In the summer of 2012, a group of FSU HPS students had the unique opportunity to spend a week in Chicago under the direction of Michael Ruse as part of a class on museums and science. We visited the Field Museum, the Museum of Science and Industry, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Art Institute. We wanted to know, among other things, how these institutions presented science to the public, whether or not they engaged in active research, how they conceived of the domain of science, and how they incorporated internal and external values into science.
In addition to gaining first-hand experience of the institutions themselves, we also had the privilege of meeting with a wide variety of experts to discuss both their research and ours. We met with four researchers, three external professors, and one wonderfully gracious collections manager-cum-tour guide, in addition to enjoying the crucial guidance of our very own expert in the history and philosophy of science, Michael Ruse.
Of course, one of the many benefits of taking a trip to Chicago is seeing all of the attractions the city has to offer. Whatever time was not spent researching directly was spent traipsing through the streets of the city, searching out iconic landmarks, craning our necks upwards to marvel at the architecture, getting lost amidst the hustle, and generally trying to absorb through osmosis the energy of big city life.
Once back in Florida, we spent the ensuing weeks working on research papers drawing out in more detail some of the lessons we learned from the trip. One of us recently presented her paper at a graduate student talk and was met with universal praise. The trip was a resounding success on all fronts, and we hope to pursue similar opportunities in the future.
See our papers page to learn more about the lessons we took home with us. (under construction)