Links for 3-6-2008

Bora has posted an interview with me at A Blog Around the Clock. See here for all the interviews in the series. He keeps adding new ones so check back now and then.

Via the Chronicle news blog, I found this wonderful site with all of Audobon's paintings of North American birds. Bird lovers, rejoice! Thank you, University of Pittsburgh!

Again via the CNB, The Scientist has named names - the best places for postdocs to work. The Chronicle advises:

Read the fine print: Only 17 international institutions (and 82 in the United States) received five or more survey responses; the magazine did not rank those that received fewer entries.

It would be cool to see a similar survey of "best places to work if you are a member of an underrepresented group." Would it come out the same???

Amazon thinks I would like this book. It does look interesting.

Objectivity has a history, and it is full of surprises. In Objectivity, Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison chart the emergence of objectivity in the mid-nineteenth-century sciences--and show how the concept differs from its alternatives, truth-to-nature and trained judgment. This is a story of lofty epistemic ideals fused with workaday practices in the making of scientific images.

Also sounds like it would feature plenty of nifty illustrations. I shall read it, of course, in my spare time, after finishing all my other TBR books.

More like this

I haven't yet read that book, but I heard a good interview with Lorraine Daston recently on the CBC radio show Ideas, in which she described the book. It's in a series called "How to think about science" that's very good (this was episode 2). You can find them as MP3's on CBC's podcast directory or on iTunes.


I'm a grad student, studying philosophy of science. We have a reading group in the history and philosophy of science at my school that's been reading Daston and Galison's book this semester. It's interesting, but often the argument and even the specific claims they're trying to make are unclear. For example, I was halfway through the book before I understood what one of their key terms was supposed to mean, thanks to a completely misleading initial presentation. And they tend to cherry-pick their evidence.

It gets its most favourable comparisons to Foucault, especially The birth of the clinic, with similar themes of professionalisation and the development of the expert point of view, both historically and in particular individuals. And, like Foucault, I think Objectivity is best read either by non-academics (who will read for some general impressions, and not get mired in the details) or specialists in that particular approach to history and philosophy of science (who won't be left, like I was, wondering what just their thesis is supposed to be).