Physical Sciences Forum (PSF) established at the History of Science Society (HSS)

By Catherine Westfall

Physical Sciences Forum Chair Catherine Westfall
Physical Sciences Forum Chair Catherine Westfall.
The Physical Sciences Forum (PSF) was recently formed as part of the History of Science Society. The general aim of the PSF is to further scholarship in the history of the physical sciences as broadly understood, including but not limited to: physics; earth, space, and atmospheric science; astronomy; and materials science. It will help forge a more coherent community for those with a core specialty in these sub-fields with a particular emphasis on developing the connections linking these sub-fields and exploring their resonance with wider scholarship.

The PSF met for the first time at the November 2012 HSS meeting in San Diego. Several FHP members were instrumental in seeing the PSF come to life. Catherine Westfall, who was elected chair, and Don Howard helped organize the group, and Peter Pesic was an enthusiastic attendee who helped spread the word about the new group. Westfall appointed a steering committee that includes two other FHP friends — the head of AIP’s Center for the History of Physics, Greg Good, and University of Minnesota graduate student Joe Martin, who presented a paper at the Pais Prize session at the 2012 April meeting and organized a panel session at the 2013 March meeting.

At the meeting those assembled laid out three plans for 2013, and identified committees to implement each plan. Greg Good is spearheading the effort for an annual meeting, the first to be held in spring 2013, that will provide an additional forum for early career scholars on the history of the physical sciences. The PSF also plans to host a session at the November 2013 History of Science Society meeting in Boston. Don Howard, Suman Seth, and Amy Fisher will plan this session. The meeting will also feature a distinguished lecture PSF-sponsored by PSF given by Peter Galison. David Kaiser arranged the lecture, with encouragement from Seth and Westfall. For more information on PSF, contact Catherine Westfall,

Complementing the Forum will be a new Humanities and Social Sciences Net (H-Net) list, which will serve as a communication channel providing announcements, calls for papers, book reviews, and job postings in addition to promoting discussion about current research and the state of the field. For further information on H-Net, contact Joe Martin,

The articles in this issue represent the views of their authors and are not necessarily those of the Forum or APS.