making it possible to see the interior of a living eye, this instrument
opened a vast horizon to medical explorations of anatomy, physiology, and pathologies of the
visual apparatus. Its use for pedagogical purposes started almost immediately. In Europe and the
United States, physicians organized training sessions in hospitals and clinics; in medical schools,
the recently created ophthalmology courses included lessons ophthalmoscopy.
Early models of ophthalmoscopes hardly suited pedagogical purposes. They could be used
only by one observer at the time, they were difficult to manipulate, and they were expensive for
medical students. Physicians and opticians began hence designing ophthalmoscopes intended
explicitly for medical education. In 1858, French ophthalmologist Xavier Galezowski patented the
first ophthalmoscope for multiple observers; by the 1870s, dozens of simplified ophthalmoscopes
were available on the market, as well as inexpensive instruments for medical students.
Learning how to use an ophthalmoscope required competences in physics and
mathematics, optics and mechanics; operating it developed observational and tactile skills.
Ophthalmoscope’s rapid diffusion in medical education hence indicates medicine's transformation
from a learned profession into a science-based clinical practice.
This paper will analyze the modality of the introduction of the ophthalmoscope in medical
education during the second half of the 19th-century, and the relation between the characteristics
of this instrument and the practice of teaching medicine. It aims at provoking a reflection on the
role of technology in medical education at the time of it was moving from being an art to becoming
Elliot, Francesca: From Working Machine to Educational Tool – A Sectioned Steam Turbine and Generator at the Science and Industry Museum
This steam turbine and generator, built in 1937, began life as a working machine in a brickworks, before being moved to the Works School of the Metropolitan-Vickers Electrical Company in Manchester, UK. The machine’s removal to the Works School was performed by apprentices themselves, and once at the school it underwent several alterations to turn it from an object of work into an object of education. Hands-on learning with real machinery was considered an essential part of a technical apprenticeship, and yet the fast-moving components of many machines meant they were almost entirely encased, with their inner workings obscured from view. As such, this turbine underwent sectioning, with several parts of the outer casing cut away to reveal the inner workings, vastly increasing its educational potential. In 1970, the turbine and generator was donated to what is now the Science and Industry Museum, where it underwent further physical changes intended to maximise its potential in this new, informal educational setting.
This paper will examine how and why each custodian of the turbine made material alterations to it in order to change its educational use. It will look at how the sectioning of an object changes the way that students and the public interact with and experience the object. Finally, it will also consider ethical and educational questions around the running of working machinery in museums.
Engels, Wolfgang: Einstein's Simple Experimental Proof of Ampere's Molecular Currents
On February 19th, 1915 Einstein and de Haas presented their paper "Experimenteller Nachweis der Ampereschen Molekularströme" (Experimental Proof of Ampere's Molecular Currents). Only six days later, on February 25th, Einstein delivered a second talk, to promote understanding and reception of the proof. The lecture title reads as follows: "Ein einfaches Experiment zum Nachweis der Ampereschen Molekularströme" (A Simple Proof of Ampere's Molecular Currents).
As a variant of the quantitative Experiment Einstein suggested university lecturers to build a working device being able to visualize the existence of the currents in question. Despite simplification this instrument basically is according to the same design, but the alternating current is in need to be produced by manual operation, i.e. switching a commutator. Einstein’s follow-up paper indeed represents a construction manual containing any required information enabling university workshops, skilled lecturers or teaching materials manufacturers to build the cut-down version for educational purposes.
Did the theoretician Einstein indeed aim to present a didactical device? Did he succeed with his attempt to promote the reception in lecture theatres? Because of the very short period between these two talks it could be speculated, that the "simple experiment" existed in fact from a very early stage of the project. Einstein and de Haas may have benefited from working with some prominent materials researchers at the Physikalisch-Technische Reichsanstalt in Berlin who had focused on the development of dynamo sheets for electric motors.
Evans, Rosanna: Problem solving: hand- and home-made objects in the Science Museum’s English school science teaching collections, 1944-1988
Despite a resurgence in interest, the impact of learning experiences on scientific culture remains underestimated. Historiographies of science education, initially formed in the 1970s, have considered policy change and educational structure. This logistical and political history informed us of what ought to have happened rather than examining classroom or "grassroots" interactions and endeavouring to gain a democratic comprehension of the impact of learning about science. There is a dearth of research exploring how educational occurrences were actually experienced by young people. Here, material culture is a valuable asset. A tentative resurgence of work on education has looked to university teaching collections and textbooks, frequently examining education systems forming during the 19th century. Yet what of modern schools and educational techniques? For in Britain, as well as in many other countries, compulsory school experiences now affect almost every citizen. This paper will investigate genuine teacher behaviours and student experiences by employing object biographies to elucidate information about relevant educationalstructures, networks, and regulations and gather authentic information.1 The Science Museum in London holds over 1200 teaching objects: many collected from schools or donated by teachers, many constructed by science teachers for specific purposes. By investigating these hand-made objects (motivations for construction, use and donation; materials for build; evidence of use), real evidence can be gathered about formative experiences of science.
Fischer, Stéphane: The Pictet cabinet: instruments at the service of demonstration
Teaching physics through demonstration and experiment. Such was the option taken by the Geneva physicist Marc-Auguste Pictet (1752-1825) for his experimental physics courses given to students of the Academy of Geneva (the ancestor of the current university) but also in the framework of public courses open to everyone, ladies included.
To reach its goal, he created a large cabinet of demonstration instruments (nearly 500 in total) purchased from the best European manufacturers. Some of these instruments are now kept at the Museum of the History of Science in Geneva, where they are privileged witnesses of the teaching of physics in the early 19th century and of the understanding of science at that time.
Pictet also published a Syllabus du cours de physique expérimentale, a sort of practical treatise for teachers and students, which briefly describes the content of the lessons of his public courses and also presents all the instruments used during his public demonstrations
The instruments of the Pictet "cabinet" are in the heart of the current temporary exhibition of the Musée d’histoire des sciences called le théâtre des expériences (the theater of experiments). They are accompanied by replicas and interactive devices, inspired by classical physic experiences, and designed so that the visitor can discover physics by touch and manipulation, as in Pictet’s lessons.
Forstner, Christian: From research to education: Mach-Zehnder interferometers for teaching students and museum visitors
Since the end of the 1930s, Mach-Zehnder interferometers have been manufactured industrially in small series and were used in wind tunnels for flow research. In my talk I will introduce two of these instruments: One is located at the TU Darmstadt in the Department of Fluid Mechanics and Aerodynamics. While it was formerly used for measurements in wind tunnels, it is now used to train students in a practical course. What changes have been made to the original design of the instrument? How was it 'modernized'? What should the students learn by doing this experiment? What are they allowed to do with the instrument and are they should not do? The second instrument, which I will discuss in my talk is located in the basement of the German Optical Museum in Jena. It was reconstructed and modified around the turn of the millennium for demonstrations in the museum. What are museum visitors supposed to learn from this instrument? What different epistemological interests underlie the museum instrument, the student’s course instrument, and the research instrument? How are these differences materially reflected in the instrument's modifications? By answering these questions, I want to enlighten the relationship of teaching and research instruments, as well as the practices which are associated with them.
Gajek, Maria Natalia: A Drawing by Stanisław Wyspiański (1869-1907), “Komórka w podwojeniu” (“A Doubling Cell”), as a Teaching Aid for the Students of Biology at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow
The Jagiellonian University Museum holds a drawing showing the division of an epidermal cell of the fire salamander - Salamandra salamandra (L., 1758). It was made in 1894, in the period of discovering chromosomes and determining their function and action. This was just 15 years after DNA was first isolated by Johann Miescher (1844-1895), 13 years after the first article describing DNA, 3 years after the discovery that chromosomes were formed from DNA during (plant!) cell division and only a few months after Walther Flemming (1843-1905) outlined the action of chromosomes in the course of mitosis. Thus, Stasnislaw Wyspiański, a famous Polish artist, created an illustration of mitosis, a process that was just being studied.
The drawing was made for the Department of Comparative Anatomy headed by Professor Kazimierz Kostanecki (1863-1940). The scientific interests of the 30-year-old professor included the processes of mitosis and activity of chromosomes. His energy was contagious and it was absorbed by his students, one of whom was 21-year-old Michał Siedlecki (1873-1940) who was a friend of 25-year-old Wyspiański. Siedlecki guided the artist regarding the substantial content.
The drawing was made from nature using a light microscope (800x magnification), which was not even equipped with an Abbey condenser. Despite the technical shortcomings, the drawing amazes in the perfection of its content and precision of information. Luckily, the selected study materials were amphibian chromosomes, which, thanks to their size and numbers, constitute a rewarding material for observation. The preparation was fixed in osmium tetroxide and stained using the Martin Heidenhain (1864-1949) method.
Gouveia, António Carmo: Angola in a box: a collection of glass slides for the teaching of the portuguese colonial empire in the 1930s
In Portuguese ex-colonies in Africa, from the 19th to the early 20th century there were not many active photographers, and images of these distant territories were not common. If commercial photography was rare, photographic images directed towards the educational system were virtually non-existent. Apart from some maps, a few book illustrations and postcards, available visual materials for imparting information on the colonies to children and adolescents were scarce. To suppress that absence and promote his ideas on the importance of the ex-colonies, Luis Carrisso (1886-1937), botany professor at the University of Coimbra, Portugal, prepared and distributed to national high schools a box containing a series of 20 glass slides, accompanied by printed booklet with explanatory notes, "adequate for teachers to provide their students with knowledge about Angola", on several subjects: geography, plant ecology, economical resources, society organization, etc.
We set off to find the history of this object: its origin, idea, conception, the maker, material production, objectives, destiny and impacts. On a first, immediate impression this is an educational object. Delving deeper into its contents though, we have found that this little collection, artisanal and neglected for so many years, is in itself a full ideological program regarding the relation of Portugal with its former colonial dependencies on the onset of the dictatorship (Estado Novo). A picture made from 20 images, mostly natural, ecological anecdotes, and landscapes, but with a subtext of imperial domination, effective territorial presence and a manifesto for the importance of the scientific knowledge of overseas possessions for their effective sovereignty.
Herrmann, Constanze: the historical Physikalische Kabinett in Görlitz
(to be updated)
Hof, Barbara Emma: Argonaut: The first nuclear reactor for training purposes and its journey through the West
A giant called "Argonaut" was the first training reactor ever developed for this purpose. Designed in the
1950s at the Argonne National Laboratory (ANL)1 near Chicago, the large device was built for the
training of future scientists, engineers and technicians in the design, construction and operation of
nuclear reactors. The hands-on training on reactors gained relevance as nuclear technology spread in the
wake of the "Atoms for Peace" campaign after 1955 and especially with the emergence of the nuclear
industry in the years that followed.
The training on the Argonaut was given a high priority in order to maintain and cultivate international
relations in the context of the Cold War and the associated efforts for Western cohesion. Thus, at the
end of the 1950s, scientists and engineers from allied countries of the United States were invited for
training in applied nuclear engineering. Since the ANL was the first American institute to open such a
program to foreigners by giving access to the Argonaut, it is not surprising that the training reactor was
soon replicated elsewhere. Former students had brought their experiences back to their countries.
The Argonaut’s reception history is part of a study on "nuclear education", an umbrella term I use to analyze the role of education and training in the nuclear energy sector and against the background of the accelerated relevance of technoscientific expertise after the Second World War. The presentation planned for the conference "objects of understanding" will be based on archival material from the NARA in Chicago and some published
sources and will focus on the invention, use, and copy-paste of the Argonaut, the first nuclear reactor
ever made for training.
Holly, Marc: Colourful chemistry - The collections of the Royal School for Weaving, Dyeing and Finishing in Krefeld and their use in science education since 1883
The Royal School for Weaving, Dyeing and Finishing was established in 1883 in Krefeld,
Germany, the centre of the German silk production. One of the first schools with a focus on
the new synthetic dyes and on applied sciences in general. Today the Hochschule
Niederrhein – University of Applied Sciences, successor of the School, holds under the Name
"Krefeld Dye Collection" around 10.000 synthetic dyes, a fibre collection of natural and
synthetic fibres, different teaching materials and textile sample books.
The collections that were used in the dyeing and chemistry labs were living collections,
which were constantly being expanded, rebuilt and adapted to the developments of the
time. The close relationship of the school with the textile and chemical industry is reflected
in the collection. It was used until the 1990s in the Faculty of Chemistry of the Hochschule
Niederrhein. Since 2017 the collection is back in scientific focus. We try to reconstruct the
origin of the collection and its use in teaching and research and develop a conservation
In this talk we would like to present the use of the dye collection in teaching chemistry.
Samples were produced by dyers, colourist and even chemist with a university degree to
teach them how to apply the new artificial dyes on different materials. Textile designers
were trained interdisciplinary with the chemist to understand the rules and boundaries of
textile printing. The focus will be on the synthetic
Jeanson, Loic: A new building and (not only) new instruments for teaching Astronomy at the University of Strasbourg
After the Franco-Prussian war, the German Empire decides to build a new observatory in
Strasburg, integrated to the university campus. In the program, a specific building is planned
to house a new meridian instrument from Repsold.
The first floor of this new building consists of two square rooms, of equivalent size. The first,
equipped with several training instruments, gives access to the Repsold meridian circle room.
Among the instruments of the first room, the German astronomy professors install a French
transit instrument from 1828, manufactured by Cauchoix, that they fit with a graduated circle
and micrometers, for it to become a training meridian circle. Both circles, the Repsold and the
altered Cauchoix work together: one allows for students to learn and train, while the other is
used for research purposes. The complementarity, sought since the early phases of the
building design, can be read in the rooms arrangement: the training room is the only access to
the Repsold room.
This spatial and instrumental set-up, complementary and educational, lives on when the
Université française de Strasbourg is re-founded. Only the construction of a university
planetarium alters it: the learning room is then emptied and transformed, the projector for the
planetarium is placed on the pillar built for the Cauchoix, and independent access to the
Repsold meridian room is created.
Our proposal aims at articulating the evolution of this educational space, especially through
the technical specificities of the architectural program, combining teaching and research
functions, and the transformation of the Cauchoix transit telescope into an educational
Johnston, Stephen: Object Lessons in the Asylum: Thomas Dexter and the Portable Museum
Recent work has shown both the pedagogical and cultural reach of the 19th-century object lesson movement. Inspired by the educational innovations of Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi in Switzerland, it was developed in England from the 1830s onwards and subsequently adapted in new settings from the United States and Canada to India.
Rejecting rote learning, object lessons trained the pupil’s senses, gradually ascending through carefully graded questions to the development of the mind and judgement. Children were presented with actual objects and/or images in the classroom, providing pupils with an early introduction to the natural world through a structured exposure to both common and unfamiliar objects.
In the English context, the work of Charles and particularly Elizabeth Mayo has been widely recognised through texts such as her Lessons on Objects. Ironically, little attention has been given to the materiality of these object lessons.
This paper examines the case of Thomas Dexter, who taught at the Royal Military Asylum from the 1840s to the 1870s. Like other advocates of object lessons, Dexter published manuals of animal, vegetable and mineral substances. But he also orchestrated the production and distribution of a ‘Portable Museum’, a cabinet in which everything was ready-prepared and sorted for the teacher. Dexter’s commercialisation of the object lesson echoed his emphasis on nature as a commodity. Explicitly invoking Britain’s imperial economy, the Portable Museum focused more on the transformation of raw materials into manufactured products than traditional natural history.
Kostur, Hakki Ilker: The Water-Gauge Legacy of the Middle Ages
The purpose of this study is to discuss the possible contributions of the water-gauge to science education and to the modern-day technology. The water-gauge discussed was seen in Al-Jazari's "The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices". It is a common design of Al-Jazari which he used in his various complex mechanisms. The water-gauge is based on buoyancy and density concepts and if mounted on a water container, it can show the water level of the container on an indicator. It is an easy to build material, containing a piece of wood, a piece of iron, string and a small wheel as an indicator. The water-gauge works by the density difference of iron and wood. The wood's weight being heavier than iron is the main principle. So that, when the container is empty, wood stays down and iron stays at the top. When there is water, the wood would rise up with the water and the iron would sink down. As they are connected with the string to the wheel, wheel would rotate.
The water-gauge has been widely used in technological equipments in many different fields. The best example can be the petrol level indicator in modern automobiles. In this study, authors will discuss how the water-gauge can be built and used in science and mathematics courses. It is thought to be a rare teaching material to be designed in classes.
Kremer, Richard: Introducing Electronic Instruments into Physics Teaching in the 1920s
Historians of electronics often claim that the Moullin voltmeter of the early 1920s, which used a thermionic valve as a rectifier for alternating voltages at high frequencies, first introduced electronics into scientific instrumentation. In this paper I want to explore how two major instrument companies, E. Leybold’s Nachfolger (Cologne) and Weston Electronic Instrument Company (Newark), introduced electronic components into the apparatus they sold to schools and universities for teaching physics students. I will also examine how physics textbooks and laboratory manuals from the 1920s sought to explain electronic theory and apparatus (valves and vacuum tubes) to students.
Langlois, Francoise: Instruments used in France for teaching free fall from the XIXth century up to now
Teaching the Newton's law about the free fall appeared in the French curriculum more than 200 years ago. Many devices were used for experimental demonstrations. The aims of the measurements done with those apparatus changed with the curriculum evolution: determination of the relationship between space and time, calculating the value of gravitational constant, comparison between free fall and fall in viscous medium. Due to the velocity of the fall, the makers imagined different systems to register the phenomena, electricity and photography offering new possibilities for teachers and students.
We will present the different devices and their evolution. For example, the first Atwood machine, invented in England in 1784, was still used at the end of the XXth century in the French schools but the methods for measuring time was totally modified. When General Arthur Morin taught mechanics at Metz (France), his machine was more than 2m high and used only by the teacher, whereas at the end of XXth century, in French high schools, students used individual electric devices of, only 80 cm height.
Lazos, Panagiotis: Demonstrating standing waves. The case of the Argyropoulos apparatus.
Timoleon Argyropoulos (1847-1912) studied at the University of Athens, obtained a doctorate in physics and then studied in Sorbonne. He was a professor at the University of Athens since 1885 and he founded the first physics laboratory of the University. Argyropoulos was a very active and capable experimental physicist specializing in electricity. He was the first to use X-rays in Greece in 1896, though not for medical purposes.
In 1890 Argyropoulos introduced an apparatus for presenting the properties of standing waves in front of large audiences. A strong current, produced by 45-50 Bunsen Cells, flows in a 0.7m-long platinum wire stretched horizontally. As a result the wire has raised to white heat. With an appropriate mechanism the current is interrupted at regular intervals resulting in alternating contraction and expansion of the wire. This creates standing waves in the wire. The tension of the wire can be changed by means of a screw. This changes the number of the observed nodes.
The apparatus was presented in foreign and Greek scientific journals, as well as in the Société Française de Physique by the scientific instrument manufacturer F.Pellin. The latter was included the apparatus in his trade catalogue under the name Appareil de Argyropoulos, as was E.Ducretet.
However, the only piece known to survive until today is the original Argyropoulos’s one, currently housed in one of the dozens of cases containing the collection of the Museum of Science and Technology of the University of Athens, a Museum that for various reasons is almost permanently under construction.
An attempt is currently made to locate the apparatus. In such a case detailed photos of it will be presented. Otherwise a video of a similar apparatus made by the author of this paper will be presented. This apparatus gives a similar visual effect to that of Argyropoulos although it has quite a different operating mechanism.
Lykknes, Annette: The Crookes model of the periodic system – lessons learnt from building and interacting with the model
In 1898, the British chemist and science journalist William Crookes published his model of the periodic system, a figure-eight shaped spiral built by his assistant, James H. Gardiner, which he named Vis Generatrix. The model illustrates the "creation of the elements", based on the idea of primary matter, the "protyle", advocated by William Prout early in the 19th century.
During the International Year of the Periodic Table 2019 (IYPT 2019), the history of the periodic system has been celebrated all over the world. The IYPT 2019 was an opportunity to nuance the popular view that the periodic system only exists in table form, and that it was discovered by one genius, Dmitri Mendeleev. At NTNU in Trondheim, Crookes’ model was one of the alternative shapes of the periodic system that was presented in exhibitions and to students. During autumn 2019, science teacher students who took a history of science course were assigned to prepare a physical model of Crookes’ periodic system for display in the Natural Science Library.
In this paper, I will discuss our experiences with building this particular historical model, and some of the lessons we learnt from interacting with it.
Mayoni, Maria Gabriela: Artifacts and educational practices in the teaching of natural history in Argentinian secondary education during the late 19th century.
This paper aims to show the results of the doctoral research carried out on the material culture of the teaching of natural history in Argentinian secondary education between 1870 and 1900. This was an organizational period of national schools, where a practical and utilitarian scientific education was promoted with application to productive activities and knowledge of local natural resources. The teaching of natural history began around 1870 and for this purpose cabinets were formed with diverse didactical materials such as herbariums, wall plates, models, skeletons and preserved animals, collections of minerals, rocks and fossils, instruments, among others.
Many of these items were bought abroad. In some cases, local historical and natural objects were also incorporated, thus creating incipient "museums". The study of the didactic collections, programs and teaching texts of that period allowed for recognizing different aspects of the contents and the pedagogical practices. Among them was the local application of scientific knowledge and the integration of the study of local fauna and flora into universal classificatory schemes. Likewise, certain changes were identified in the teaching practices, reflected in the acquired materials through time. Initially, a comparative method of the species was promoted and, by 1900, these programs incorporated experimental exercises and direct analysis of nature carried out by the students. The latter led to a greater presence of instruments of histology, physiology and also the manipulation of fresh samples in the classes for dissection practices and preparations.
Markert, Michael: The Shadow Playing Professor. Enacting Experimental Physics in the Lecture Hall
"Staging" ensembles of teaching aids like material models, wall charts, and specimens was a common practice in science education at schools and universities around 1900 (Degler et al. 2019). With the rise of new media like magic lantern slides or film and the darkening of the room, (academic) teachers incorporated new ways of performance and new types of didactics in their lectures.
One telling is experimental physicist Robert Wichard Pohl (1884-1976), who developed his own medium and the associated performance practice at Göttingen University from the 1920s onwards. Pohl projected phenomena-focused demonstration setups on the wall of the lecture hall using arc lights (Wittje 2011). The cinematic and modern look-and-feel of Pohl’s lectures attracted students and scientists from a wide range of disciplines and nations. As one could buy Pohl’s setup from teaching aid distributors, his demonstration experiments and the accompanying textbooks spread throughout Europe and beyond since the 1950s, and are still in use today in Göttingen and elsewhere.
In my talk, I will give an overview on the production, enactment, and reception of Pohl’s experiments using methods from the history of science, ethnography, and material culture studies. I will concentrate on the interplay between materiality and mediality in Pohl’s teaching concept utilizing artefacts from his very own practice, some of them still in use today.
Müller, Joosten: A Perspective on Educational Cell Models between History of Science and Artistic Research
With the 24-foot walk-in model of a human blood cell, the designer Will Burtin had not only created the first visual representation of a cell – he created a diagrammatic icon. The model was built for the pharmaceutical company Upjohn to be presented at the American Medical Association’s meeting in September 1958. Shortly after the official acceptance of Burtins vision by the scientific community, it turned into an educational model of public interest. It was a ‘breakthrough’ for educational visualization, in which universities and schools followed Burtins example and started building their own cell models.
The German educational model manufacturer Somso presented its first educational model of a (minimal) animal cell in 1966. A redesign followed in 1973/74, which led to two final visualizations. These models are still on sale and can be found in many biological university collections, didactic institutes, public museums and in school classrooms across Germany. Somso has not only created a model which is used in many different fields of education but a schematic visualization concept that can be found in most contemporary didactic cell models.
This presentation is devoted to the scientific-creative creation processes of the two early examples of cell representations. It will be discussed why many contemporary visualizations seem to follow early design approaches – even though the cell research has progressed at a rapid pace during the last decades. In addition to that, the discourse will present examples of contemporary educational models that differ from this much copied and seldomly questioned model tradition.
McCloughlin, Thomas: Physiological Botanical Instructional Artefacts of the “Anglo-German School”
In this work, the author presents artefacts produced from the 1960s to the present day which were employed in botanical education in teacher education and second level instruction up to the present day in Ireland. The author focuses in particular on artefacts associated with experimental physiological botany invented in the 19th century which had a lasting legacy in biology education till the present day. The late 19th century saw a huge expansion of experimental science in the botanical realm and a development in physiological botany in particular, and a time-line of innovations and discoveries is presented which informs an understanding of the development of botanical education or instruction. In Germany this was notable in the area of plant growth with the invention of the recording auxometer by Pfeffer and the clinometer by Von Sachs; and in the Anglophone world in water relations by the potometer by Bretland, F. Darwin, Bose, Ganong and Thoday, notwithstanding the contribution of Garreau of France for a different type of device also termed a potometer. In the main, the potometer appears to present a particular problem since teachers tended to have found it difficult to set up and use, and in the end lack of knowledge of photosynthesis undermined its basic working assumption. Finally, the bubbler apparatus attributed to Wilmott is reviewed.
Munns, David:The Half-Life of the Graduate Student: Teaching Reactors in the Golden Age of Nuclear Power
My talk will describe the nuclear reactors that were built and used to train the next generation of modernist nuclear engineers. Nuclear engineering students and their teachers understood that nuclear reactors were not merely representative of the Cold War era, they essentially were the Cold War. The familiar portrait of closed off and well-funded laboratories were fixtures on many university campuses, but, as I want to stress in my talk so too were open and integrated educational facilities. The teaching reactors seem rosily optimistic in contrast to the pessimistic weapons laboratories preparing for a global nuclear war few thought distant. Thus, on college and university campuses around the United States between 1952 and the 1970s, accessibility and visibility were the preeminent demands on those teaching reactors built explicitly for students and their professors by the Federal patron. Accessibility and visibility came via the "swimming pool"-style reactor that most colleges and universities acquired for teaching and research purposes. Students saw a model for a modern technocratic society’s systems of feedback and automation that established containment, control, and safety. To learn about the atom necessitated learning about the cores, housings, and systems that made nuclear power available, visible, and accessible. Teaching reactors forged a generation’s understanding of nuclear engineering as a scientific and technical field, shaped ideas about nuclear technology, and concretized the foundation for the confident role of nuclear energy within the United States. By being played with, experimented on, taken apart and put back together—graduate student exercises all—training in a reactor shaped the students’ worldview and expectations. Though later much chastised for their rosy optimism, to its new disciples at the time, the nuclear reactor was a model of complexity, danger, and power. For graduates of nuclear engineering programs, the reactor was able to be understood, its dangers appreciated, and its lessons made clear; indeed, they participated in the making of that knowledge. The reactor core itself was moderated but ever-changing as was the postwar United States now forced to be an international presence, moderated, running hot, and itself ever-changing.
Muravska, Svitlana: The New Melody of Ancient Sounds: What Secrets the Old Machine Lab Hides?
Establishing the Museum Polytechnicae in the premises of the former research machine lab of the Lviv Polytechnic National University (Ukraine) has caused some tasks connected with designing museum space (1730 m2). The construction was erected in 1922 – 1925 and it is the cultural monument of local importance. The original plan of the building states that without the laboratory, "it is impossible to imagine the meaning of lectures on the construction of machines and hydraulic engineering", which emphasizes its role. For the next decades, the various devices and machines that were illustrated the educational process and were the basis for the organization of the student research work at the Mechanical Department had been supplementing the lab potential.
How did these processes take place, which research became real due to the use of such artefacts, which the educational practices of the past time can be used to make the museification of the devices effective? - These questions will be keys in the research. Its implementation will be one of the initial stages in the revitalization of the research machine lab - an ambitious task to reload the previous educational space through the use of knowledge on the history of science, innovative technologies and up-to-date methods of museum exposure.
Nykänen, Panu: Thin blue line between Science and Technology The Huber model of water closet
Science and technology are twin sisters who do not always discuss with each other. Technology has since middle ages been an elementary part of science, but in the mid 19th Century the sisters were separated as the dual model of higher education emerged in Western Europe.
In Finland the resposibilities on the education and research have been conducted by the University (f. 1640) and the Institute of Technology, founded as a Technical School on 1847.
During the end of the century technology got a more independent nature. Simultaneously the education of arts and crafts was launched at the Institute of Ateneum (f. 1872). A turning point in the development was the year 1879, when the School of Technology in Helsinki was transformed to be the Helsinki Institute of Technology following the Berlin Charlottenburg model.
During the 1870’s the most coherent problems in the City of Helsinki were the amount of horse maneur on the streets, and the problems with the human excrements. Swiss entrepreneur Robert Huber founded 1879 a modern blumbing business in Helsinki. Also on that time the first sewage water main sewer was set under the street of Esplanade in rapidly growing city. The problems of city infrastructure were transferred to be a part of the engineering education, and the University concentrated on the pure science.
Robert Huber donated a model of a dwelling house plumbing system to the collectons of the University of Helsinki. It is one of the last educational models of technical nature in the university collections. The sanitary model was in use for demonstrations for medical education up to the 1940’s. It is a wonderful example of an educational model in between the science and technology that can not always be considered as separate structures.
Ogbudian, Lucky: Objects of Understanding in Educational Sector: The Nigerian Experience
The paper examines objects of understanding in Nigerian educational sector. Objects are used by teachers and tutors for better understanding by the students in the educational sector. Most of these objects, instructions and demonstrations were mostly deployed in the science and cultural based subjects. The application of the objects and instruments for demonstration were influenced by several factors, namely, environment, availability and funding. The paper reflected on archives, natural history museums, newspapers, reports, books and journals analysed qualitatively using historical approach revealed that the Nigerian educational sector, particularly, secondary schools and universities used wide range of objects, model and instruments including cultural museums, natural history museum, zoological centres, science instrumental sets, laboratory materials and papers for better understanding since the 1940s. the use of these objects, instruments and materials improved students performances and understanding of both cultural and science disciplines demonstrated by the reports of the ministry of education, universities and major external examination bodies, namely, West African Examination Council (WAEC) between 1950s and early 1990s. The paper submitted that despite lack of lack funding in recent years of public educational system, the objects, materials and instruments deployed by the teachers and instructors greatly impacted on the understanding of the students in science and cultural education.
Pierri, Florencia: A Different Kind of Computer Game: Teaching Computers in the 1960s and 70s
When most people think of computer games, they imagine something more sophisticated than the cardboard and plastic games played around the kitchen table. In the post-Sputnik United States, however, there was a boom in paper and plastic computer games for kids. Established game companies like Hasbro and Mattel marketed and sold ‘computers’ that could out-think their human players, while computer engineers created new companies like E.S.R. and Komputer Pastimes to supply the market with sophisticated games that taught principles of computer logic in anticipation of a new kind of computer—a personal computer. In this talk, I will examine both the pedagogical and social role that games played in enhancing computer literacy in an era where most children had never seen an electronic computer. I will argue that ‘computer games’ like these have long served a vital educational role in encouraging young people to become conversant with, and excited about, technology. While scholars have studied the role that educational toys had in the history of the biological and physical sciences, less attention has been paid to the role of play in computer science. Like the microscopes and chemistry kits of the same era, toy computers (in many cases made of little more than marbles and plastic) instilled in children a love of computing. Though the era of the paper and plastic computer game was short, this talk makes the case that it sheds light on the development of the microcomputer era in the 1970s.
Present, Pieter: Van Musschenbroek’s teachings on projectile motion
In this paper, I discuss Petrus van Musschenbroek (1692-1761)’s teaching on projectile motion and the devices he used for this purpose. Among van Musschenbroek’s manuscript, we find several written out lectures on the topic of projectile motion. These manuscripts offer a rare glimpse on the way the demonstration devices were incorporated into van Musschenbroek’s teaching.
I first show how the lectures and the demonstrations are related to the discussion of projectile motion in van Musschenbroek’s textbooks. I show how the order of the material in van Musschenbroek’s textbook is motivated by epistemological and pedagogical considerations. I also point at the crucial role of diagrams. Step-by-step, the student is acquainted with central physical concepts and laws. In most cases, the definitions and explanations are linked to diagrams. By reading the text aside the diagrams, students are not only provided with a visualization of the concept or law under discussion, but also learn how to "read" the diagram, thus acquiring what one could call "diagrammatic literacy".
I then show how the instruments used by van Musschenbroek are devised in such a way as to produce phenomena which can be directly linked to the diagrams in the textbook. As such, they both confirm and further elucidate the content found in the textbook.
Finally, I contrast the experiments and instruments used by van Musschenbroek in his teaching with the experiments and instruments used in his research.
Schirrmacher, Arne: From Awe to Experience, from Artefacts to Edufacts? On the Postwar Revolution in the Objects of Understanding
While for centuries laboratory apparatus was adapted into teaching gear and the museum and school collections were stuffed with long sequences of scientific instruments – in the hope that the study of the best specimens will enlighten the visitor’s scientific understanding – things changed radically in the 1950s. Curriculum reform projects produced new teaching material and media including demonstration sets, while – not without some deeper connections – science exhibits transformed from displaying phenomenal machines to set-ups that allowed to experience the phenomena as such, as in the science centres that emerge the 1960s. Looking at a number of objects from North America and Germany that were explicitly designed in the 1960s and 1970s for formal and informal science education in schools and science centres, resp., the question is discussed as to what extent the material culture of postwar teaching devices – or edufacts – meant a departure from the long history of scientific instruments, demonstrations, and models used since the scientific revolution.
Simon, Josep: Revved PSSC: Tradition vs. Innovation in the Making of Physics Pedagogy in 1960s America
In the late 1950s, the Physical Science Study Committee (PSSC) developed in the USA a set of new materials presented as the trigger of a physics teaching revolution. The PSSC pedagogical package included films, science kits, a laboratory guide, a textbook, and popular science books. Its ambition and fame had an enduring impact on subsequent science education projects. It has been repeatedly said that the PSSC offered a radically new way of teaching science. However, this claim has never been properly proved, and can be disputed in several ways. At the PSSC core was the aim of parting ways with a 19th-century textbook physics tradition, heavily dependent on the (European) scientific instrument trade. Surprisingly or not, by the 1950s this tradition was still alive. The PSSC introduced new instrument kits that dispended with the standard physics cabinet, but they were not pioneers, as opposition to this type of material culture was common since the 1900s. Furthermore, in 1960s America, there were still many teachers favoring the pedagogical benefits of the old standard model to the PSSC approach. Moreover, while PSSC films introduced new settings, contents, scenes and display methods, they also reproduced old pedagogical modes, with classic experiments originated in the 18th and 19th centuries. In this paper, I build on Kuhn’s classic tropes of scientific "tradition" and "revolution", to analyze how the PSSC was both new and old, as a way to understand the tensions in the making of physics, pedagogy and material culture in the mid 20th century.
Tapdrup, Jan: The Wise Swan - Science education or entertainment?
In Hauchs Physiske Cabinet, an exceptional late 18th century Danish cabinet of physics, you find The
Wise Swan. The Wise Swan is a magnetically based apparatus. A random playing card is drawn. On the
question plate, the pointer is directed towards the card. The question is read aloud. For instance, for
Nine of Diamonds, the question is: ‘Why has nature not equipped women with beards?’. The question
plate is put in place in the box under the Swan, and to everyone's surprise, the Wise Swan swims and
nominates a pole with its beak. The answer can be found inside the pole: ‘Because they can't remain
silent long enough to be shaved.
This paper addresses the social context and science education content of the apparatus. Is the
apparatus merely for entertainment? Can it be placed in the natural magic tradition? The French Salon
cultures? Should it be seen as part of the enlightenment education idea? Or is it all of these?
Gerard L’E Turner in his 1987 presidential address proposes that education and amusement in the 18th
century go so closely together in lecture demonstrations that they are the forerunners of toys and
amusements made for children and families in the Victorian era. Perhaps this connection explains the
popularity of science in the 18th century. This may hold a key to furthering science education. Bring
back fun and magic in experiments to stimulate an interest in science.
Texeira, Miguel: From research to teaching: Uncovering scientific practices through a physician’s collection.
The generation and transmission of medical knowledge has been largely anchored on the preservation of the human body through a variety of materials and techniques, often based on tacit knowledge. While these may change over time, their remaining physical evidence in artefacts and collections are a major source to access and understand scientific practices.
In the late 1950s-early 1960s, Fernando Portela-Gomes (1908-1975), a physician from the University of Lisbon, collected, dissected, prepared human temporal bones and made models to study the growth of the bony labyrinth leading to a large database of annotated measurements.
Portela-Gomes learned his preparation techniques in Lausanne, Switzerland, and reproduced them in his research and teaching in Lisbon, Portugal, and Luanda, Angola, while maintaining diligent and comprehensive notes about his materials and practices.
In this paper, I use Portela-Gomes’ collection – presently at the National Museum of Natural History and Science (MUHNAC, University of Lisbon) – as a point of departure to explore issues of HSTM material culture circulation through different contexts, geographies and communities, as well as the life cycles of historical medical artefacts and their connection with medical practices and techniques.
Urbanowicz, Piotr: Affordances of electric machines in public science in Poland
The purpose of my talk is to present cultural affordances of electrical machines in various scientific settings at the turn of the 18th and 19th century in Poland. In experiments conducted with Edward Nairne’s electric machine in Cracow (around 1787) the leading natural philosophers emphasized the influence of electricity on human body and speculated about its nutritional function for the all living creatures. I claim that those "facts" about electricity were an effect of internal purpose inscribed in the machine (affordances in theory by James Gibson), which afforded the forms of experiments – concentrated on interaction between machine and human body. Thus, the machine set scientists a direction of their research in electricity. But the case of Cracow is not an isolated one. Due to a movement of certain scientists, documents, practices and things, electricity started to occupy central position in many works of chemists, physicists and doctors at Vilnius University.
Tracking this phenomenon in material and spatial configuration I came to conclusion that it was because the experiments with electricity were arranged in exceedingly spectacular manner. The huge electrical machine was set in central position of physical cabinet, which formerly was used as theatre hall. This location as well as forms of experiments led to privileging electricity in physics, whereby it, literally, began to work as metaphorical structure in scientific-cultural endeavours.
van Besouw, Jip: Early-eighteenth-century instruments between hydrostatics and hydrodynamics
This talk will deal with a specific set of instruments developed by Willem Jacob ’s Gravesande (1688-1742) and Petrus van Musschenbroek (1692-1761). These instruments, which are held in the Rijksmuseum Boerhaave in Leiden, look like elaborate fountains and produce jets of water in specific geometrical patterns. Here, I will deal with the operation and use of these machines. I will show how these instruments were used to visualise and model the mechanical behaviour of water in motion. I will argue that this led to some conceptual clarifications that did not only have obvious pedagogical benefits, but also formed an important precedent for later theoretical developments in hydrodynamics.
Since ’s Gravesande and Van Musschenbroek were professors at Leiden University, historians look upon their instruments primarily as teaching devices. The received views is that their instruments were a means to teach high-level physics while avoiding the mathematical demonstrations of such works as Newton’s Principia. This is certainly part of the story of the instruments in question as they could be used to illustrate, for example, Torricelli’s principle. However, I will show that these instruments also enabled ’s Gravesande and Van Musschenbroek to make innovative use of the notions of ‘force’ and ‘pressure’, neither of which had a clear-cut meaning in the fluid mechanics of the time. In their textbooks, both professors used these notions in pioneering treatments of the relations between the initial hydrostatic experimental setups and the dynamics of the resulting jets of water.
van der Spek, Trienke: The birth of the earth: 19th century theory, visualization and perception
In the early 19th century new theories and discoveries of spectacular fossils caused a radical new view on earth’s creation and the development of life upon it. Rather than static and young, the new image of the world was that of an ever changing planet with a very long history, including many lifeforms before the arrival of mankind. George Cuvier’s theory of animal extinction and Pierre-Simon Laplace’s nebular theory, describing the slow evolutionary formation of the solar system from a gaseous cloud, strongly contributed to this.
The history of earth’s deep time sparked the interest of scientists and the general public and it became a very popular scientific theme. It also challenged the imagination: how to visualize phenomena of this long gone past? By the mid of the century different visual tools and dynamic presentations were developed, like dissolving view lantern shows and dedicated educational models, to bring this history to life. Examples from the collection of Teylers Museum give an interesting insight in how the creation of the world was presented, explained and perceived by the 19th century audiences and will be discussed in this paper.
Whiteley, Rebecca: Exploding the Book: Illustrations in Nineteenth-Century Medical Education
The Radford Archive is a collection of 275 prints, drawings and paintings, on paper, board and canvas, that were used to teach midwifery and gynaecology to midwives and medical students throughout the nineteenth century at the Manchester Lying-In Charity, later St Mary’s Hospital.
Collected by the surgeon and ‘man-midwife’ Thomas Radford, most of the images are either printed illustrations removed from books and mounted for display, or painted copies of book illustrations. Collections of mobilised book illustrations such as this were central to teaching medicine in the nineteenth century, and yet they are largely overshadowed in histories of teaching collections either by three-dimensional objects – specimens and models – or by ‘original’ artworks drawn directly from bodies by named artists.
In this paper I will argue for the importance of studying illustrations outside of the context of the bound book, as individual, mobile objects in the museum. As the numerous traces of use in the Radford Archive materials show, the images were regularly consulted, moved and displayed on the walls of the lecture theatre. Indeed, practices of collection, curation and display of book illustrations were particularly important when teaching those lower down the medical hierarchy: midwives and surgeons’ apprentices could not be expected to have private libraries, or even high levels of literacy. Such collections, this paper will argue, were fundamental to medical education in that they exploded the book, allowing diverse student bodies to physically, collectively and aurally inhabit the world of printed medical knowledge.
Wittje, Roland: Robert Pohl in Madras: German teaching instruments and practices in India
In the 1920s and 30s, Göttingen physicist Robert Pohl developed a system of lecture demonstrations that modernized physics teaching and dominated experimental physics lectures in Germany up to the 1970s. For all I know, Pohl never went to Madras. His lecture demonstrations, however, travelled all over the world through his textbooks, his students, his instruments, and through the global networks of the instrument company Spindler & Hoyer who marketed Pohl's instruments.
What happened to these lecture demonstrations when they travelled and crossed climatic, political, social and cultural boundaries? In my presentation I will follow Pohl's lecture demonstrations to the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras, together with Werner Koch, who had been Pohl's student in the 1920s. Koch was appointed Professor of Physics at IIT Madras, which was set up with West German assistance between 1959 and 1974. I will discuss the problems that Koch encountered in the transfer of teaching instruments and practices from Germany to India. Koch's plans to replicate Pohl's lecture demonstrations at IIT Madras had to face a number of obstacles including climatic conditions and lack of infrastructure but also different ideas and practices among Indian and German actors how IIT engineers should be trained. Koch and other German professors wanted teaching for engineers largely practice oriented. Their call for "re-educating" Indians, I argue, ignored social differences and hierarchies on both sides. Finally, I will come to the life of the instruments after Koch left Madras in 1969.
Zaun, Jörg & Vincenz, Kirsten: The object tableau as a didactic form of knowledge representation
In our paper we would like to discuss the tableaux, a fixed arrangement of objects, often combined with drawings, graphics, diagrams, labels, mainly used for didactic purposes. In a commercialized form, tableaux appear as teaching or display cases in the second half of the 19th century, but they can be found much earlier in the natural and technical sciences. The material aspect of things apparently plays a decisive role, which distinguishes them from the teaching boards that appeared at about the same time. Nevertheless, collages or pictures are created that follow visual and design conventions, but also follow aesthetic or even artistic approaches.
By analyzing the different kind of tableaux from the collections of Technische Universität Dresden, starting as early as 1850, various aspects of their didactic potential and purposes can be worked out. Tableaus make knowledge vivid for the viewer in a spatialized and networked way, they enable the simultaneous presence of things that are normally separated in time or space, through serial representations they are especially suitable for comparative observation. There are numerous aspects of such tableaux that recur regardless of the disciplinary context. This refers to general conditions of knowledge and understanding and opens new aspect of teaching and learning practices of this time. Up to now, tableaus as didactic media have received little attention in the history of science and education. We are still in an explorative phase of dealing with this type of object and would like to present our first results for discussion.