I am a big fan of the history of science—not because it’s helped me do better science (though some of my research, including that on “Haldane’s Rule,” derived from papers that were largely forgotten). I think that it’s interesting to understand the history of one’s discipline, but not essential for practicing good science.
Alejandra Dubcovsky, an assistant professor of history at Yale, thinks that it’s essential for scientists to study history (she doesn’t specify what kind of history, or if she means the history of science), for another reason: because it gives us scientists “a sensitivity that only the humanities can teach.”
Or so she maintains in a new piece at The Chronicle of Higher Education, “To Understand Science, Study History.”
Like the reader who sent me the link, Dubcovsky seems not only defensive about her discipline, but stretching a bit to make her point. To show…
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