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Vol. 40, No. 1, January 2011
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Notes from the Inside

An Appeal to All Members
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A Personal Reflection on Elder Care and Life/Work Issues
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Notes from the Inside
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News
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Member News
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HSS 2011 Annual Meeting: Call for Papers
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Au Revoir Montréal: A Post-Meeting Report
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Why I Go To AAAS
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Situating the "Situating Science Cluster"
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HSS Mentorship
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2009-10 Employment Survey
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Job Opportunities
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Jobs, Conferences, Grants

For this issue of “Notes” I am making an appeal to all of our members. I am asking you to send me examples of how the history of science benefits the societies in which we live. Many of you are aware of the significant cuts facing the history of science at the National Science Foundation. Since the NSF funds many of our members’ projects, functioning as a kind of clearinghouse for research in the history of science, these proposed cuts threaten the vitality of our field. However, as is the case in any time of trouble, we are presented now with an opportunity to demonstrate the value of the history of science, not only to the core mission of NSF, but also to society in general.

Because the HSS is an international organization, with fully a third of its members living outside of the U.S., I am not just interested in how history of science enriches American culture. I would like to see outcomes that demonstrate how our discipline improves science literacy, provides a deeper understanding of scientific practice, and sustains educational efforts throughout the world. I believe, as many of you do, that examples of such outcomes will serve at least three functions: they will show decision makers at the NSF the importance of history of science in fulfilling NSF’s mission; they will convince lawmakers that these efforts at NSF should be supported; and they will demonstrate to the public the value of dollars spent in these endeavors. This latter concern, the focus on the public, has become all the more important given the recent push to involve the citizenry in science funding. Anyone who doubts this need only go to http://republicanwhip.house.gov and read how individuals are encouraged to go to the NSF website; search NSF grants featuring such words as “success, culture, media, games, social norm, lawyers, museum, leisure”; record questionable grants, ones that are “a waste of your taxdollars”; and report the award numbers. For those who live in a world where voting citizens carry the ultimate power of government, it becomes all the more important that individuals’ actions, as Thomas Jefferson envisioned, spring from the well of informed decision, rather than narrow interests. How does the history of science help us achieve that goal? This is not an American challenge—it is a challenge that each of us faces irrespective of where we live.

Thank you for your membership in the HSS.

- Jay Malone, HSS Executive Director

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