• Shifting Energy Culture Series

    Wednesday, March 11, 2015

    12:00 PM-2:00 PM

    LeBow Engineering Center, Hill Conference Room, Room 240, 31st and Market Streets, Philadelphia PA 19104

    • Everyone


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  • Crafting the Quantum: Arnold Sommerfeld and the Practice of Theory, 1890-1926.

    Wednesday, March 11, 2015

    3:30 PM-5:00 PM

    Stein Auditorium Nesbitt 111 3215 Market Street Philadelphia, PA 19106

    • Everyone
    Suman Seth is the third speaker in the Science and Society Speaker Series. Dr. Seth is Associate Professor in the Department of Science and Technology Studies at Cornell University and his talk is entitled "Crafting the Quantum: Arnold Sommerfeld and the Practice of Theory, 1890-1926".

    In January 1922, the Munich theoretical physicist, Arnold Sommerfeld, wrote to Albert Einstein. He reported the many successes of Sommerfeld’s recent work and that of his students, including Werner Heisenberg, a young man in his third semester who had just completed pioneering work on the anomalous Zeeman effect. Confidence was running high, yet for Sommerfeld, the situation was not ideal: “Everything works,” he wrote, “but remains at the deepest level unclear.” This fact suggested a division of labour: “I can only advance the craft of the quantum,” he told Einstein, “you would have to make its philosophy.”

    Drawn from Dr. Seth’s book, “Crafting the Quantum: Arnold Sommerfeld and the Practice of Theory, 1890-1926”(MIT, 2010), this talk will explore the role of “craft” in two different, yet related, areas of research in the Sommerfeld school. The first being the connection between research problems taken up during peacetime in Munich and the roles played by German theoretical physicists during WWI. Theoretical physics was once eminently practical. And the second, the meaning of “craft” in Sommerfeld’s theoretical practice in the 1920s, with a focus on what became known as the “number mysticism” of the older quantum theory.

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  • Creating 'LGBT-Affirmative Therapists': Critical Reflections on The New Psychotherapy of Sexual Orie

    Tuesday, April 21, 2015

    3:00 PM-4:30 PM

    DISQUE 109

    • Everyone

    Since the declassification of homosexuality as a mental illness in 1973, psychology has transformed the way it approaches sexual orientation and gender identity issues in scientific research and clinical practice. The paradigmatic shift from psychopathology to identity has corresponded with the introduction of “LGBT-affirmative therapy,” which suggests that therapists should affirm clients’ sexual orientations rather than reinforce sexual minorities’ experiences of stigma and marginalization. And though the academic literature on LGBT-affirmative therapy is proliferating, there remains little consensus on what exactly this means conceptually and what it looks like in practice. This interdisciplinary research explores psychology’s ongoing project of both producing what constitutes LGBT issues and the practices used to treat them therapeutically. Based on analysis of over 2,000 minutes of recently produced psychotherapy training videos, I will explore what these films suggest an LGBT-affirmative psychotherapist looks like: what does she know, what does she (not) do, and how is her approach any different from therapy-as-usual? In the complex space where science, culture, beliefs, and attitudes about sexual orientation, gender, and other dimensions of identity collide, what is the new psychotherapy of sexual orientation?

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  • Exploring the Mysteries of the 'Marco Polo' Maps

    Tuesday, May 5, 2015

    12:00 PM-1:30 PM

    Disque Hall Room 109 32 South 32nd Street Drexel University Main Campus

    • Undergraduate Students
    • Graduate Students
    • Faculty
    • Staff
    • Alumni
    A chronicle entitled Il Milione — later known as The Travels of Marco Polo — recounts the journey in the thirteenth century of this Italian merchant and explorer from Venice to East Asia. While this text would go on to be read by and inspire notable mapmakers and explorers, including Christopher Columbus, scholars have long debated the account’s veracity. Some have argued that Polo never even reached China. A new book, The Mysteries of the Marco Polo Maps (University of Chicago Press, 2014) reveals new evidence concerning this historical puzzle: a very curious collection of fourteen little-known maps and related documents said to have belonged to the family of Marco Polo himself. In his discussion of his book, historian of cartography Benjamin B. Olshin will offer an analysis of some of these artifacts, as well as a look into the complex nature of the research that these materials demanded — ranging from deciphering peculiar Latin texts to studying centuries-old Chinese legends.
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  • How to Police Your Food: A Story of Controlling Homes & Bodies in the Early Age of Manufactured Food

    Wednesday, May 27, 2015

    2:00 PM-3:20 PM

    Curtis Hall, Room 453 3141 Chestnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19104

    • Everyone

    How to Police Your Food: A Story of Controlling Homes and Bodies in the Early Age of Manufactured Foods is a talk about three concerns of our day: food, knowledge, and control. The concerns are anchored in debates over environmental and public health inside a world of manufactured, industrial food. Cohen will talk about the dawn of that manufactured food system to show the basis for and consistency of such anxieties. As it were, the biggest story of agriculture and food from the mid-1800s to early 1900s is one of shifts in control from the field to the kitchen, from the farm to the city, from production to consumption. Those trends grew substantially across the 1900s, but their shape was put in place early in the century. In the midst of those massive changes, domestic economists, chemists, and grocers engaged in intense arguments over the best way to police the food of new urban households. Taste, smell, and sight had long provided ways to judge the quality and presumed purity of foods. Those were measurements of the body derived from daily experience. But just as the household body was challenged by new foods from outside sources—some domestic, some foreign—so too did officials challenge the value of evidence from individual bodies in protecting that space. This talk focuses on debates between the value of bodily knowledge and the incursion of analytical evidence during the so-called pure food crusades. Those debates highlighted a struggle between household management (what foods were brought into the house) and individual health (how to assure sustenance and nourishment). It’s all very familiar as we struggle, to this day, to manage relationships between food, bodies, and the land.

    Benjamin R. Cohen is assistant professor in the Engineering Studies and Environmental Studies Programs at Lafayette College in Easton, PA. From 2005-2011, Cohen was a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Science, Technology, and Society [STS] at the University of Virginia. Holding STS, history, and environmental studies together, his interests sit at the intersection of the histories of science, technology, and the environment, with particular attention to industrial agriculture from the 19th century to today.

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