Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent

Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent is Professor of History at the University of Paris X. She is the author of A History of Chemistry and other books.

  • The Artificial and the Natural

    The Artificial and the Natural

    An Evolving Polarity

    Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent and William R. Newman

    Notions of nature and art as they have been defined and redefined in Western culture, from the Hippocratic writers and Aristotle of Ancient Greece to nineteenth-century chemistry and twenty-first century biomimetics.

    Genetically modified food, art in the form of a phosphorescent rabbit implanted with jellyfish DNA, and robots that simulate human emotion would seem to be evidence for the blurring boundary between the natural and the artificial. Yet because the deeply rooted concept of nature functions as a cultural value, a social norm, and a moral authority, we cannot simply dismiss the distinction between art and nature as a nostalgic relic. Disentangling the cultural roots of many current debates about new technologies, the essays in this volume examine notions of nature and art as they have been defined and redefined in Western culture, from the Hippocratic writers' ideas of physis and technē and Aristotle's designation of mimetic arts to nineteenth-century chemistry and twenty-first century biomimetics. These essays—by specialists of different periods and various disciplines—reveal that the division between nature and art has been continually challenged and reassessed in Western thought. In antiquity, for example, mechanical devices were seen as working “against nature”; centuries later, Descartes not only claimed the opposite but argued that nature itself was mechanical. Nature and art, the essays show, are mutually constructed, defining and redefining themselves, partners in a continuous dance over the centuries.

    Contributors Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent, Horst Bredekamp, John Hedley Brooke, Dennis Des Chene, Alan Gabbey, Anthony Grafton, Roald Hoffmann, Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann, William R. Newman, Jessica Riskin, Heinrich Von Staden, Francis Wolff, Mark J. Schiefsky

    • Hardcover $9.75 £7.99

Contributor

  • Pedagogy and the Practice of Science

    Pedagogy and the Practice of Science

    Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

    David Kaiser

    Studies examining the ways in which the training of engineers and scientists shapes their research strategies and scientific identities.

    Pedagogy and the Practice of Science provides the first sustained examination of how scientists' and engineers' training shapes their research and careers. The wide-ranging essays move pedagogy to the center of science studies, asking where questions of scientists' training should fit into our studies of the history, sociology, and anthropology of science. Chapter authors examine the deep interrelations among training, learning, and research and consider how the form of scientific training affects the content of science. They investigate types of training—in cultural and political settings as varied as Victorian Britain, interwar Japan, Stalinist Russia, and Cold War America—and the resulting scientific practices. The fields they examine span the modern physical sciences, ranging from theoretical physics to electrical engineering and from nuclear weapons science to quantum chemistry.

    The studies look both at how skills and practices can be transferred to scientists-in-training and at the way values and behaviors are passed on from one generation of scientists to the next. They address such topics as the interplay of techniques and changing research strategies, pedagogical controversies over what constitutes "appropriate" or "effective," the textbook as a genre for expressing scientific creativity, and the moral and social choices that are embodied in the training of new scientists. The essays thus highlight the simultaneous crafting of scientific practices and of the practitioners who put them to work.

    • Hardcover $10.75 £8.99