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Research Topics Series

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 61
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Leonardo da Vinci’s Intellectual Cosmos: Exhibitions with Museo Galileo and Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin (2019/2020)

To mark the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519), the Museo Galileo (Florence) is preparing an exhibition dedicated to a reconstruction of his library. The exhibition...

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No 60
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ISMI: A 21st-Century Resource for Accessing Islamic Scientific Manuscripts

The Islamic Scientific Manuscript Initiative (ISMI) started more than ten years ago with a mission to make accessible information on all Islamic manuscripts in the exact sciences, whether in Ar...

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No 59
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Experience in the Premodern Sciences of Soul & Body ca. 800–1650

Between ca. 800–1650, the Aristotelian sciences of soul and body and Galenic-Avicennian medicine spread from the Islamic World to Europe, to the Americas, and to East Asia. Most histories propo...

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No 58
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Epidemics in Context: Cholera and Plague in North Africa (1798–1919)

Plague, cholera, and fevers have historically disrupted the commercial and geopolitical fabrics of port cities. In her project, Postdoctoral Fellow Edna Bonhomme examines how Alexandria, Tripol...

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No 56
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Sanctorius Sanctorius: The Beginning of Self-Quantification

In her project Predoctoral Fellow Teresa Hollerbach considers the work of the physician Sanctorius Sanctorius (1561–1636), who developed instruments to measure and quantify physiological change...

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No 55
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From Electrotype to the Electric Image: Global Vision, circa 1830–1930

Between 1830 and 1930 lay a century that redefined the nature of image circulation, with changes in how they could be reproduced, amassed as property, and transmitted to distant locales with re...

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No 53
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Visualization and Material Cultures of the Heavens in Eurasia and North Africa (4000 BCE–1700 CE)

Historian of science Sonja Brentjes reflects on how Sagittarius came to have a feline body and why the tip of its tail is a dragon’s head. Sagittarius, usually a Centaur, suddenly appears in th...

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No 52
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How to Live with Bears

Building upon recent research, Wilko Hardenberg delves into the analysis of the history and policy of cohabitation between humans and bears.

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No 51
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The Wonders of Bodily Waste

Tamar Novick explores the use of bodily waste in scientific practice, considering when worthless matter becomes valuable and how this fosters new relationships between distant places, instituti...

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No 50
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The Strait in the Cold War—Deep Science and Global Geopolitics in the Mediterranean

In his research project, historian of science Lino Camprubí analyzes how anti-submarine surveillance reunited geopolitics and ocean science during the Cold War, enabling new global visions of t...

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No 49
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Mountain Clamor! Resource Flows and Metal Culture in Early Modern Mining

In her ongoing research project, Tina Asmussen explores the sociomaterial dimensions of early modern mining through addressing mutual processes of appropriation, attribution, and valuation.

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No 48
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Data and Decisions in Early Modern Mines

An ongoing research project investigating note-taking in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century mining.

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No 46
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Early Modern Adaptation of the Aristotelian Mechanics

In one of her ongoing projects, historian of science Joyce van Leeuwen investigates the history of the Quaestiones Mechanicae.

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No 45
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Refugee Housing

In one of her ongoing projects, historian Emily Brownell investigates the history of refugee housing.

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No 43
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One Hundred Years of Gravitational Waves

The search for gravitational waves has entered a new era. The MPIWG, CalTech and the Hebrew University have studied the long way from Einstein’s prediction to observation.

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