School of Humanities and Sciences
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Paul N. Edwards
Senior Lecturer in the Program in Science, Technology and Society
BioI'm Director of the Program on Science, Technology & Society (STS) and a William J. Perry Fellow in International Security at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford. I also co-direct the Stanford Existential Risks Initiative with Prof. Steve Luby.
I'm Professor of Information and History (Emeritus) at the University of Michigan, where I worked for almost 20 years in the School of Information, the Dept. of History, and the STS Program. I taught previously at Stanford from 1992-1998 in various capacities, mainly in the Science, Technology & Society Program that I now direct.
I study the history, politics, and culture of information infrastructures, especially climate knowledge systems. My books include A Vast Machine: Computer Models, Climate Data, and the Politics of Global Warming (MIT Press, 2010), The Closed World: Computers and the Politics of Discourse in Cold War America (MIT Press, 1996), and Changing the Atmosphere: Expert Knowledge and Environmental Governance (MIT Press, 2001, co-edited with Clark Miller). I'm academic editor of the MIT Press book series Infrastructures.
From 2018-2021, I served as one of 234 Lead Authors for the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Working Group I (Physical Sciences), released in August 2021.
Ubaldo Pierotti Professor of Italian History and Professor, by courtesy, of French and ItalianOn Partial Leave from 01/01/2023 To 06/30/2023
BioI have taught the early history of science and medicine for many years on the premise that one of the most important ways to understand how science, medicine and technology have become so central to contemporary society comes from examining the process by which scientific knowledge emerged. I also take enormous pleasure in examining a kind of scientific knowledge that did not have an autonomous existence from other kinds of creative endeavors, but emerged in the context of humanistic approaches to the world (in defiance of C.P. Snow's claim that the modern world is one of "two cultures" that share very little in common). More generally, I am profoundly attracted to individuals in the past who aspired to know everything. It still seems like a worthy goal.
My other principal interest lies in understanding the world of the Renaissance, with a particular focus on Italy. I continue to be fascinated by a society that made politics, economics and culture so important to its self-definition, and that obviously succeeded in all these endeavors for some time, as the legacy of such figures as Machiavelli and Leonardo suggests. Renaissance Italy, in short, is a historical laboratory for understanding the possibilities and the problems of an innovative society. As such, it provides an interesting point of comparison to Gilded Age America, where magnates such as J.P. Morgan often described themselves as the "new Medici," and to other historical moments when politics, art and society combined fruitfully.
Finally, I have a certain interest in the relations between gender, culture and knowledge. Virginia Woolf rightfully observed at the beginning of the twentieth century that one could go to a library and find a great deal about women but very little that celebrated or supported their accomplishments. This is no longer true a century later, in large part thanks to the efforts of many scholars, male and female, who have made the work of historical women available to modern readers and who have begun to look at relations between the sexes in more sophisticated ways. Our own debates and disagreements on such issues make this subject all the more important to understand.
Stanton Foundation Professor of Nuclear Security and Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
BioGabrielle Hecht is Professor of History, Professor (by courtesy) of Anthropology, and Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute. She is President of the Society for the History of Technology.
Hecht's current research explores the inside-out Earth and its wastes in order to reveal the hidden costs of the so-called "energy transition," with research sites in the Arctic, the Andes, southern Africa, and west Africa. This project builds on her new book, Residual Governance: How South African Foretells Planetary Futures (Duke Univ. Press, forthcoming November 2023).
Hecht's graduate courses include colloquia on "Power in the Anthropocene," "Infrastructure and Power in the Global South," "Technopolitics," and "Materiality and Power." She teaches a community-engaged undergraduate research seminar on "Racial Justice in the Nuclear Age," in partnership with the Bayview Hunters Point Community Advocates (BVHPCA). She is currently working with BVHPCA and other partners to develop knowledge infrastructures to underpin community-driven public history that supports racial equity and environmental justice.
Hecht’s 2012 book Being Nuclear: Africans and the Global Uranium Trade offers new perspectives on the global nuclear order by focusing on African uranium mines and miners. It received awards from the Society for the Social Studies of Science, the American Historical Association, the American Sociological Association, and the Suzanne M. Glasscock Humanities Institute, as well as an honorable mention from the African Studies Association. An abridged version appeared in French as Uranium Africain, une histoire globale (Le Seuil 2016), and a Japanese translation is due out in 2021. Her first book, The Radiance of France: Nuclear Power and National Identity (1998/ 2nd ed 2009), explores how the French embedded nuclear policy in reactor technology, and nuclear culture in reactor operations. It received awards from the American Historical Association and the Society for the History of Technology, and has appeared in French as Le rayonnement de la France: Énergie nucléaire et identité nationale après la seconde guerre mondiale (2004/ 2014).
Her affiliations at Stanford include the Center for African Studies, the Program in Science, Technology, and Society, the Center for Global Ethnography, the Program on Urban Studies, and the Program in Modern Thought and Literature. Before rejoining Stanford in 2017, Hecht taught at the University of Michigan’s History department for 18 years. She helped to found and direct UM’s Program in Science, Technology, and Society (STS). She served as associate director of UM’s African Studies Center, and participated in its long-term collaboration with the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (South Africa). She has supervised dissertations in STS, African history and anthropology, nuclear studies, and French history.
Hecht holds a PhD in History and Sociology of Science from the University of Pennsylvania (1992), and a bachelor’s degree in Physics from MIT (1986). She’s been a visiting scholar in universities in Australia, France, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, and Sweden. Her work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council for Learned Societies, and the South African and Dutch national research foundations, among others. She serves on numerous advisory boards, including for the Andra, France’s national radioactive waste management agency.
Clarence Irving Lewis Professor of Philosophy, Emerita
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsI am currently pursuing research in several different areas. 1) The concept of interaction in science and philosophy. 2) The epistemology of science, especially social epistemology. 3) The contributions feminist philosophy of science can make to understanding science and sustainability policy in so-called developing countries? 4) How engagement with communities can inform philosophical analysis.
Patrick Suppes Professor of Greek Mathematics and Astronomy and Professor, by courtesy, of Philosophy and of History
BioNetz's main field is the history of pre-modern mathematics. His research involves the wider issues of the history of cognitive practices, e.g. visual culture, the history of the book, and literacy and numeracy. His books from Cambridge University Press include The Shaping of Deduction in Greek Mathematics: a Study in Cognitive History (1999, Runciman Award), The Transformation of Early Mediterranean Mathematics: From Problems to Equations (2004), and Ludic Proof: Greek Mathematics and the Alexandrian Aesthetic (2009).
He is also the author of the translation and commentary of the works of Archimedes, also with CUP, a three-volume work of which the first has appeared, The Two Books on Sphere and Cylinder (2004). Together with Nigel Wilson, he prepares the edition of the recently rediscovered Archimedes Palimpsest (evidence from which already gave rise to two major discoveries: a text showing actual infinity in Archimedes, published in SCIAMVS 2001-2002, and a text showing, possibly, combinatorics in Archimedes, published in SCIAMVS 2004.) Two volumes, Transcription and Critical Edition, are forthcoming from the British Academy, of which the transcription is already available online. His popular book on the Archimedes Palimpsest Project, The Archimedes Codex, (co-authored with William Noel, Neumann Prize) was published by Widenfeld and Nicolson, 2007, and is translated into 20 languages.
Related to his research in cognitive history is his interest in ecological history, and he has published Barbed Wire: an Ecology of Modernity (Wesleyan University Press, 2004, finalist for PEN award). Reviel Netz is also a poet (Adayin Bahuc, 1999 Shufra: Tel Aviv, AMOS prize), one of a group of Hebrew poets active today whose work revives formal verse and he is the co-author, together with his wife, the Israeli author Maya Arad, of a collection of essays on Israeli literature, Positions of Stress (Meqom Hata'am, 2008 Axuzat Bayit: Tel Aviv).
Robert N. Proctor
Professor of History and, by courtesy, of Medicine (Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine)On Leave from 10/01/2022 To 06/30/2023
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsTobacco and cigarette design; human origins and evolution; changing concepts of health and disease; medical history and medical politics
Frances and Charles Field Professor of History
BioJessica Riskin received her B.A. from Harvard University and her Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. She taught at MIT before coming to Stanford, and has also taught at Iowa State University and at Sciences Po, Paris. Her research interests include early modern science, politics and culture and the history of scientific explanation.
Riskin is the author of Science in the Age of Sensibility: The Sentimental Empiricists of the French Enlightenment (2002), which won the American Historical Association's J. Russell Major Prize for best book in English on any aspect of French history, and the editor of Genesis Redux: Essays in the History and Philosophy of Artificial Life (2007) and, with Mario Biagioli, of Nature Engaged: Science in Practice from the Renaissance to the Present (2012). She is also the author of The Restless Clock: A History of the Centuries-Long Debate over What Makes Living Things Tick (2016), which won the 2021 Patrick Suppes Prize in the History of Science from the American Philosophical Society.