Institute's Bibliography (PuRe) Team

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Working Group Books

Working Group Books are a specialty of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG): volumes written by two or more authors which are the result of intensive collaboration, involving multiple working sessions in which drafts of the individual chapters are presented, discussed, and revised. Many MPIWG research projects publish their principal results in this form, in addition to books and articles by individual participating scholars. These Working Group Books are especially well suited to opening up new fields of research and to covering topics from a comparative perspective, both challenges that invite collective rather than individual scholarship.

 

 

2019
Working Group Book

Entangled Itineraries: Materials, Practices, and Knowledges across Eurasia

Trade flowed across Eurasia, around the Indian Ocean, and over the Mediterranean for millennia, but in the early modern period, larger parts of the globe became connected through these established trade routes. Knowledge, embodied in various people, materials, texts, objects, and practices, also moved and came together along these routes in hubs of exchange where different social and cultural groups intersected and interacted.

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Working Group Book

Surprise: 107 Variations on the Unexpected

Science depends on the unexpected. Yet surprise and its role in the process of scientific knowledge-making has hitherto received little attention, let alone systematic investigation. This collection explores surprise as a historical category, as a staged performance or as a spontaneous reaction, or as part of a personal experience during scholarly endeavors.

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Working Group Book

Working with Paper: Gendered Practices in the History of Knowledge

Working with Paper builds on a growing interest in the materials of science by exploring the gendered uses and meanings of paper tools and technologies, considering how notions of gender impacted paper practices and in turn how paper may have structured knowledge about gender.

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2018
Working Group Book

Emergence and Expansion of Preclassical Mechanics

This book aims to introduce a systematic framework for the historical representation and analysis of preclassical mechanics from a historical-epistemological perspective. Preclassical mechanics is understood here as a heterogeneous knowledge system emerging in the period roughly between the fifteenth and the seventeenth centuries, before classical mechanics was formulated, in continuation of Newton’s work, as a coherent and comprehensive mechanical theory.

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2017
Working Group Book

Before Copernicus: the Cultures and Contexts of Scientific Learning in the Fifteenth Century

In 1984, Noel Swerdlow and Otto Neugebauer argued that Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) explained planetary motion by using mathematical devices and astronomical models originally developed by Islamic astronomers in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Was this a parallel development, or did Copernicus somehow learn of the work of his predecessors, and if so, how?

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Working Group Book

Data Histories

The history of data brings together topics and themes from a variety of perspectives in history of science: histories of the material culture of information and of computing, the history of politics on individual and global scales, gender and women’s history, as well as the histories of many individual disciplines, to name just a few of the areas covered by essays in this volume.

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Working Group Book

One Hundred Years of Chemical Warfare: Research, Deployment, Consequences

Taking the horrific events that took place at Ypres in 1915 as its point of departure, this volume traces the development of chemical weapons from their first use as weapons of mass destruction by German troops in Belgium to their deployment in Syria in the summer of 2013. The book has emerged from a conference commemorating the centenary of the events at Ypres, held at the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society in Berlin.

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Working Group Book

Science in the Archives: Pasts, Presents, Futures

Archives bring to mind rooms filled with old papers and dusty artifacts. But for scientists, the detritus of the past can be a treasure trove of material vital to present and future research: fossils collected by geologists; data banks assembled by geneticists; weather diaries trawled by climate scientists; libraries visited by historians.

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Working Group Book

Testing Drugs and Trying Cures

Practices of testing drugs and trying cures were clearly central to premodern medicine. As the present articles demonstrate, a wide range of actors conducted a variety of practices in order to assess drug efficacy; determine the virtues of plants, animals, and minerals; ascertain the composition of compound drugs; tweak production and application methods; and much more.

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2016
Working Group Book

Canonical Texts and Scholarly Practices: a Global Comparative Approach

In this collection of richly documented case studies, experts in many textual traditions examine the ways in which important texts were preserved, explicated, corrected, and used for a variety of purposes. This volume shows how much is learned when historians of scholarship focus on earlier scholars' practices, and when Western scholarly traditions are treated as part of a much larger, cross-cultural inquiry.

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Working Group Book

Documenting the World: Film, Photography, and the Scientific Record

Imagine the twentieth century without photography and film. Its history would be absent of images that define historical moments and generations. 'Documenting the World' is about the material and social life of photographs and film made in the scientific quest to document the world.

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Working Group Book

Shifting Paradigms : Thomas S. Kuhn and the History of Science

The publication of Thomas S. Kuhn’s "Structure of Scientific Revolutions" in 1962 stands for a turning point in the history and philosophy of science. The repercussions of this work have rearticulated the theoretical framework of history and philosophy of science and have also generated discussions that contributed to the formation of the communities of historians as well as philosophers of science in many parts of the world.

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Working Group Book

Spatial Thinking and External Representation: Towards a Historical Epistemology of Space

Spatial thinking plays a central role in the life of individuals as well as whole societies. It ranges from everyday orientation in our living environment to the social organization of place and space and the structuring of a huge corpus of experiential knowledge by means of theoretical concepts in modern science.

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2015
Working Group Book

Endangerment, Biodiversity and Culture

The notion of Endangerment stands at the heart of a network of concepts, values and practices dealing with objects and beings considered threatened by extinction, and with the procedures aimed at preserving them. Usually animated by a sense of urgency and citizenship, identifying endangered entities involves evaluating an impending threat and opens the way for preservation strategies.

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2014
Working Group Book

Wissensgeschichte der Architektur

Das den großen Bauleistungen der Vergangenheit zugrunde liegende Wissen und seine Entwicklung ist Gegenstand der hier vorgelegten Wissensgeschichte der Architektur. Die Forschungen haben sich insbesondere auf das Planungswissen, das Materialwissen, das bautechnische Wissen und das logistische Wissen konzentriert.

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2013
Working Group Book

How Reason Almost Lost its Mind: The Strange Career of Cold War Rationality

In the United States at the height of the Cold War, roughly between the end of World War II and the early 1980s, a new project of redefining rationality commanded the attention of sharp minds, powerful politicians, wealthy foundations, and top military brass.

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Working Group Book

Research and Pedagogy : A History of Quantum Physics through its Textbooks

Historians of quantum physics and early quantum mechanics have seldom paid attention to the ways the new theory was integrated in physics textbooks, perhaps taking for granted that novelties in science can only be taught once they are fully understood and generally accepted.

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Working Group Book

Traditions and Transformations in the History of Quantum Physics: HQ-3 Third International Conference on the History of Quantum Physics, Berlin, June 28 - July 2, 2010

More than a century after the beginning of the quantum revolution, historians continue to explore new facets in the history of quantum physics, and to re-examine some of its better-known aspects.

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2012
Working Group Book

Einstein and the Changing Worldviews of Physics

This volume reviews conceptual conflicts at the foundations of physics now and in the past century. The focus is on the conditions and consequences of Einstein's pathbreaking achievements that sealed the decline of the classical notions of space, time, radiation, and matter, and resulted in the theory of relativity.

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Working Group Book

The Globalization of Knowledge in History

This volume presents results of an interdisciplinary research project on the globalization of knowledge. The project is part of the research program of a historical epistemology whose aim is to contribute also to the reflexivity of present science and its institutions. It pursues a comparative history of knowledge in which present processes of globalization are conceived as the outcome of historical developments and their interactions.

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