By Robert Naylor, Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, University of Manchester
In the summer of 2019, when the idea of doing a PhD during a global pandemic was furthest from my mind, I had the pleasure of attending the Meteorological Technology World Expo in Geneva, Switzerland. It was a dynamic, somewhat chaotic event that reflected a rapidly growing market for weather products. There were companies that manufactured weather balloons, rain gauges, anemometers, aluminium masts, instrument shelters, radars, lidars, and all other kinds of gadgets. Other companies sold services, offering solutions in, for example, instrument installation, environmental measuring, data management, and calibration. Some simply sold information, often drawing from their existing monitoring networks; ‘only well-informed decision makers can face these challenges [climate change, environmental protection, conscious management of natural resources] and form adequate strategies to overcome them’ claimed one advertisement.[i] With around 150 companies attending in its eighth year, the expo was a showcase of a relatively young industry that was on the up.
One of the first things Fiona and I wanted do as new Co-Presidents was to develop a channel of communication between members that was less fleeting than an email announcement, but not as formal as a journal article.
Through conversations with past Presidents we learned that when History of Meteorology was first launched, there was an intention that it would carry not just fully-fledged research articles, but also shorter pieces from members documenting things like new archival finds, conference reports, and short responses to recently published articles.
Online Conference, September 15, 2021, 8:50-16:30 UTC
As part of the celebrations for the 20th anniversary of the International Commission for the History of Meteorology we hosted an online conference over two separate time zone sessions on Wednesday 15 September 2021.
The International Commission for the History of Meteorology was founded in 2001 at the 21st International Congress of History of Science in Mexico City. Since then, we have supported numerous workshops and events, and sponsored major meetings in Polling, Germany in 2004; Beijing, China in 2005; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2008 and 2017; Waterville, Maine, USA and Budapest, Hungary in 2009; Manchester, England in 2013; and Prague, Czech Republic (Online) in July 2021.
To commemorate our 20th anniversary, member Robert Naylor has been recording interviews with those involved in various roles with ICHM over the last two decades. Please click below to watch the wonderful video he has created to commemorate our anniversary!
Please do share the video with any friends, colleagues or other networks who may be interested in learning more about the work of ICHM. If you’re sharing on social media, you may prefer to use this shorter version.
You can find out more information about the commemorative online conference on the “Past, Present, and Future of the History of Meteorology” that we’re hosting on 15 Sept 2021, here. The call for papers closes on July 15, 2021.
As this is my final year as President of ICHM, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support over the last 4 years. We’ll be announcing all of the new Officers soon, so keep any eye on your inboxes.
2021 marks the 20th anniversary of the International Commission for the History of Meteorology (ICHM) within the International Union of History and Philosophy of Science and Technology. In celebration, ICHM will be holding an online conference reflecting on our discipline as a whole.
The ICHM was founded in 2001 at the 21st International Congress of History of Science in Mexico City. Since then, it has sponsored large specialty meetings in Polling, Germany in 2004; Beijing, China in 2005; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2008 and 2017; Waterville, Maine, USA and Budapest, Hungary in 2009; Manchester, England in 2013; and Prague, Czech Republic, scheduled for 2021.
In part thanks to the commission, the history of meteorology has expanded its remit considerably, incorporating the work of academics from a wide range of institutional and disciplinary backgrounds. Echoing this development, and as reflected in the pages of ICHM’s journal History of Meteorology, the topics of the history of meteorology have become ever more diverse, including new turns towards colonial and applied meteorology. This anniversary conference provides an occasion to take stock and turn our gaze inward.
We welcome papers exploring past and current trajectories of the history of meteorology, with an emphasis on how our discipline can develop in the future. These could include reflections on our institutional shaping, pedagogical development, research turns, new initiatives, and interactions with the history of science, technology, and medicine as a whole and with the atmospheric humanities, broadly defined. As well as being a critical academic conference, this event will also be a celebration of ICHM. It will bring our community together, in scholarship and friendship, at a time when a physical meeting is difficult, connecting early career scholars with more established researchers in the field and ensuring the history of meteorology’s bright future.
Deadline for abstracts (250 words): July 15, 2021
Format: 15-minute presentation followed by 15-minutes of discussion.
Registration information for non-presenting participants will be circulated at a later date.
We welcome pre-recorded contributions if you are unable to attend live due to different time zones, and we are also willing to work with you to accommodate for your sleep schedule (e.g. putting your paper towards the end of the conference if you are on the US west coast).
Separate to the conference, we are also interested in compiling and perhaps circulating personal stories from ICHM’s history, whether it involved beer gardens in Polling, samba dancing in Rio, or lobster in Maine.
Report written by Zhenghong Chen, China Representative for ICHM
The Fourth National Conference on the History of Meteorological Science and Technology was held in Beijing on 8-9 November 2019. The event was hosted by the Committee on the History of Meteorological Science and Technology of the Chinese Society for the History of Science and Technology and Department of Science and Technology, and by the Climate Change Section of China Meteorological Administration. The conference was organized by the China Meteorological Administration Training Center (CMATC), and co-hosted by the Institute of Atmospheric Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences at Nanjing University, by the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences of Peking University, and by the Institute of Science and Technology History of Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology. The main theme of the conference was “the enlightenment and history of meteorological developments for the 70th anniversary of the people’s Republic of China”.
The Fifth International Workshop on Science, Philosophy and Literature
Hermoupolis, Syros Island, Greece 14-16 July 2020
THIS WORKSHOP HAS BEEN POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
The Atmospheric Humanities is a fast-emerging field of scholarship seeking to understand socio-cultural dimensions of atmospheric experience, knowledge and practice. Examining atmospheric agency in its historical and contemporary manifestations, atmospheric humanities explore the atmosphere as a site of diverse cultural appropriations of air’s modalities and their reproduction in practices of aerial and climatological citizenship. This foundational workshop aims to initiate and foster discussions on how atmospheric themes, memes, and objects emerge, spread and travel across artistic and academic communities. We especially welcome contributions from scholars whose work spans disciplines, including, but not limited to, literary and media studies, history of science, environmental history, aesthetics, visual arts, architecture, phenomenology, and social sciences.
The changing representation(s) of the atmosphere in art and popular media, both contemporary and historical.
Interfaces and interactions between scientific understanding(s) of the atmosphere and other ways of knowing or experiencing the atmosphere (e.g. political, indigenous, religious, philosophical, aesthetic).
Explorations of space and scale in relation to human understanding of the atmosphere and related concepts such as weather and climate.
The material culture of the atmosphere, including technologies used to measure, assess, represent and manipulate the atmosphere.
The workshop is organized by the International Commission of Science and Literature and the International Commission on History of Meteorology. The Commissions will provide a limited travel support to early career scholars, who should send their application letter, presentation abstract and CV to Dr Alexander Hall at firstname.lastname@example.org and George N. Vlahakis at email@example.com
Organizing committee: Vladimir Jankovic (University of Manchester), George N. Vlahakis (Hellenic Open University), Madalina Diaconu (University of Vienna), Alexander Hall (University of Birmingham), James R. Fleming (Colby College), John Holmes (University of Birmingham), and Kostas Tampakis (National Hellenic Research Foundation).
Fiona Williamson, Jim Fleming, and Ruth Morgan are organising a new online working group titled: Under Tropical Skies: Science, Technology, and Society. The working group is hosted by the Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine (CHSTM).
The aim is to have 6-8 meetings per year across 2020. Each group will feature a speaker, presenting their current and latest research, with discussion. It is fully online so anyone can participate from anywhere in the world. The time slots will be Wednesday 8am (Philadelphia time), on various dates to be arranged.
Please feel free to sign up as a member and to participate in this group, or contact Fiona Williamson firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to chair a seminar and present a paper.