CONTACT: MARY GERAGHTY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0011; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: March 29, 1999
Leading science studies scholar to visit UI to celebrate LSA 50th anniversary
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Literature, Science and the Arts
(LSA) Program will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a weeklong visit by
a distinguished interdisciplinary scholar, Steven Shapin, a professor of sociology,
history, and science studies at the University of California at San Diego.
Shapin will be an Ida Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor and will give
two public lectures as well as meet with students and faculty during the week
of April 5.
Jon Ringen, chair of the LSA Program, said he is excited about Shapin's visit
because he is a scholar whose work "exemplifies the bridge between humanities
and the sciences." That type of connection has been the foundation for the
LSA interdisciplinary curriculum since it was first offered at the UI in the
1948-49 academic year.
"It's very appropriate for us to mark this occasion of our 50th anniversary
with a visit from a leading scholar whose work embodies the core of the LSA
mission," Ringen said. "This is a wonderful opportunity for our students to
see how their interdisciplinary studies fit into the larger body of research
Shapin is a leading social historian of the scientific revolution and one
of the most influential and widely respected figures in the interdisciplinary
field of science studies. He has written that "scientists are the most effective
critics of science," but defends critical study of the development and use
of science as an essential part of liberal education for scientists and non-scientists
One of the issues that has recently moved to the forefront of science studies
is the relationship between science/technology and the cultures in which it
is present. Shapin will present two public lectures related to this topic.
On April 6, at 8 p.m. Shapin will give a lecture titled "Descartes the Doctor:
Rationalism and Its Therapies," in which he will discuss how Decartes' 17th
century views about science and medical practice might shed light on improving
the practice of contemporary medicine. This presentation will take place in
Lecture Room 1 Van Allen Hall.
Shapin's second public lecture, Friday, April 9, at 4 p.m. will detail the
role that the public's understanding of science played in a 10-year scientific
misconduct case that ended in the acquittal of Therazi Imanishi-Kari on charges
arising from a paper co-authored with renowned scientist David Baltimore.
"Molecular Morals: Sociological Reflections on the Baltimore Case," will take
place in Room 201 Biology Building.
On Wednesday, April 7 Shapin will lead a discussion of his paper "How to
be Anti-Scientific," which details his reflections on the science wars, at
7:30 p.m. in Brewery Square, 123 N. Linn Street.
All lectures and discussions are free and open to the public. For further
information about these program or other events on Shapin's itinerary for
the week, contact the LSA program office at (319) 335-0327 or check the LSA
Shapin's visit to the UI is supported by the Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished
Visiting Professorships Program, which brings outstanding scholars to the
UI campus for residencies ranging from a few days to an entire academic year.
A native of Vinton, Beam willed her farm to the UI in 1977. Her only university
connection was a relative who graduated from the College of Medicine. Proceeds
from the sale of the farm were used to establish the visiting professorships
program in her name. Since 1977, hundreds of eminent scholars and scientists
have visited the UI campus to give public lectures and to meet with students