Held in conjunction with Sydney Centre for the Foundations of Science

The HPS Research Seminar Series runs on selected Mondays during Semester time.

Refreshments are provided in the HPS Common Room, Level 3 Carslaw Building from 4.30pm before the Seminar.

All Welcome. No Booking Required. Free

Research Seminar Series - Semester 1, 2016
Date Venue Speaker Topic
Feb 29th

CCANSEA Meeting Room

Madsen Building

Professor Ofer Gal

University of Sydney

'8 Comments on Interpretation.’


I am going to discuss some basic rules-of-thumb about the interpretation of texts in the history of science and philosophy, with particular attention to the early modern period, from which my examples will come.


March 7th

CCANSEA Meeting Room


Madsen Building

 Prof Robin Hendry

Durham University

United Kingdom.

I tentatively explore the historical evidence for a bold claim: that theories of molecular structure have, since the 1860s, developed through a series of conservative extensions, despite some apparently radical theoretical and conceptual change during this time. A conservative extension of a theory is one where its inferential content before the extension (i.e. that which determines its explanatory and predictive power) is a proper subset of its inferential content afterwards. This will happen when a theory is extended or reinterpreted so that inferences can be made concerning phenomena about which no inferences were previously made.             

 March 21st

CCANSEA Meeting Room


Madsen Building

 Prof Sarah Ferber

University of Wollongong






NEWS 2015

2015 NSW Premier’s Award for General History

It gives us great pleasure to announce that HPS Honorary Professor Warwick Anderson and Ian R Mackay have won the 2015 NSW Premier’s Award for General History for ‘Intolerant Bodies: A Short History of Autoimmunity’
Previous winners include Inga Clendinnen, Richard Bosworth and Chris Clark (now Regius Professor of History at Cambridge).

Warwick Anderson is now the only historian to have won this award twice (previously in 2009 for The Collectors of Lost Souls).

Congratulations to Warwick Anderson and Ian R Mackay!


The Journal of the History of Ideas is pleased to announce the winner of the Selma V. Forkosch Prize for the best article published in the Journal of the History of Ideas each year.

The winners for 2010 are Ofer Gal and Raz Chen-Morris, for "Baroque Optics and the Disappearance of the Observer: From Kepler's Optics to Descartes' Doubt," Volume 71, Number 2, pages 191-217.


2014 Sydney Winter International Graduate School (SWIGS)

2014 SWIGS
2014 SWIGS

The first History and Philosophy of Science (HPS) Sydney Winter International Graduate School (SWIGS) welcomed 12 local and international graduate students to its inaugural program last week.

The week-long initiative saw students from as far afield as Cambridge, Columbia, Brown and Princeton participating in an advanced seminar tutored by visiting convener Professor Anthony Grafton from Princeton University and University of Sydney Associate Professor Ofer Gal

The theme of the seminar - Representation and Causation in Early Modern Science - explored some of the reflections and embedded assumptions about the structures and functions of representation in epistemology, metaphysics, politics and natural philosophy.

"The first SWIGS program has been a great success," Associate Professor Gal said.

"It was a fantastic opportunity to showcase the University's commitment to first class scholarship, in which research and teaching are inseparable, and it demonstrated again that the best institutions in the world will gladly pay for their students and scholars to study with us."

The Faculty of Science plans to build on the success of this year's program, making SWIGS an annual event in the international HPS field, with changing themes and conveners.

Through such programs, the University offers more opportunities for the brightest students from around the globe to experience world-class research and teaching excellence.



Congratulations to Professor Warwick Anderson, who has just been awarded a Laureate Fellowship! This is a huge win for history of medicine and Science studies.

Professor Anderson’s Laureate project ‘Southern racial conceptions: comparative histories and contemporary legacies’ aims to reveal intense scientific debate about what it meant to be human in the southern hemisphere during the twentieth century, placing Australian racial thought in a new context. Through comparative study, it shows the distinctive character and scope of racial ideas in southern settler societies, and assesses their global impact.The Australian reported on the awards in an article within the Higher Education section entitled “Fellowships reward shining stars” The Australian. Further information can be found on the ARC.


24TH AUGUST 2011
Sydney Ideas

Recent delegation from Jiao Tong University, May 2011

The Unit recently hosted a delegation from the History and Philosophy of Science Department of the Jiao Tong University, Shanghai China.

Prof. Weixing, Prof. Guan, Prof. Dong and Prof Zengjian attended a talk presented to the Physics Department by Ass. Professor Ofer Gal, enjoyed a tour of the campus with Hans Pols, attended the regular Monday evening HPS research seminar and traditional pub dinner afterwards. On Tuesday members of the unit and the delegation met at the Darlington Centre which provided an opportunity to share recent research and to discuss future collaborative possibilities between the two universities. On Wednesday the delegation attended a lunch hosted by the Dean of Science.

Jiao Tong University Newsletter


John Forge won the 2010 Eureka Prize for Research in Ethics for his book The Responsible Scientist: A Philosophical Inquiry, which examines the social, moral and legal responsibilities faced by scientists.


Professor Warwick Anderson was awarded the 2010 Ludwick Fleck Prize for this work The Collectors of Lost Souls: Turning Kuru Scientists into Whitemen