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The Lessons of History

Submitter: Jan Noordam
Description: Last week, our institutes were visited by Dr David Baneke (*), who is writing a "History of the Dutch Astronomical Community, starting with Kapteyn (~1900)". This working title will eventually be changed into something like "De Ontdekkers van de Hemel".

The fact that David is a historian allows him to write a balanced history, in which for instance the role of the ingenieurs is given its proper place. He is particularly interested in the sociological processes that made astronomy so successful in the Netherlands(**).

(*) David is a historian, and is writing the book as a postdoc project for NWO. His PhD thesis about "Synthetic Thinking", written as a member of the Descartes Centre for the History and Philosophy of Science, was awarded the prestigious gold medal of the Teylers Foundation. It discusses the role of scientists and ingenieurs in the public debate during the first half of the 20th century.
(**) Apart from the manifest genius of Dutch astronomers, of course.
Copyright: Madroon Community Consultants (MCC)
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