People

Matthias Schemmel

Senior Research Scholar (Since 2008)

Dr.

Matthias Schemmel studies the historical development of structures of knowledge connected to the exact sciences in their cognitive, material, and social dimensions, both from a long-term and a global perspective. The aim is to achieve an understanding of the place of scientific knowledge within human societies, as regards its epistemic status as well as its impact on society. In working toward this goal, he has pursued empirical, that is, source-based, research in different areas marked by important knowledge transformations. These areas are the emergence of theoretical science in ancient societies; transformations within the medieval and early modern European knowledge systems; the transfer of knowledge between cultures, particularly China and the West; and the reorganization of the knowledge of physics, astronomy, and their neighboring disciplines in the twentieth century.

A particular focus of his research are external, or material, representations of knowledge such as manuscripts and the role they play in the transmission and transformation of knowledge. In this context he also works on various digital editions of manuscripts and handwritten artifacts. Current research and teaching activities further pertain to the political dimension of science and the role of science in the Anthropocene.

Projects

Crisis of Humankind and Scientific Truth: Reflection on Science at the Starnberg Max Planck Institute (1970–1980)

MEHR

Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative Project (CDLI)

MEHR

Epistemic Configurations: The Formation of Anthropocene Knowledge

MEHR

IV. Anthropocene Formations

MEHR

Mathematical Practices in Early Modern India

MEHR

Research Websites as Research Data

MEHR

The Encounter of Two Systems of Knowledge in Seventeenth-Century China

MEHR

The Origin of Theoretical Science in Ancient China

MEHR

Albert Einstein—Chief Engineer of the Universe (Exhibition 2005)

MEHR

Development of Mechanical Knowledge in China

MEHR

Historical Epistemology of Space

MEHR

Knowledge as a Fellow Traveler

MEHR

Knowledge of Astronomy and the Invention of the Telescope: International Year of Astronomy 2009

MEHR

Scholastic Elaborations of Ancient Mechanics

MEHR

The Emergence and Expansion of Preclassical Mechanics

MEHR

The Genesis of General Relativity (Four-Volume Edition)

MEHR

Selected Publications

Schemmel, Matthias (2021). “Kagaku gurōbaru hisutorī kara miru jinshinsei 科学グローバル・ヒストリーから見る人新世 [Global History of Science as a Knowledge Resource for the Anthropocene].” In Jinshinsei o tou: kankyō, jinbun, Ajia no shiten 人新世を問う: 環境, 人文, アジアの視点 …

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Renn, Jürgen, and Matthias Schemmel (2021). “Leonardos Vision einer Wissenschaft der Praxis.” In Leonardos intellektueller Kosmos, ed. J. Renn, M. Valleriani, S. Hoffmann, and A. Becchi, 287–297. Florenz: Giunti.

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Renn, Jürgen, and Matthias Schemmel (2021). “Leonardo’s Vision of a Science of Practice.” In Leonardo’s Intellectual Cosmos, ed. J. Renn, M. Valleriani, S. Hoffmann, and A. Becchi, 287–297. Florenz: Giunti.

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Schemmel, Matthias (2020). “Global History of Science as a Knowledge Resource for the Anthropocene.” Global Sustainability 3 (e22): 1–8. https://doi.org/10.1017/sus.2020.16.

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Selected Talks & Teaching Activities

“Alternatives in the history of science: Pathways of mechanics in early modern Europe and in China”

Tsinghua Lectures on the History and Philosophy of Science, Tsinghua University, Beijing

“On the Dialectics of Abstraction as a Cognitive and Historical Process” (with Sascha Freyberg)

International Meeting of the Association for the Philosophy of Mathematical Practice, ETH Zürich

“Political Epistemology“

Seminar (with Senthil Babu, Sascha Freyberg, and Pietro D. Omodeo), Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia

“Global History of Science as a Knowledge Resource for the Anthropocene”

"Humanities on the Ground: Confronting the Anthropocene in Asia," Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, Kyoto

“Arguing from Appearance: The Numerical Reconstruction of Galactic Tails and Bridges"

Conference, "The Epistemic Functions of Vision in Science," Università degli Studi di Bergamo

“From Historical to Political Epistemology: Examples from the History of the Exact Sciences”

European Society for the History of Science Biennial Conference 2018, London

“Geschichte des Raumbegriffs von der Antike bis in die Gegenwart in erkenntnistheoretischer Absicht [History of the concept of space from antiquity to the present]”

Seminar, Humboldt University of Berlin

“The Concepts of Duration and Non-duration in the Ancient Chinese ‘Mohist Canon’: Cognitive Universals and Cultural Specifics”

"Philosophy of Time: A View from the Past," University of Milan

“Experience and Reflection in a Long-term History of Spatial Concepts”

Center for Logic, History and Philosophy of Science, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Bucharest

“How Many Times Have the Natural Sciences Emerged?” (with Jürgen Renn)

International Symposium on China and the World in the Global History of Science and Technology, Institute for the History of the Natural Sciences, CAS, Beijing