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The Public History of Science, Technology, Medicine and Mathematics

British Society for the History of Science / Science Museum Group
Convened by Tim Boon and Ludmilla Jordanova

The term ‘public history’ is widely used to mean both the range of ways in which the past is presented beyond academic settings and the scholarly analysis of such public presentations. But what issues does a public history focusing specifically on the past of science raise for both these meanings?

Public history of science—the practice of the history of science in public contexts, as paid employment or for fun—is a little-analysed phenomenon. People who work as professional historians of science may well have a strong interest in how the past of science is represented to wide audiences, and so, too, in many cases, do scientists.

Public history of science also has a relationship with science communication, because its practitioners often use the past of science in their work. In other words, the public history of science has resonances, even an academic politics, that other public histories may not.

This conference will open up this field to discussion and debate. What is the public history of science, what could it be, what should it be? 

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