Please help yourselves to our program at a glance in PDF format. The abstracts can be found below in alphabetical order.
You can find the abstracts as submitted by the participants and read them one by one by clicking on the title. This list shall be updated continuously.
The opening talk focuses on contemporary objects of understanding and asks where we stand with them. In order to approach this question, the lecture will focus on their little-noticed and revealing process of formation. The genesis of didactic objects currently used in science education mostly takes place outside the school building: As economic products, they are nowadays constructed, discussed, tested, modified, produced, and marketed within the educational tool industry. The talk aims to explore the related practices of developing and producing didactic materials, such as teaching demonstrations, students’ experiments and models. With an ethnographic analysis of everyday situations from the educational tool industry, it will be shown how the practice of developing didactic objects works and how these things find their shape. For example, in the course of this process of development, form-giving negotiation processes occur between the actors involved (scientists, teachers, publishers, dealers, and so on): material properties, physical knowledge, concepts of science, economic calculations, scenarios of school practice, anticipated needs of teachers and students, new curriculum specifications, didactic goals and intentions collide. These (and other) aspects fuse into a materiality and inscribe in the objects that subsequently find their way into the classroom. The ethnographic analyses of the materialization and (re)production of knowledge refer to science and technology studies, actor network theory, and research on the social construction of technology.
(no particular abstraft, this is the closing Session hosted by Prof. William McComas (U Arkansas) )
In 1738, a chair of experimental philosophy 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 fully 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 some more light on the challenges the first professors of experimental philosophy had to face to set up their lectures. We will discuss the way instruments were used, both for teaching and to spread around the new teaching practices.
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.
The project "Around the Globe in five Maps" is an on-going project aimed at understanding part of the 17th Century globes and maps exhibited at the Museo di Palazzo Poggi of the University of Bologna. The project includes the study of a terrestrial globe by the Italian cosmographer Vincenzo Coronelli and five maps by the Dutch cartographers Willem Blaeu and Frederik de Wit. True encyclopedias, meant to bring knowledge into the houses of merchants and aristocrats, these objects allow to see how the history of exploration was presented to the general public. At the same time, engravings, legends and cartouches portraying animals or everyday life scenes, rather than giving objective representations, tell more on the effects that the encountering with diversity had on the explorers.
Looking at globes and maps as object of science education put forward the need of exploring practices related to scientific instruments and practice: in fact, besides traditional scientific information (such as loxodromic lines or indications for the choice of the fundamental meridian), special types of cartouches, of a very technical nature are typical elements of the maps. They provide, for example, indications on how to calculate distances between different sites by using theoretical calculations or practical operations with instruments, such as the astrolabe. These cartouches present different problems because of the many contracted linguistic forms and implicit assumptions on the use of instruments they contain. Further analysis has the goal of clarifying whether they had an educational goal (allowing the reader to get an idea of real distances) or, rather, they were "technical decoration", i.e. true instructions for professional navigators just reported on the maps.
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.
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.
In the history of medicine objects have become an important source of science. There is no doubt
about the need of inventory, documentation and digitalisation of historical collections at the medical
schools even to contextualize their history. Most of these collections had their function in science
education too. In my doctoral thesis (2019) I researched to the collection stocks of moulages and
plates produced at the Department of Dermatology and Venerology at the University of Rostock that
covered the time in the first half of the 20th century. In my present research I focus on the collection
stocks of film and slides produced in the second half of this century and on the disease syphilis
represented in the whole collection. Quantitatively I correlated object and disease in their amounts and
qualitatively I analysed the objects and contextualized them even to write a material history of syphilis.
As a result the whole collection had been used to teach syphilis while the leading material had
changed. In spite syphilis lost its epidemiological significance, interest in teaching it held on.
Content of presentation:
1. Introduction: Material history of medicine: objecthermeneutics and objectanalysis.
2. Status of the collection: There is a little amount of moulages and plates extremely reduced by
WW II but a huge amount of film and slides build up over 50 years.
3. Syphilis in this context: There is a big amount of moulages and plates and a very little amount
of film but still a bigger amount of slides.
4. Starting with moulages and plates: teaching syphilis in post-war-times.
5. Going backwards: documenting and teaching syphilis with moulages and plates as leading
6. Going forwards: the decline of syphilis but slides becomes the new leading material.
At the turn of the nineteenth century, the optical lantern was becoming more and more a ubiquitous teaching tool. This was the case for university lectures but also for
illustrated public lectures, also known as lantern lectures, organized by a range of institutions and associations. In the Netherlands, even if the adoption of the technology
was somewhat late, academic institutions developed dedicated spaces for lantern slide production and projection, such as the botanical laboratories of the state universities of Groningen, Leiden and Utrecht.
In comparison, Dutch associations developed procedures to enable a wider access to lantern slide projection such as the creation of "lending offices" which coordinated the circulation of lantern slide sets during the lecture season. This paper will explore how these two different educational environments, the university and the public lecture, incorporated lantern solide projection as a fundamental aspect of their practice.
Our research is based on archival material such as recently rediscovered lantern slide collections, as well as digitized newspapers and other publications. These sources,
objects and reports, enable us to reconstruct the historical practice of the illustrated lecture. Even though similar topics were discussed in academic and popular lectures,
such as Astronomy or Art History, different strategies could be employed to contextualize the meaning of the projected image. By studying these objects within
different educational environments, this research shows that the lantern slide was a versatile object capable of informing, persuading, demonstrating, proving, and, even,
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.
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 and memories are valuable assets. 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? In Britain, as well as in many other countries, compulsory school experiences now affect almost every citizen.
This paper investigates genuine teacher behaviours and student experiences by employing object biographies and oral histories to elucidate information about relevant educational structures, 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.
1 Igor Kopytoff, ‘The Cultural Biography of Things: Commodisation as Process’, in The Social Life of Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective, ed. by Arjun Appadurai, (Cambridge: University Press, 2001), p. 70.
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.
Gajek, Maria Natalia & Taborska, Małgorzata: 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.
This paper will look closer at the instructive elements of articles discussing the use of ophthalmoscopes, rhinoscopes and laryngoscopes in Swedish and Danish medical journals. Many of these articles encouraged their use and potential for clinical work, and underlined that physicians should not immediately dismiss them if they found them difficult to use. Rather, using these instruments with some utility required practice and training, both of the hands and the eyes.
While previous research has examined medical journals as polemic tools, they can also include examples of instruction, in particular in the Swedish and Danish contexts. Instructive articles would have been decidedly useful for physicians in the countryside. I will highlight the elements of practice that were stressed as particularly important in journal articles and the ways authors recommended tackling common problems with these instruments. This paper aims to provide further insight into examining the instructive elements of medical journals and how complex details involving the cultivation of sense perception and tacit knowledge were communicated.
In my paper, I am going to discuss a particular group of demonstration experiments, namely those associated with historical research experiments. A number of these teaching devices are characterised by a great visual similarity to the respective research instruments, and in some examples, the practical actions with these devices also show similarities. If the teaching demonstration devices are analysed more closely, it becomes evident that there are small but significant differences between them on the one hand and the original research instruments on the other.
Moreover, it also becomes clear in the analysis of the teaching devices that two classes can be identified: On the one hand, there are devices that represent the manipulation and operation of the historical instrument and therefore can be described as process-oriented. On the other hand, there are devices that produce the result of the historical research experiment, and therefore can be described as product-oriented. In my presentation, I will discuss these two types and illustrate them with practical examples.
A giant called Argonaut was the first training reactor ever designed just for this purpose. Built in 1957, this device enabled the practical training of engineers and technicians in the use, construction and operation of nuclear reactors. The Argonaut was built at the Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago, exhibited at the Second "Atoms for Peace" conference in Geneva in 1958, and then used at the laboratory’s nuclear engineering school as well as sold as a blueprint to other nations.
Drawing on archival material from NARA at Chicago and College Park, as well as digitized and published sources, the paper focuses on the invention, use and duplication of the Argonaut and the reasons for it. The case study illustrates how training reactors shaped international relations because the US government sold them below their market price as part of the "Atoms for Peace" campaign. Training reactors were given high priority as they helped to maintain good international relations in the context of the Cold War and associated efforts for Western cohesion. Together with training reactors, American values spread around the globe, while the United States also opened up sales markets for their lightwater reactor technology.
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 instrument.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Our attempts to locate the original apparatus are unsuccessful till now. If that does not change, a video of a similar apparatus made by the author of this paper will be presented. This apparatus gives the same visual effect to that of Argyropoulos; although it has quite a different operating mechanism.
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 was 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, the Russian chemist 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 followed a history of science course were assigned to prepare a 3D model of Crookes’ periodic system for display in the Natural Science Library.
After the course, three students who volunteered to participate were interviewed about their experiences with working on the model, and what they learnt about the Nature of Science (NOS) through digging into the history of the periodic system in general and building the Crookes model in particular. In this paper, I will discuss some aspects of the history of the periodic system that are often neglected in popular accounts, present how the students worked with these aspects and with the Crookes model in the history of science course, and investigate the students’ statements in the context of NOS teaching and learning.
Our visual and material conceptions of cells are shaped by a line-up of illustrations and physical models we are faced within classrooms, museums and even through mass media. Given the fact that cells’ inner life is not perceptible in everyday life, the "cell" concept is limited to previous teaching experiences using models.  Taking a closer look at commonly used cell models in education, it is becoming evident that most models can be traced back to a very similar idea of a "typical cell": A concept that creates a generic composite cell which cannot be found in nature, based on late 19th century cell diagrams by Edmund Beecher Wilson. 
Within this discourse we will retrace the evolution of these scientific-educational artefacts of knowledge, starting with their historic origins and ending with critical reflections of historic and contemporary models commonly used in education. The presentation will also focus on everyday culture’s phenomena such as DIY cell model building movements; Current experimental model and teaching approaches from the field of Artistic Research will be highlighted.
 Compare: Clément, Pierre: Introducing the Cell Concept with both Animal and Plant Cells: A Historical and Didactic Approach. Science & Education, 16, 2007, pp.435.
 Dröscher, Ariane: Was ist eine Zelle? Edmund B. Wilsons Diagramm als graphische Antwort. Verhandlungen zur Geschichte und Theorie der Biologie, Bd. 14, Berlin: VWM, 2008, pp. 4.
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.
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.
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 would 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 impressive machines to set-ups that allowed to experience the phenomena as such, as in the science centres that emerged in 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.