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Taylor-Wei Dissertation Fellowship In the History of                                         Meteorology

November 18, 2017. Thanks to a generous gift, the Department of the History of Science of the University of Oklahoma is pleased to announce the creation of the Taylor-Wei Dissertation Fellowship. This award, named in honor of the scientific achievements of Dr. Ronald C. Taylor and Dr. Ming-Ying Wei, consists of a $25,000 stipend for one year of research and writing on any topic related to the history of meteorology, climate science, and/or technologies related to those fields, broadly construed. We are interested in supporting social and cultural approaches to weather and climate as well as more technically-focused work.

Graduate students from any institution are encouraged to apply. Opportunities will be available for the recipient to take advantage of the unique resources at OU, such as the National Weather Center and associated laboratories and the exceptional History of Science Collections, but there is no residence requirement.

Applicants should submit by January 1, 2020 a cv, a proposal of no more than 2500 words, including notes, that outlines the dissertation project and how it would benefit from the award, and a letter of recommendation (submitted separately) from the applicant’s doctoral committee chair or advisor. As the recipient must be ABD by the beginning of the award period, this letter should note when the student passed or is scheduled to take his/her general exams. Application materials should be submitted by email to Professor Hunter Heyck, Chair, Department of the History of Science:  We are more than happy to respond to questions from applicants or advisers.

Recent Reads

(P) Aparna Nair in Recommended Dose, February 28, 2019. Of 3D Livers and Laser-Printed Lungs: Teaching with Pop-Up Exhibits.  

It is always a delight when an experiment in the classroom bears fruit in the most unexpected of ways. Last Fall, I had the pleasure of that experience when I taught a course on Non-Western and Indigenous Medicine at the University of Oklahoma’s History of Science department for the very first time. As with most new courses, I began the semester overwhelmed with ideas, readings and anxieties about the topics I was covering in class. To my surprise, I had a truly diverse range of students in the class—the topic appeared to attract a an almost equal number of male and female students, several Native students as well as a significant number of students from the STEM fields, with little prior experience in historical methods.


(P) Kathleen Crowther in Gastro Obscura, January 29, 2019. Why So Many Bars Are Named After Cocks.

On February 2, 1663, after a long day of business meetings, the celebrated diarist Samuel Pepys and his colleague and friend John Creed “... turned into a house and drank a cup of Cock ale.” If the scenario of two coworkers sharing a drink at the end of the day seems familiar, the beverage Pepys and Creed enjoyed does not. The key ingredient in cock ale, which was popular in 17th- and 18th-century England, was a rooster.


(P) Kathleen Crowther and Peter Barker in The Washington Post, November 30, 2018.
     What we lose when we lose Muslim immigrants.

International scientific collaboration may seem like a recent phenomenon, a late-20th-century product of the Internet and ease of global travel. But international communication and exchange of ideas have been a defining feature of science since at least the Middle Ages. The modern scientific order was built on international exchange — and if the United States continues to prohibit such collaboration, its role as a leader in science and medicine will be in serious jeopardy.


(P) Katherine Pandora in Oklahoma Humanities Magazine, Fall/Winter 2018. Arrows to Atoms: Curiousity in the Age of the Internet

I discuss the history of the 1957 Oklahoma Semi-Centennial and its emphasis on nuclear science, space satellites, and science education as well as its presence 50 years later on the Internet.



History of Science Alum named Curatorial Fellow by American Philosophical Society

Emily Margolis recently finished her dissertation in the Department of History of Science and Technology at Johns Hopkins University, and expects to defend in May. Her work, "Space Travel at 1G: Space Tourism in Cold War America," explores the origins of space-themed attractions and amenities that proliferated across the the American South in the late 1950s and 1960s. She argues that "space tourism" provided an opportunity for the public to make meaning of the nation's activities in space.

Ms. Margolis holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Princeton University and a master’s degree in history of science and technology from the University of Oklahoma.  She plans to pursue a curatorial career and has interned at the National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of American Jewish History, and the Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon in Dresden, Germany. This July she will begin a two-year term as Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Postdoctoral Fellow at the American Philosophical Society Museum in Philadelphia, PA. During her fellowship she will develop exhibitions using the archival, photographic, and object collections of the APS. Ms. Margolis will serve as lead curator for the Museum’s 2021 exhibition on the history of women in science.


History of Science Alum returns to Oklahoma, continues work on the early civil rights movement

While a graduate student interested in race and science in OU’s History of Science program in 1976, Betty Katherine Permetter Falato (BS, Mathematics and MA, Human Relations, University of Oklahoma), was selected by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to participate in its Air Transportation System Specialist program at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB). Betty Permetter Falato was awarded an MS in Civil Engineering from UCB in 1978. She was then transferred by the FAA to Washington, DC, and spent the remainder of her career in the East.  Ms. Permetter Falato retired from the FAA in 2007, and has since published two books. Her 2010 book, Black Schools in Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma, 1891—1966, and School Censuses 1930—1950, received the Florence Drake award from the Pottawatomie County Historical Society for presenting previously unpublished Pottawatomie County history. Her husband, Adam J. Falato, shared in the award for supporting her work. Her second book, Oklahoma’s Brown Decision Test Case: A Participant’s Perspective (2017, Oklahoma Hall of Fame Publishing), was nominated for the best non-fiction book at Oklahoma’s 2018 Oklahoma Book Awards celebration. The book details the first school desegregation case in Oklahoma that was tried in a federal district court after the U.S. Supreme Court 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education. After living in the East for forty years, Betty Permetter Falato returned to Oklahoma in 2018. She lives in Norman with her husband and continues to research Oklahoma history, education, and race and intercultural relations.


Ken Taylor wins History of Geology "triple crown"

On October 24, 2018, Kenneth Taylor, Professor Emeritus of the History of Science, became the 7th recipient of the Prix Wegmann, a prestigious lifetime achievement award for the history of geology, awarded at irregular intervals since 1984 by the Societé Geologique de France. Professor Taylor is only the second American to receive the award. His acceptance speech was delivered by video to the annual meeting of the Societé in Lille, France, where the award was accepted on his behalf by Philippe Taquet, former director of the French National Museum of Natural History, and past president of the French Academy of Sciences. 

            Professor Taylor has already been honored for lifetime achievements in the history of geology by both the American and British geological societies. He was presented with the Geological Society of London’s Sue Tyler Friedman Medal in 1998 and the Geological Society of America’s Mary Rabbitt Award in 2007.  The American, British, and French awards are the triple crown for historians of geology, and to date, only one other person (Professor Martin Rudwick of Cambridge University and UC San Diego) has been awarded all three.


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2019-2020 Colloquium Series