Founded in 1924, the Society for the History of Science (HSS) is the oldest and largest society in the world dedicated to understanding science, technology, medicine, and their interactions with society in historical contexts. This professional and research center will now make its home in Philadelphia, a city with a rich community of scientists and a scope in the history of science.
In a unique partnership, the Department of History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania and the Institute of History of Science will host the HSS for at least the next five years. The society has more than 3,000 members and has been based at the University of Notre Dame since 2010. The institute will serve as its base, providing support as well as opportunities for on-site meetings, exhibitions and other programs. As part of the agreement, Penn funded mentoring and job opportunities for students with the Society’s executive office.
“The HSS is excited about the fact that the Institute of History of Science and Penn are our new home,” said John Paul Gutierrez, executive director of the HSS. Being a leading society dedicated to the history of science, technology and medicine, and partnering with the Penn Institute for the History of Science and the respected Department of History and Sociology of Science, was a natural progress for the HSS, especially as we approach our centenary. . This partnership will allow society to continue to provide and expand our offerings to our members and will strengthen the Institute of History of Science as a central hub in this area. “
M. Susan Lindy, Professor of History and Sociology of Science Janice and Julian Burse and Chair of the Penn’s School of Arts & Sciences, led the proposal to relocate society, working with Projit Muharjee, an associate professor in the department; Michel DiMeo, Arnold Tacrey, Director of the Othmer Library at the Institute; and David Cole, president and CEO of the institute.
“For Penn students – graduates and perhaps even bachelors – in history and sociology of science, this is an incredible opportunity to learn what it means to work for academia and gain skills, experience and authority,” says Lindy. “The location of the Society here and at the Institute of History of Science further enhances the importance of Philadelphia in this area.
The HSS is usually hosted by a university. This is the first time the two institutions will share household responsibilities, and Lindee and DiMeo hope the partnership will spark further collaboration and learning opportunities.
“This new partnership is based on decades of collaboration between the Institute of History of Science and the University of Pennsylvania,” said DiMeo. “This is the first time that the domestic responsibilities of society have been balanced between a university and a public organization. Philadelphia has the largest concentration of historical research institutions of any major city in the United States. Welcoming the HSS Executive Office here will enable more collaboration in our community, create mentoring opportunities for students and associates, and provide a platform to reach new audiences.
In addition to Penn and the Institute, several other Philadelphia science-related institutions in Philadelphia have written in support of the hosting agreement, including the Consortium for the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine; The American Philosophical Society; and Drexel University.
“There’s a lot of excitement and enthusiasm about this move,” Lindy said. “This allows us to continue to build a strong disciplinary presence on the history of science in Philadelphia.”
Institute of History of Science Media contact: Caitlin Martin at [email protected] or 215-873-8292