European science and tech conference begins in Galway

17 Jun 2010

The Science and Technology in the European Periphery (STEP) conference began today at NUI Galway and will continue until Sunday, 20 June.

The biannual conference, last held in Istanbul, explores the historical character of science, medicine and technology in regions and societies on the periphery of Europe, and will be attended by an international group of historians of science, medicine and technology and features 70 speakers from all over Europe, as well as the USA, Japan and Brazil.

Founded in 1999, Galway is the seventh city to host the conference. This year’s speakers will challenge traditional notions of the periphery of Europe by examining the exchange of scientific information between Europe and the East Indies, and with the Spanish and Portuguese empires in the Americas.

Conference sessions

Conference sessions will focus on Ireland’s scientific heritage; the popularisation of science and technology; the role of women in science; science and religion; the role of universities and of experts; and the dissemination of scientific knowledge. The plenary lecture, entitled ‘Some Historiographical Reflections on the Circulation of Science’, will be delivered by Professor Nicholas Jardine of University of Cambridge.

STEP receives strong support from academics

“In our current climate, with so much emphasis on innovation, knowledge and the smart economy, it’s crucial that we better understand the social and political contexts of science and technology. History of science is still a small discipline in Ireland, so it is great to have a big conference like STEP coming to town. It will put Galway on the map as the centre for the study of history of science and technology in Ireland; and will highlight the importance of collaboration with our European neighbours,” said Dr Aileen Fyfe of the Department of History at NUI Galway.

The conference was also endorsed by Dr Faidra Papanelopoulou from the University of Athens, who said: “STEP celebrates its 10th anniversary in Galway. Valuable contributions from participants around the globe explore the historical character of science, medicine and technology in regions and societies in and beyond Europe. The meeting in Galway focuses on a variety of interesting topics, offering a useful range of perspectives in the field.”

By Deirdre Nolan