Deputy Head, Communications Team

Stephanie Hood

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The Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG) has published its format “Research Topics” since 2008. Every six to eight weeks, researchers present individual contributions of one relevant aspect of their research or present a new research project. “Research Topics” appear on the home page of the Institute’s website and in a printed version available in the MPIWG’s entrance hall. The online version makes the latest research easily available and offers links to sources, databases, audiovisual material, publications, authors, and partner institutions. Published in German and English, the collection of Research Topics gives a representative picture of the ways in which research is conducted at the Institute. Copies can be ordered in brochure form through the Institute's press contact.

No 84
Detail from a soil-erosion map

Knowledge Systems and Collective Life: A New Approach to the Study of Science and Politics

Climate change, the pandemic, war, migration, economic insecurity—over the past few years, crises seem to have arisen at an accelerating pace, along with urgent calls for action. In this contex...

No 83
A depiction of oxygen, carbon and water cycles in nature and another with members of a conference raising their hands

The Social Side of a Scientific Breakthrough: Fritz Haber, Walther Nernst, and the Discovery of Ammonia Synthesis 1830–1930

Ammonia synthesis. Central to the mass production of fertilizer and explosives. It has been billed as the most consequential scientific breakthrough of the twentieth century. Historical perspec...

No 82
Print of Tenga from Hortus Indicus Malabaricus

Hortus Indicus Malabaricus: The Eurasian Life of a Seventeenth-Century “European” Botanical Classic

In the 1650s, the Dutch East India Company (VOC) developed a series of initiatives to better learn the truths of Asian nature. Their extensive information network—merchants, ships’ captains, sa...

No 81
On-site measuring of a sediment core at the GSSP candidate site Crawford Lake

The Anthropocene’s Signal: What the Geology of the Present Beckons for the Future of Research

Which fingerprints of global human activities appear in the geological archive? And how do geologists investigate such an earthly present? This reciprocal pair of questions has been the point o...

No 80
Satellite view of the Rotterdam harbor

Anthropocene Formations: Process Landscapes of Petromodernity

The satellite image above shows the Port of Rotterdam, the biggest harbor in Europe. At Maasvlakte 2, an artificial island just off the coastline, the world’s largest tankers are able to dock. ...

No 79
Maier Atalanta Fugiens, 1618.

A Vital Force? Exploring Agricultural Uses of Alchemy in Early Modern Europe, ca. 1550-1730

According to the authors of early modern agrarian manuals, agriculture was in crisis. Soils had become depleted, crops grew smaller and fewer in number, and the growing seasons were shorter and...

No 77

Practices of Validation in the Biomedical Sciences

In 2021, the validity of Covid-19 tests became an issue of political and public concern. Can we rely on tests to re-open schools, shops, and museums while the pandemic is still in full swing? S...

No 76
Drawing of paper sheets flying through the exhibition.

Leonardo's Intellectual Cosmos

The intellectual cosmos of Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) is seemingly inexhaustible. It echoes the diversity and cultural abundance of the Renaissance, which he embodies in all its facets like ...

No 74
Engraved Frontispiece to John Palmer

Learning by the Book: Manuals and Handbooks in the History of Science

How do practitioners—of any form of specialized knowledge—learn technical skills, and how do they find knowledge deemed as solid and secure?

No 73
Chapter from al-Māturīdī’s Kitāb al-Tawḥīd

Knowing the Unobservable: Analogies and Analogical Reasoning in Premodern Islamic Theology

Premodern Islamic theologians frequently employed analogies and analogical reasoning in their works—making comparisons between one thing and another for the purpose of explanation, clarificatio...

No 71

Local Gazetteers Research Tools (LoGaRT): A Digital Resource for Researching Chinese History

Starting in the tenth century, Chinese officials—based on guidelines from the central administration—began to periodically collect data on local geographic, social, and economic conditions in t...

No 70

The Mask—Arrayed: An Interdisciplinary Project on the Materiality of a Covid-19 Icon

“The Mask—Arrayed” explores the material, technological, and cultural aspects of the most iconic artifact of the Covid-19 crisis: the face mask. In this interdisciplinary essay project, an inte...

No 69
Collage of recent global news headlines on the topic of China and science. Source: Yu-Fen Lai.

China in the Global System of Science

The global system of science has seen the unprecedented rise of one particular world region over the past two decades: the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has become the largest producer of sc...

No 68
Map of Korean Demilitarized Zone. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, “Korea Demilitarized Zone” (CIA: Washington, D.C, USA. 1969)

Ecologizing the Korean Demilitarized Zone: Fields, Animals, and Science during the Cold War

The Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), a 250-kilometer long and four-kilometer wide buffer zone, was created after the armistice of the Korean War in 1953. One of the most globally recognized mil...

No 67
Humanly Impossible. Herbert Bayer (self-portrait)

The Evolution of Knowledge: Rethinking Science for the Anthropocene

The new volume "The Evolution of Knowledge: Rethinking Science for the Anthropocene" presents a new way of thinking about the history of science and technology, one that offers a gran...

No 66
the sphere

De Sphaera: Epistemic Communities Shaping Scientific Knowledge in Early Modern Europe

"De Sphaera" is a university textbook compiled by Johannes de Sacrobosco that was used in European universities for around 400 years, beginning in the first half of the thirteenth cen...