«Microbes were doing things in the lab under [Pasteur’s] experimental skills which they didn’t do before. […] When you get into the science of microbes, or viruses, you get into associations which are part of what people call “society”. […] The next step in science communication is not to talk about rationality but to talk about these beings. And if you take bacteria you will develop the whole science and the whole society almost simultaneously»
B. Latour, extracts from an interview at Scienceground, Festivaletteratura, September 2018
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We are happy to announce that Scienceground 1.5 is going to take place at Festivaletteratura in Mantova, Italy, September 4th – 8th (the complete program of the Festival – in Italian –can be downloaded here.… Read the rest
Last month we launched our online book club, with the proposal of reading and discussing Semmelweis by L.-F. Céline. Now it’s time to start the discussion! It will be conducted in a mix of Italian and English language in the comment section of this post.
A similar live discussion will be conducted at the next Festivaletteratura in Mantova, September 2019. The material collected here will be precious. If in the long summer days you don’t know what to make of the lazy afternoon hours, consider helping us editing the discussion into a printable document for later reference…
«I was aware of many facts for which I had no explanation. Delivery with prolonged dilation almost inevitably led to death. Patients who delivered prematurely or on the street almost never became ill, and this contradicted my conviction that the deaths were due to endemic causes. The disease appeared sequentially among patients in the first clinic. Patients in the second clinic were healthier, although individuals working there were no more skillful or conscientious in their duties. The disrespect displayed by the employees toward the personnel of the first clinic made me so miserable that life seemed worthless. Everything was in question; everything seemed inexplicable; everything was doubtful. Only the large number of deaths was an unquestionable reality.»
Ignaz Semmelweis, The Etiology, Concept and Prophylaxis Of Childbed Fever 1
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We are preparing a rich and varied program of Scienceground-ish activities at the coming edition of Festivaletteratura, Mantova September 4-8, which was officially presented last Thursday in a public meeting in Mantova.… Read the rest
«One of the most neglected works of Louis-Ferdinand Celine is his first published one […] Semmelweis is by no means what one would expect today from a medical thesis. First of all, it is a purely biographical work that does not address Semmelweis’s theories from a medical or scientific standpoint.»
Ifri, Pascal A., A Reconsideration of Celine’s Semmelweis, from Questia
If you receive this aperiodic newsletter it means you’re still friend with someone who in the last two years worked hard to create Scienceground, a space-time for open conversations on science, technology, and society. You can hear its first wails here. At the very beginning we named ourselves “small temporary scientific community”. Yet we are still around, and growing in number… therefore we now like to call our community ExTemporanea.
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So, without further ado: look for it in your own bookshelf. Compulse your best friends’ bookshelf. Ask them to ask their best friends if they own it. If that doesn’t work, borrow it at the nearest public library. If they lended it out already, stroll to your favourite bookshop and ask the librarian.… Read the rest
«That the purified language of science, or even the richer purified language of literature should ever be adequate to the givenness of the world and of our experience is in the very nature of things, impossible. Cheerfully accepting the fact, let us advance together, men of letters and men of science, further and further into the every-expanding regions of the unknown.»
Aldous Huxley, Literature and Science
If you receive this mail it means you’re friend with someone who in the past two years worked hard to create Scienceground, a space for open conversation on science, technology, and society.
If you feel you don’t belong here, our apologies: at the bottom of this email you can find a button to unsubscribe. But please let us know why you decided to leave.
The first official release of Scienceground came to life in September 2018 at Festivaletteratura, the most important literature festival in Italy. Festivaletteratura takes place in Mantova yearly around the second weekend of September, and it features a rich and varied program – check it out!
Why science at a literature festival? Here is the easy answer. When scientists meet, they communicate the results of their scientific research by word-of-mouth: much like fairy tales are told.… Read the rest
As part of the activities organized around the visit of Gyorgy Scrinis, together with Centro di Salute Internazionale and Dipartimento di Storia Culture e Civiltà we have organized this focus group on corporate influence on the public health agenda.
December 6, 3:30 pm – Aula Capitani – Department of History and Cultures
BIG FOOD. CORPORATE INFLUENCE ON THE PUBLIC HEALTH AGENDA
The incidence of nutrition-related disorders such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension and cardiopathies is on the rise, as well as the concerns about the impact of ultra-processed food on our health. The multinational corporations of food industry, collectively known as Big Food, have answered to these concerns by shifting the attention from the quality of the food to the individual nutrients, identified as both the problem to solve and the answer to nutrition-related disorders. Ultimately, this strategy serves the purpose to shift the attention from the structural causes of the nutrition-related pathologies, including the role of Big Food itself in creating an unhealthy food environment via the production of ultra-processed and packaged food. In parallel, food corporations have used various strategies to influence the political and governance processes in order to create and maintain a regulatory environment that is favourable to their practices and the commercialization of their products.… Read the rest
“Science […] nowadays is beset by raids on its epistemological grounding from academia, a backlash from religion, an attack on its professionalism from free-market ideology, and scorn from those who think a simple life without technology is the only salvation for the human race. […] But science […] has the potential to provide an object lesson in how to make good judgments in a society beset by technological dilemmas. For more than three hundred years the old-fashioned values of science have seeped into Western societies like the air we breathe. Imagine a society without any place at all for the cultural authority of science. It would have surrendered all responsibility to politics, market forces, or competing modes of revelation, and it would be a dystopia—at least as anyone who prefers thinking things through to force would see it.
Harry Collins, Science as a Reflection of Society.
For the whole duration of Festivaletteratura a
temporary research group composed of university students, Ph.D.
candidates, university and industry researchers will occupy the
deconsecrated church of Santa Maria della Vittoria and give life to SCIENCEGROUND. In part a playground where you can play with probability, statistics and mathematical logic and in part a meeting point where you can understand the background and the dilemmas of those who do research, or study to become researchers.… Read the rest