Sonja Brentjes is a Visiting Scholar at Dept. III of the MPIWG. She is a historian of science with a focus on institutions, mathematics, and mapmaking in Islamicate societies until 1700 and cross-cultural encounters in the Mediterranean and western Asia since the eighth century. Currently, she is working on a new interpretation of the Book on the Balance of Wisdom by 'Abd al-Rahman al-Khazini (d. 1130s). With an international group of scholars, she is also building an image database on the visualization of the heavens in Eurasia and North Africa until c. 1700 and the material and intellectual cultures of these images.
Sonja studied mathematics at the Technical University Dresden (1969–1973), history of mathematics and science at the Karl Marx University Leipzig (1973–1976), and Near Eastern history and Arabic at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (1978–1982). She wrote her PhD on the history of linear programming and my second dissertation on number theory in Arabic and Persian texts composed between 800 and 1250 (1977; 1989). In 1991, I acquired the venia legendi.
She has published broadly on different topics in the history of mathematics, cartography, patronage, higher education, science and the arts, cross-cultural encounters, and historiography. Recently she edited a book on processes of globalization in the Mediterranean between 700 and 1500 (with Jürgen Renn) and a book about historical narratives on scholarly activities in non-Western societies of the past and their distortions (with Taner Edis and Lutz Richter-Bernburg). Her latest published paper deals with early modern sources that reveal how Europeans learned to speak and write Arabic outside the university.
Ursula Klein is an Independent Associate of Department I. She is a Professor (apl) at the University of Konstanz (since 2007). She received the HIST Award for outstanding achievements in the history of chemistry, sponsored by the American Chemical Society (2016). Ursula is a member of the Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher/Leopoldina (since 2008), member of AcademiaNet, and received a call to a professorship for the history and philosophy of science at the University of Vienna (2007, declined in 2008). She is a member of the editorial boards of Ambix, Annals of Science, Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Centaurus, Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences, and Hyle.
Ursula achieved her Habilitation in Philosophy, University of Konstanz (2000); PhD Philosophy, University of Konstanz (1993); and Higher State Exam in chemistry and biology (1979). She studied biology, chemistry, philosophy, sociology, psychology, and history of science at the Freie Universität of Berlin and the University of Konstanz. She also worked as a teacher (Gymnasiallehrerin) of chemistry and biology (1980–1988).
Her research interests include studies of the interaction of the natural and technological sciences in the Industrial Revolution, the history of Earth-system sciences, including Alexander von Humboldt’s related research, the history and philosophy of chemistry, and the history of the laboratory.
Klaus Thoden is a Visiting Consultant at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. He received his Magister Artium (MA) in German language and linguistics from the Humboldt University, Berlin in 2008.
Klaus is the technical coordinator of Edition Open Access, a publishing platform for open access publications. During a two-year-project (2018-2019), he headed a small team that fundamentally remodeled the whole publication infrastructure (funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, grant number 16OA061).
At the MPIWG, he has also been involved in developing an infrastructure for digitizing sources for the ECHO environment and between 2012 and 2017 was involved in national and international infrastructure projects (DM2E, TextGrid, DARIAH-DE). The focus of his research is the influence of computers and the internet on the way scholars perform their work. This includes usability studies, modeling research activities (e.g., TaDiRAH, Scholarly Domain Model), impact studies (e.g., Impactomatrix), and most recently, research on the publication process in the humanities.