top of page

Episode 0.5 Transcript - Introduction

Welcome to The HPS Podcast! Before we dive into the history and philosophy of science interviews we’ve all been waiting for, our host Samara Greenwood takes us through the backstory to the podcast. Samara discusses what HPS is all about, the aims of the podcast, as well as a bit about the history of the discipline. We then meet the rest of the podcast crew, Fiona Fidler and Indigo Keel, before learning more about the upcoming season.

Samara Greenwood:

Hello and welcome to the HPS Podcast. Or as one friend has dubbed it "Nerd Hour". We're so glad you can join us. This first episode is a short introduction to who we are and what the podcast is all about. For those who haven't already picked it up, HPS stands for the History and Philosophy of Science. It is an academic discipline that stretches back to the early 20th century. While histories of science were being written well before then, and people had long been philosophising about what science is and how science works, HPS only came together as a field of study taught in universities from around the 1940s. Melbourne Uni was in fact one of the very first places in the world to form a dedicated programme launching in 1946. While our field has a longish history, it still very much seems below the radar for many people. This is a pity as anyone with even a glancing knowledge of HPS will tell you what a hidden gem it really is the unique way we approach our research, as well as the exciting insights we have into science, technology, medicine, and the connections between knowledge making and society are definitely worth knowing more about. So this is where our podcast comes in. Our main aim is to make the wonderful world of HPS more accessible to a broader audience. For our first season, this means asking HPS scholars - young and old, established and emerging - about topics from HPS they believe would be of interest and value to those outside the discipline, as well as those working within it. We know, for example, there are many practising scientists who are interested in the strange things HPS does. While scientists study the natural world, we study the scientists!

Every time I meet a new scientist, I'm always so thrilled to see how excited they get about our work, even as I'm grilling them about their work and what they do and how they do it. But we also know it's not just scientists that want to know more about HPS. Medicine, technology, science and knowledge making more generally are such a large part of modern life. Who wouldn't want to know more about how the sciences have developed, how they work today, and how the vision of science uncovered through HPS is far more complex, messy, and interesting than the classic image we most likely grew up with? Speaking of messy, HPS itself is not just one thing. There are several fields that either come under the banner of HPS or are closely aligned. Most obviously, we have both history of science and philosophy of science, and then there's those who do integrated history and philosophy of science like me. But we also include the sociology of science, which typically today comes under the banner of STS or science and technology studies. Then the newest member of our gang is Meta Science, which focuses on analysing and improving the way science is done today. We'll be covering aspects of all these fields in the podcast. So who are we? The core team is myself, Samara Greenwood, a PhD candidate in HPS, my co-producer, Indigo Keel, an honour student in HPS, and the person who initially dreamt up the idea for the podcast, Professor Fiona Fidler, head of the HPS programme here at Melbourne University. Later in the season, Fiona will be joining me to talk more about all things meta science. I will be your host for the first season, as well as doing much of the editing. So if there are audio issues, I'm the one to blame. As I said, I'm a third year PhD candidate in HPS and for those that are interested, my thesis looks at what is called the problem of context. In HPS, this involves researching the various ways changes in large scale societal contexts can come to shape change in science. For example, in one of my case studies, I examine how the rise of second wave feminism in the 1960s, particularly in the USA, came to impact the scientific study of apes and monkeys in the wild from the early 1970s. Like most of us in HPS, I ended up here in a roundabout way, although perhaps my story is even more unusual than most, as I worked as an architect for many years before I somehow managed to slide my way over into this fascinating area. Indigo, on the other hand, is our web maestro and social media star. She also puts together the show notes and transcripts and helps edit the episodes. Indi completed her undergraduate degree with a double major in HPS and linguistics, and is currently researching the history of vitalism in 18th century France. Through the work of Xavier Bichat. Vitalism was a theory of physiology, which posited that living things are not only mechanical, but also depend on a vital life force. Indi and I met through our HPS Social group, HPS Chat, and the podcast would not be happening without her amazing help. To properly introduce you to Indie, I thought I'd ask her a couple of questions.

Samara Greenwood: What do you see the benefits of the podcast being?

Indigo Keel:

I feel like HPS currently isn't as widely known as it should be, and I think learning a little bit about HPS for history, philosophy and for science students is greatly beneficial, and I'd like for them to have an easy access into this field, which can be a bit intimidating to walk into.

Samara Greenwood:

What about you? What do you feel like you are going to get out of working with the podcast?

Indigo Keel:

In addition to it being a great boost on my resume, <laugh>, it's going to be really good to spend more time talking to academics that I maybe haven't had long discussions with before, as well as being able to advertise HPS and the things that we talk about more broadly to other people of the Uni and beyond.

Samara Greenwood:

Is there anything you would like to let our listeners know about you?

Indigo Keel:

I'm a Libra. I like long walks on the beach <laughter>.

Samara Greenwood:

To add to that, what is your connection to HPS? What's your background?

Indigo Keel:

I'm currently doing my honours in HPS, so I'm working with Gerhard Weisenfeld, who I'm sure will make an appearance sometime soon on the podcast. And I'm doing my thesis in medical history in France just after the revolution.

Samara Greenwood:

Fabulous. Thank you so much for talking with us today, Indi

Indigo Keel:

Great to be on the podcast.

Samara Greenwood:

Okay, so now you've met us and know a bit more about HPS. Before I leave you to enjoy our first interview with HPS royalty, Donna Haraway, I wanted to let you know that if your interest in HPS has been piqued and you would like to find out more, do please check out some of the links we've provided in the show notes. Thanks so much for listening, and I'll see you back here next time.

Commentaires


bottom of page