Artificial Cold and International Cooperation in Science from 4 Aug 2008 through 8 Aug 2008
On the 10th of July, 1908, Heike Kamerlingh Onnes wrote history when his
Leiden Physics Laboratory became the first place in the world where Helium was
On the 10th of July, 1908,
wrote history when his Leiden Physics Laboratory became the first place in the
world where Helium was liquefied. A few months later some 5,000 specialists in
the field of artificial cold gathered in Paris
to attend the First International Congress of Refrigeration.
A century later, the LorentzCenter workshop ‘Artificial Cold and
International Cooperation in Science’ aims to bring together
international scholars working on the history of cryogenics, experts on the
history of scientific collaborations and international congresses, historians
who focus on the relationships between science and industry as well as active
scientists to reflect on the various historical dimensions of these events.
Purpose of this week-long workshop is to use the case of cryogenics as a probe
to unravel the complex processes through which pure research on a local scale
is transformed into an international endeavour with technological and
Typical questions that the conference
will address are:
How did academic research on low temperature
science relate to the needs of the refrigeration industry? How and where
did collaboration emerge, what form did it take, and how were public and
private interests balanced? In these regards one may think of patents,
academic consultants, industrial laboratories, academic entrepreneurs, the
status ofindustrial jobs among academics, etc.
How does the situation in low temperature science
compare to other fields with a strong industrial context, e.g.
electrodynamics of organic chemistry?
What was the role of international conferences in
the development of the relationship between cryogenic science and
industry? How international was science around 1900 with regard to
education and careers, societies, conferences, private contacts, journals,
travels, etc. How did political and ideological factors express themselves
in such contacts.
To what extent and in what ways did the
industrial and international context determine the nature and scope of low
How does the current relationship between science
and industry compare to that around 1900? How did new communication
technologies affect the internationalization of science in both 1900 and
more recent times? By contrasting both periods we hope to increase the
awareness of scientist of the historical nature of many seemingly
self-evident practices and that of historians of some subtle changes
around the turn of the nineteenth century, which were to have far reaching
Another important aim of the workshop
‘Artificial Cold and International Cooperation in Science’ is to discuss a
research agenda for the near future at the cross roads of the history of low
temperature science, international cooperation of science and the connections
between science and industry.