States of Secrecy

Scientific secrecy from alchemy to the atomic bomb
A transhistorical conference at Harvard University
April 11, 2009, Science Center 469

Speaker Bios

Mario Biagioli »

Mario Biagioli is professor of history of science at Harvard University who works and teaches on many topics relating to Early Modern science and intellectual property. His many books include Galileo, Courtier: The Practice of Science in the Culture of Absolutism (1993); (editor) The Science Studies Reader (1999); (editor, with Peter Galison), Scientific Authorship: Credit and Intellectual Property in Science (2002), and Galileo's Instruments of Credit: Telescopes, Images, Secrecy (2006). [ website ]

Stephen Hilgartner »

Stephen Hilgartner is Associate Professor and Chair at the Department of Science & Technology Studies at Cornell University. He studies the social dimensions and politics of contemporary and emerging science and technology, especially in the life sciences. His research focuses on situations in which scientific knowledge is implicated in establishing, contesting, and maintaining social order — a theme he has examined in studies of expertise, property formation, risk disputes, and biotechnology. His book on science advice, Science on Stage: Expert Advice as Public Drama, won the 2002 Rachel Carson Prize from the Society for Social Studies of Science. [ website ]

Michael Herzfeld »

Michael Herzfeld is Professor of Anthropology and Curator of European Ethnology in the Peabody Museum at Harvard University. [ website ]

Peter Galison »

Peter Galison is Pellegrino University Professor of the History of Science and of Physics at Harvard University. In 1997 Galison was awarded a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship; in 1998 his book Image and Logic won the Pfizer Award as the best book that year in the History of Science; and in 1999 he received the Max Planck and Humboldt Stiftung Prize. His books include How Experiments End (1987), Einstein's Clocks, Poincaré's Maps (2003), and most recently Objectivity (with L. Daston, 2007). His film on the moral-political debates over the H-bomb, "Ultimate Weapon: The H-bomb Dilemma" (44 minutes, with Pamela Hogan) has been shown frequently on the History Channel and is widely used in courses and seminars in the United States and abroad. Along with his co-director Robb Moss, he has recently finished a film on government secrecy (Secrecy) which screened at the Sundance Film Festival in 2008, winning the Special Jury Award for Documentary Features of the Boston Independent Film Festival and Best Documentary at the Newport Film Festival. [ website ]

Sheila Jasanoff »

Sheila Jasanoff is Pforzheimer Professor of Science and Technology Studies at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She is also affiliated with the Department of the History of Science, member of the Board of Tutors in Environmental Science and Public Policy, and visiting professor at Harvard Law School. Before joining Harvard, she was Professor of Science Policy and Law and founding chair of the Department of Science and Technology Studies at Cornell University. Her longstanding research interests center on the interactions of law, science, and politics in democratic societies. Her books include Controlling Chemicals: The Politics of Regulation in Europe and the United States (1985; with R. Brickman and T. Ilgen), Risk Management and Political Culture (1985), The Fifth Branch: Science Advisers as Policymakers (1990), Learning from Disaster: Risk Management After Bhopal (edited; 1994). She is a co-editor of the Handbook of Science and Technology Studies (1995). Her book Science at the Bar: Law, Science and Technology in America (1995) received the Don K. Price award of the American Political Science Association, Section on Science, Technology, and Environmental Politics, for the best book on science and politics (1998). Her most recent publications include two edited volumes: States of Knowledge: The Co-Production of Science and Social Order (2004) and (with Marybeth Martello) Earthly Politics: Local and Global in Environmental Governance (2004). Her latest book, a comparative study of the politics of biotechnology in Britain, Germany and the United States, entitled Designs on Nature: Science and Democracy in Europe and the United States, was published by Princeton University Press in 2005. [ website ]

Daniel Jütte »

Daniel Jütte is a Ph.D. student at the University of Heidelberg. He studied History and Musicology at the Universities of Zürich and Heidelberg. He graduated from Heidelberg University with an M.A. thesis on the life and works of the 16th century Italian-Jewish alchemist and court engineer Abramo Colorni. Recent peer-reviewed academic publications include articles in the Archiv für Kulturgeschichte, Vierteljahrschrift für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte (VSWG), BIOS, and Historische Anthropologie. His Ph.D. thesis is on Jewish Musicians in Germany and Austria as Forerunners of Acculturation; and the Rise of Anti-Semitic Discourses in Music. A Study in the Social and Cultural History of Music (1750-1900).

Kristie Macrakis »

Kristie Macrakis is Professor of the History of Science and Espionage at Georgia Tech in Atlanta. She received her Ph.D. in the history of science from Harvard University. Her books include: Surviving the Swastika (Oxford, 1993), Science under Socialism (Harvard, 1999), Seduced by Secrets (Cambridge, 2008 [A History Book Club featured selection. Translations include German (Herbig, 2009) and Slovak (IKAR, 2010)] and East German Foreign Intelligence (Routledge, 2009). She is the recipient of numerous awards including grants from the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, the National Science Foundation, the Humboldt Foundation, and Fulbright. For further information see or

Daniel Margocsy »

Daniel Margocsy is a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of History of Science, Harvard University. His current research focuses on early modern natural history and medicine in Northern Europe. His dissertation is titled Commercial Visions: Trading with Representations of Nature in Early Modern ]

Alisha Rankin »

Alisha Rankin is Assistant Professor of History at Tufts University. She received her doctorate from the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University in 2005. Her research interests lie at the intersection of Reformation history, the history of science and medicine, and the history of women, gender, and sexuality. She is currently revising her doctoral thesis for publication in the form of a book entitled Noble Empirics: Gentlewomen and the Art of Healing in Early Modern Germany. [ website ]

Koen Vermeir »

Koen Vermeir teaches at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and works in the field of the history of science and the history of philosophy. His research has focused on seventeenth- and eighteenth-century natural philosophy, wondrous technologies, and magical thought. He has published articles in diverse books and journals, including the British Journal for the History of Science, Intellectual History Review, and Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, and has edited four books in the history of philosophy and aesthetics. [ website ]

Marco Viniegra »

Alex Wellerstein »

Alex Wellerstein is a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of the History of Science, Harvard University. His dissertation, Knowledge and the Bomb, is a history of nuclear secrecy in the United States from the Manhattan Project through the so-called War on Terror. Some of his recent publications have been on the subject of the Manhattan Project patenting program, in which the United States government attempted to gain complete control over the intellectual property of the atomic bomb through the use of secret patent applications. [ website ]