People

Matthias Schemmel

Research Scholar, Group Leader (Since 2003)

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, i.e., 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 hand written artifacts. Current research and teaching activities further pertain to the political dimension of science and the role of science in the Anthropocene.

Projects

Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative Project (CDLI)

MORE

Mathematical Practices in Early Modern India

MORE

Research Websites as Research Data

MORE

The Emergence and Expansion of Preclassical Mechanics

MORE

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

MORE

The Origin of Theoretical Science in Ancient China

MORE

Weighing as an Early Global Innovation

MORE

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

MORE

Development of Mechanical Knowledge in China

MORE

Historical Epistemology of Space

MORE

Knowledge as a Fellow Traveler

MORE

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

MORE

Scholastic Elaborations of Ancient Mechanics

MORE

The Genesis of General Relativity (Four-Volume Edition)

MORE

The Use of Scholastic Tools in Early Modern Mechanics

MORE

Selected Publications

Renn, J., & Schemmel, M. (Eds.). (2019). Culture and cognition: essays in honor of Peter Damerow. Berlin: Edition Open Access.

Read More

Schemmel, M. (2019). Zur historischen Epistemologie des Raumes. In J. Renn, & M. Schemmel (Eds.), Culture and cognition: essays in honor of Peter Damerow (pp. 145-154). Berlin: Edition Open Access.

Read More

Renn, J., & Schemmel, M. (2019). Introduction. In J. Renn, & M. Schemmel (Eds.), Culture and cognition: essays in honor of Peter Damerow (pp. 5-7). Berlin: Edition Open Access.

Read More

Schemmel, M. (2019). Everyday Language and Technical Terminology: Reflective Abstractions in the Long-term History of Spatial Terms. Berlin: Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte.

Read More

Events

Institute's Colloquium

Paradox and Propositio: Arguing against Received Opinion in and outside the Early Modern University

MORE
Institute's Colloquium

Knowledge Institutions: A Search for Traces in European Prehistory

MORE
Institute's Colloquium

Time(s) for Planning: Labour as Scientific Object in Socialist Romania

MORE
Institute's Colloquium

The Commercialization of Science within the Max Planck Society

MORE
Institute's Colloquium

Knowledge and Institutions in the Middle Ages

MORE
Institute's Colloquium

Forms of Knowledge and Their Settings. Some Ancient Greek Cases

MORE
Institute's Colloquium

A Cluster of Excellence? The Museion in Alexandria and the Development of Ancient Science

MORE

A Century of General Relativity: 2—The History of Relativistic Cosmology

MORE
Institute's Colloquium

Citizen Science in the 19th and 21st Centuries

MORE
Institute's Colloquium

Institutions of Knowledge in Islamicate Societies: Patronage, Books, Families, the Arts

MORE
Workshop

An Intellectual Life Across Disciplines

MORE
Workshop

Zukunftsphilologie

MORE

Selected Talks & Teaching Activities

“Political Epistemology“

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

“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

“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

“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