Geert Somsen

Visiting Scholar
Visiting Scholars are established scholars, as evidenced by significant publications and broad academic experience, spending a fixed term as guests at the MPIWG for research purposes. They may be externally funded or receive a Research Fellowship from the MPIWG.
Department II
PhD, Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellow, Columbia University
1. September 2016 to 31. Dezember 2016

Geert Somsen is based at Maastricht University, Netherlands, where he teaches history of science at undergraduate and graduate levels. He has been Academic Coordinator of the Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences and PhD Training Coordinator of the Netherlands Graduate Research School of Science, Technology and Modern Culture. He is the recipient of a Marie Curie International Outgoing fellowship, 2014–17, in the EU 7th Framework Programme, and has been a Visiting Scholar at Uppsala Universitet and Harvard University. He is editor of Studium, the Low Countries’ Review for the History of Science. Before arriving at the MPIWG he spent two years as a Research Associate at the Department of History of Columbia University.

Geert studies public discourse about science, especially in relation to its political implications. In his current project he examines how science has been promoted as a model for international cooperation through appeals to its universality. He explores the different agendas (from communist to fascist) with which such appeals have been made and the varying conceptions of world order that they have given rise to, and has published widely on this and related topics. He recently completed the volumes Pursuing the Unity of Science: Ideology and Scientific Practice from the Great War to the Cold War (Ashgate 2016, edited with Harmke Kamminga) and Neutrality in Twentieth-Century Europe: Intersections of Science, Culture and Politics after the First World War (Routledge 2012, edited with Rebecka Lettevall and Sven Widmalm).


Selected publications: 
29 April 2016
Columbia University, New York City (Intellectual and Cultural History Seminar)
The Princess at the Conference: Science, Pacifism and Habsburg Society in Bertha von Suttner’s Der Menschheit Hochgedanken (1911)
12 February 2016
Columbia University (Columbia Committee on Global Thought, keynote presentation)
The Idealism of International Science
6 October 2015
York University, Toronto (STS Seminar Series)
Science, Fascism and Foreign Policy: the Ideological Mobilization of ‘Scienza Universale’ in the 1942 World Exhibition in Rome
24 March 2015
Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia (Brown Bag Lecture)
Chemical Internationalism: Wilhelm Ostwald, Die Brücke, and the Energy Streams of Empire
9 March 2015
Harvard University (Kennedy School of Government, STS Circle)
‘Science and World Order’: Uses of Science in Plans for International Government
17-19 December 2014
Ghent, conference Intellectuals and the Great War (invited contribution)
‘Science … the Great Pacifier’: George Sarton, History of Science, and the First World War in America