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Otto Sibum, Traditional Knowledge and/in Science

CEHIC Seminar, 12.30 h, friday 1 April 2016
cehic 29/03/2016

Sciences et savoirs, vol 2, Seuil 2015
Sciences et savoirs, vol 2, Seuil 2015

Circa 1900 a powerful regime of knowledge called science was finally established in European and North American Universities. This authoritative knowledge was based on controlled experience and performed by a type of researcher that had undergone a rigid training of head and hand executed in the newly established laboratories. Ways of traditional knowledge rooted in sensuous experience and for long time strictly separated from scientia, Wissenschaft now had become the core element of modern science. The talk traces this complex process  of boundary work performed between traditional knowledge communities and the rising scientific community in the long nineteenth century.

The talk is based on "Les sciences et les savoirs traditionnels", in K. Raj and O. Sibum, eds. Histoire des Sciences et des Savoirs. Vol. 2, Modernité et globalisation (Paris: Seuil, 2015), p. 285-303. 

H. Otto Sibum is Hans Rausing Professor of History of Science and Director of the Office for History of Science at Uppsala University since August 2007. Before he has been Director of Research at the Max Planck Institute for History of Science in Berlin (1998 – 2007) as well as Research Associate at the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at Cambridge University, UK (1991-1995). He holds a doctoral degree in physics (Dr.rer.nat.) from Oldenburg University (1989) and the habilitation in history from the TU Braunschweig (2001).

Selected publications

D. Aubin, C. Bigg and O. Sibum, eds. The Heavens on Earth. Observatories and Astronomy in Nineteenth-Century Science and Culture (Duke University Press, 2010).

Bourguet, Marie-Noëlle, Christian Licoppe, and Otto Sibum, eds. Instruments, Travel and Science. Itineraries of Precision from the Seventeenth to the Twentieth Century (Routledge, 2002).

Sibum, Heinz Otto, ‘What Kind of Science Is Experimental Physics?’, Science, 306 (2004), 60–61.

Sibum, Heinz Otto, ‘Reworking the Mechanical Value of Heat: Instruments of Precision and Gestures of Accuracy in Early Victorian England’, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 26 (1995), 73–106.