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Climat et temps : la science comme culture publique

Climate and Weather: Science as Public Culture

Communication scientifique et son histoire - III

Scientific Communication and its History – III

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Publié le lundi 30 juillet 2012 par Elsa Zotian

Résumé

Climate and weather provide a particularly rich and challenging case study to complete the conference series. The climate sciences are characterised by complexity: in their professional networks; their conceptual models; and the logistics of their large-scale data and computing needs. Yet few modern scientific disciplines attract the same level of public engagement, in both everyday life and passionate debate on the future of the planet. Moreover, their status at the intersection of policy, scientific controversy and the public sphere is not a recent development: the same issues and fault lines ran through meteorology from the 18th-century onwards.

Annonce

Presentation

This is the third conference in a series devoted to historical and contemporary perspectives on the communication of science and technology.

Climate and weather provide a particularly rich and challenging case study to complete the conference series. The climate sciences are characterised by complexity: in their professional networks; their conceptual models; and the logistics of their large-scale data and computing needs. Yet few modern scientific disciplines attract the same level of public engagement, in both everyday life and passionate debate on the future of the planet. Moreover, their status at the intersection of policy, scientific controversy and the public sphere is not a recent development: the same issues and fault lines ran through meteorology from the 18th-century onwards.

Shifting interests within the history of science and the development of environmental history have greatly expanded the field in recent years. The conference will provide an opportunity to reflect on these historiographical developments via a specific focus on the communication of weather and climate from the 18th to the 21st centuries. Papers are invited to address three themes in particular:
  • Commodification of meteorological knowledge

The recent period has been rich in new connections between meteorology and the market: weather derivatives and weather insurances to manage the ‘cost’ of weather, as well as wind mapping for the installation of wind farms and wind modelling for energy trading, among other things. Can we trace a long history of the nexus between meteorology and the economy broadly conceived? For instance: the study of price cycles, the anticipation of harvests, agricultural insurance for storms and gales, weather forecast for maritime companies, the selling of meteorological instruments, calendars and almanacs, the climate as a commodity in the context of the rise of tourism practices.
  • Media

The diversity and transformation of means to represent and present weather, from the central aggregation of dispersed data in numerical tables to innovative cartographical strategies, and from new broadcast media such as radio and television to the use of museums as venues for public communication, are key features. Special attention could be paid here to the public controversies raised by the gap between demands for reliable prediction (weather forecasts, climate simulations) and uncertainties in data and models.
  • Historicizing climate history

In relation to climate change, the history of climate and weather events is receiving increasing attention. However, the practices of collecting and assessing data concerning extreme seasons, meteorological disasters and atmospheric parameters (temperature, rainfall etc.) has a long history. These practices were widespread in the 18th century within the scholarly tradition of “chronology” and in the community of natural philosophy, and from the early 19th century onwards among historians, orientalists, natural historians and practitioners of the new discipline of ‘climatology’. The conference will explore this long-term history of weather and climate reconstruction and history. Special attention will be paid to the construction of thermometric memory: in addition to the new media of registration, how was an instrumental regime created to assure the continuity of thermometric measures? What kind of architectural settings, gestural knowledge and instrumental protection allowed the comparability of measurement across time? How has public engagement with climate history developed and been negotiated?

To submit

  • Offers of papers should include a title and an abstract of up to 300 words, and be sent to Thomas Le Roux (thomas.leroux@history.ox.ac.uk)

by 15 September 2012.

  • The programme will be announced at the beginning of October 2012.
  • Funding for travel and accommodation will be available, in particular for doctoral students.
  • The conference will last from Monday 7th, evening – with a reception at the Museum of the History of Science including a private view of the exhibition “Atmospheres: Investigating the Weather from Aristotle to Ozone”– to Wednesday 9th, beginning of the afternoon.
Organised by the Maison Française d’Oxford, in collaboration with the Museum of the History of Science, and with the support of the French Embassy, London.

Organising and Scientific Committee

  • Pietro Corsi, Oxford University
  • Jean-Baptiste Fressoz, Imperial College, London
  • Robert Fox, Oxford University
  • Stephen Johnston, Museum of the History of Science, Oxford
  • Muriel Le Roux, ENS/IHMC, Paris – Maison Française d’Oxford
  • Thomas Le Roux, Maison Française d’Oxford
  • Fabien Locher, CRH (CNRS/EHESS), Paris
  • John Perkins, Oxford Brookes University
  • Viviane Quirke, Oxford Brookes University

Lieux

  • Maison Française d'Oxford, 2-10 Norham Road
    Oxford, Grande-Bretagne

Dates

  • samedi 15 septembre 2012

Mots-clés

  • science, communication, climat, temps, culture publique

Contacts

  • Thomas Le Roux
    courriel : oekoomeo [at] gmail [dot] com

URLS de référence

Source de l'information

  • Thomas Le Roux
    courriel : oekoomeo [at] gmail [dot] com

Pour citer cette annonce

« Climat et temps : la science comme culture publique », Appel à contribution, Calenda, Publié le lundi 30 juillet 2012, http://calenda.org/209324