President’s Semi-Annual Report

Jim Griesemer, President

From the Lame-Duck’s Chair

I can’t believe how fast the time has gone! My presidency is nearly over. I am really looking forward to meeting many of you in Brisbane. I now understand what past Presidents of our society must have felt at this point in their tenure. There are so many things I wanted to do and haven’t yet accomplished. I am pleased with our move to an all electronic newsletter and on-line membership renewal and voting for officers (see below). My President’s Corner blog was a good idea, but department chair duties at home prevented me from keeping it as up-to-date as is needed to make a viable blog. Perhaps I’ll maintain it as a Past-President’s Corner and encourage President-Elect Ana Barahona to consider blogging as well. You can still find it linked from, which will redirect you to my site: .

I am grateful to Gar Allen (Past President) and Mike Dietrich (Past Past President) for their continued advice and encouragement. With their help, we managed the transition from the very long-serving Treasurer, Keith Benson, and Secretary, Chris Young, without too many hitches. Keith’s and Chris’s outstanding service to the Society left very large shoes to fill and I am very happy to say that Lisa Gannett and Roberta Millstein took on their tasks earnestly, diligently, and with humor and skill. It has been a pleasure serving with them and the other members of the Executive Committee: President-Elect Ana Barahona and Brisbane Program Co-Chairs, Marsha Richmond and Manfred Laubichler, as well as with the many Committee Chairs — Paul Griffiths and Rachel Ankeny (Local Arrangements), Pam Henson (Archivist), John Lynch (Education), Paul Griffiths (Membership Development), Gar Allen (Nominations), Chris Young (Off-Year Workshops), Ana Barahona (Operations, Site Selection), Tara Abraham (Marjorie Grene Prize), Carl Craver (Publications), Ellen Clarke and Don Goodman-Wilson (Student Advisory), Lisa Gannett (Travel Support), Frédéric Bouchard (Webmaster), and Roberta Millstein (Email List Manager) — and also with Council members — John Dupré, Jean Gayon, Betty Smocovitis, Werner Callebaut, Sandra Mitchell, Edna Suarez, Ellen Clarke, and Don Goodman-Wilson.

I’m also very pleased that interest in ISHPSSB remains high across the globe and that, in the face of a world-wide recession our finances are holding up well. On my agenda when I became President at Exeter were to increase representation from social scientists and to increase discussion of ways to enter the world of electronic publishing. Those items are still very important and my goals on those items have gone largely unmet since Exeter. I hope that as Past President (and Chair emeritus of my department at home!), I will finally find the time to pursue these goals more fully.

Brisbane 2009

I am happy to report that arrangements for the 2009 meeting in Brisbane, Australia, are moving along extremely well, thanks to the activity of the Program and Local Arrangements Committees. Marsha Richmond and Manfred Laubichler, along with the rest of the Program Committee (Rachel Ankeny, Gillian Barker, Mark Borrello, Mathias Brochhausen, Werner Callebaut, Elihu Gerson, John Lynch, Judy Johns Schloegel, and Ana Soto) have worked hard to put together another outstanding program. They report that only a very few papers falling clearly outside the topic areas encompassed by ISHPSSB were rejected. Meanwhile, Paul Griffiths and the Local Arrangements Team at the University of Sydney, Mark Colyvan, Rodney Taveira, Warwick Anderson, and Rachel Ankeny (University of Adelaide), are finalizing all of the local arrangements. The meeting dates are Sunday, July 12 until Thursday, July 16. We are all looking forward to what promises to be another outstanding meeting.

Brisbane Meeting Registration and Membership Renewal

It is important for all ISHPSSB members to be sure to renew your membership in the Society and also register for the Brisbane meeting if you plan to attend. Please remember that if you are presenting a paper you must register for the meeting by May 15. A 3-day grace period has been granted for graduate students who plan to register for Brisbane so that they can hopefully hear good news about funding of their travel before registering. So, for graduate student participants, on-time registration will extend to Monday, May 18.

On-line membership renewal is working very well. Members can join ISHPSSB or renew their memberships at the web page: and pay by credit card or PayPal. Conference registration for ISHPSSB 2009 – Brisbane is also available through the site. I just registered myself and it works very smoothly. Don’t forget to contribute to the graduate student travel fund if you are able! Besides providing modern database tools to manage our membership list, the site allows us to send automated membership renewal reminders. Please note that memberships must be renewed annually now. We are interested to learn how members find the experience of using this site. Let us know what you think.

Agenda for the General Members’ Meeting in Brisbane

It is critically important that all members at the Brisbane conference attend the General Members meeting. Official business of the Society is conducted at the members meeting, which requires a quorum (10% of all the members). This will be all the more important at Brisbane, as this conference will be smaller than recent conferences, so a quorum will represent a larger fraction of Brisbane participants.

According to the Bylaws, there is a set order of business for a general members meeting. I hope this description of procedure for the meeting here in the newsletter will do two things: (1) help prepare the next set of officers for their tasks ahead, and (2) remind members that this meeting is for the members. It is not a business meeting for the officers. The ISHPSSB Council holds two lunch-time meetings during each of our conferences, one before the General Members’ Meeting, chaired by the outgoing President, and one after, chaired by the incoming President.

The order of business at all meetings of the Members shall be as follows:

  1. Roll Call.
  2. Proof of notice of meeting or waiver of notice.
  3. Reading of minutes of preceding meeting.
  4. Reports of Officers.
  5. Reports of Committees.
  6. Election of Directors and Officers, and/or the announcement of results of mail ballots.
  7. Unfinished Business.
  8. New Business.
Observing the Technical Niceties
  1. The first thing we will do at the General Members’ meeting is establish whether we have a quorum (1/10 of the voting members).
  2. The second thing we will do is entertain a motion to suspend the rules so that we can dispense with items a, b and c to save time. (Roll Call, Proof of notice of meeting, and Reading of the minutes of the previous meeting).
  3. Third, we will entertain a motion not to hold an annual meeting in 2010, so as not to violate the Bylaws, which require annual rather than biennial meetings. In general, Council “meets” virtually, by email, in non-conference (even) years.
Committee Reports

These include the Nominations Committee report of Election Results and the Site Selection Committee recommendation of Utah as the site for the 2011 conference.

Unfinished Business

I don’t think there is any unfinished business from 2007, but if any member would like to bring such to my attention, we will put it on the agenda.

New Business

We will consider the following, as well as issues members wish to bring up at the meeting.

  1. Thanks to Outgoing Officers and Council Members
  2. Items Brought Forward from Council
    1. 2011 Site Selection Discussion - preparatory to Council decision. The Council will vote on a site proposal for 2011. Prior to that vote, we will have a discussion of the recommended site proposal in the General Members’ meeting. The text of the recommended proposal, from the University of Utah (see below), will be made available in advance of the conference. The recommendation itself will be presented as part of the report of the Site Selection Committee earlier in the General Members Meeting.
    2. Possible Bylaws
      1. Consideration of possible amendment to ARTICLE III – 14. SUMMER CONFERENCES. This section of Article III establishes that the agenda of our conferences is to be set by the Council. Past practice has been to accept papers on any topic related to the general area of interest to the Society and its members, yet this Article gives the Council greater powers than past practice indicates. This issue came to my attention in preparation for the Brisbane conference, on the issue of who, if anyone, has authority to shape the content of our conferences. I am asking for this discussion at the General Members’ meeting to see if there is any sentiment to change the terms of the Section 14 of Article III. The text of this Section is as follows:

        • The Society will endeavor to hold summer conferences outside the normal academic year. Generally, these summer conferences will be held every other year and their agendas will be set by the Council. The primary purpose of the summer conferences will be to serve as a forum for the presentation of lectures and technical papers that enhance and advance the knowledge and understanding of the history, philosophy and/or social studies of biology. Generally, the annual Members' and Directors' meetings will be held at the summer conference in those years when the conferences take place.
      2. Consideration of possible amendments to ARTICLE XII — STUDENT ASSISTANCE, to: (1) clarify the term ‘insubstantial’ to provide better guidance to officers in making decisions in regard to student travel, and (2) review whether we wish to discriminate financially between student member and student non-members, on the grounds that the membership fees are so modest for students that it is reasonable to expect any student who wishes to participate to join the society. The text of this Article is as follows:
        • The Council of The Society shall have the authority, but is not required, to expend funds to or for the benefit of worthy and needy students for the purpose of assisting such students in meeting the costs of transportation, meals, and lodging in attending the educational and scientific activities conducted by the Corporation, provided that such expenditures remain an insubstantial portion of the Corporation's budget. In addition to the provisions of Article XI above, the Corporation shall in no way discriminate against any student in the expenditure of such funds because the student is not a Member of The Society.
      3. Consideration of possible amendment to ARTICLE II — MEMBERS. Section 13. VOTING. Should the text of the Section be amended to include a provision for electronic voting, with similar terms (100 days prior, not less than 30 days from the date of the ballot email transmission)? The text of this Section is as follows:
        • Voting for the election of Directors and Officers may be conducted by mail. If such elections are conducted by mail, a mail ballot shall be sent to the entire Membership of The Society no more than one hundred (100) days prior to the Annual Meeting. Members shall have not less than thirty (30) days from the date of the ballot postmark in which to cast their ballot. The Secretary of The Society shall be responsible for the conduct of all elections and for reporting the results to the Membership. Candidates for each office and Directorship shall be nominated by a nominating committee or by nomination of any two Members regardless of class, of The Society. Votes taken at any meeting for any purpose shall be taken by ballot upon the demand of any member.
    3. Off-year workshop policies. We need to review policy about whether graduate student travel support should be confined to the biennial conference or also made available for off-year workshops. This matter arose after Exeter (ISHPSSB 2007) because the expectation has grown up that off-year workshop proposals might receive not only the endorsement of ISHPSSB but also funding, e.g. for graduate student travel. However, there is no mandate in the Bylaws. Past practice has not been clear to members, proposers, or the Executive Committee (in part because our policy changes in motions passed by Council are not well-displayed. (Some of them are listed at the bottom of the Archives page on the ISHPSSB website.) Off-year workshops began (the first one in 2004) with the understanding that ISHPSSB endorsement/approval did not carry with it any promise of funding. Now that we have endorsed three workshops for 2008 and reinforced the expectation of funding with this cycle’s call for proposals in which we stated: "Some funding for graduate student (ISHPSSB members only) travel to the workshops may be available," it is time to establish a policy. In 2001, a policy was approved on Off-year workshops as follows:
      • The Society will sponsor workshops in even-numbered years on an ad hoc basis. It was agreed that these workshops must be thematic in nature, which will distinguish them from the regular ISHPSSB meetings. The Off-Year Workshop Committee developed guidelines for applications and an approval process. The Society does not provide funding, but it will provide the Society's mailing list of members and publicity about the workshop through the Society's email list and web page.
    4. Renting out our members list, advertising on our web page. Various journals and other advertisers have expressed interest in buying or renting our membership list or paying to have banner advertisements place on the ISHPSSB conference or Society websites. Members of the Council have expressed a variety of opinions on the matter. We will have a brief discussion of the issue in the General Members’ meeting.

Biennial Meeting, 12-16 July 2009, Brisbane, Australia

Conference Program

Marsha Richmond and Manfred Laubichler, Program Co-Chairs

A draft program will be published as a supplement to the Newsletter.

The 2009 meeting of the International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology will take place from Sunday, 6 pm 12 July, through 3 pm Thursday, 16 July, at Emmanuel College, St. Lucia, Brisbane, Australia, hosted by the University of Sydney.

ISHPSSB brings together scholars from diverse disciplines, including the life sciences as well as history, philosophy, and sociology of science. The ISHPSSB biennial summer conferences are known for their innovative, transdisciplinary sessions and for fostering informal, cooperative exchanges and on-going collaborations among a variety of international scholars. This will be the first meeting to be held in the southern hemisphere. The aim of the conference is to facilitate the exchange of research ideas and results across a range of fields. Our goal is a program that will allow maximal interactions, while also giving people the chance to present their ideas to their colleagues. We will be meeting near the Great Barrier Reef in the year of the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species and the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth and the publication of Jean Baptiste Lamarck’s Philosophie Zoologique.

The deadline for meeting registration is May 15, 2009, with a 3-day grace period for graduate student participants (i.e. deadline May 18, 2009). Information on registration and accommodation is provided on the conference website. Membership and conference registration is through the ISHPSSB’s registration web site:

Please direct inquiries to the Program Co-Chairs:

Manfred Laubichler: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Marsha Richmond: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Local Arrangements

Paul Griffiths and Rachel Ankeny, Local Arrangements Co-Chairs

The 2009 conference web site is up and running at: You will find all the links you need regarding the conference, submitting abstracts and session proposals, registration, and hotel accomodations at: Registration procedures are described at the meeting website: as well. Please check the meeting site frequently as you plan your travel to Brisbane.

Student Travel to Brisbane

The City of Brisbane is providing $20,000 (Australian) in travel funds that can be used to support student member travel to the Brisbane meeting. The Society traditionally has supported student travel and we will continue to do so. Additionally, Lisa Gannett, working with the History of Science Society, applied for US NSF funds to support student travel. We have learned recently that the “ISH travel grant was awarded high priority by the panel.” Way to go Lisa and hearty thanks for Jay Malone of HSS for his help! This approval does not guarantee funding – there is another round of approval required by NSF – but we have been advised to plan on the assumption that the grant will be awarded. Since there are restrictions on the use of NSF funds for travel, Lisa will be working with students awarded travel assistance on choice of air carriers. Procedures for graduate student members to apply for travel funds were posted at the meeting web page: The deadline for graduate student applications to help support travel to Brisbane has passed (April 1, 2009). Students who receive travel awards will be mailed checks after the meeting only once the treasurer has received a completed reimbursement form and original receipts/invoices and all boarding passes. If you are travelling on an electronic ticket, be sure to obtain a receipt from your airline at the time of check-in. Email and travel agent receipts will not be accepted. Treasurer Lisa Gannett: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Department of Philosophy, Saint Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3H 3C3 Canada.

2009 Marjorie Grene Prize Citation

Tara Abraham (Chair), on behalf of the rest of the Committee: Gillian Barker, Mathias Brochhausen, Kevin Elliott, Vivette Garcia, Jean Gayon, Carlos López-Beltrán, Adam Shapiro, V. Betty Smocovitis, Peter Taylor, and Alicia Villela

With Marjorie Grene's passing on March 16, 2009 at the age of 98, we all lost an important historian and philosopher, and a treasured mentor and friend.  Marjorie Grene was firmly committed to interdisciplinarity and interplay between the history of biology, the philosophy of biology, and biology proper-a commitment that defines the ISHPSSB.  She was also valued for the inspiration and encouragement she provided over the years to both junior and senior members of the Society.  In 1995, the Marjorie Grene Prize was named in her honour to acknowledge the vital role she has played in promoting interdisciplinarity and encouraging the development of new work in history, philosophy, and social studies of biology.

This year the Committee received what may be a record number of submissions for the Grene Prize: twenty-nine entries in total.  All were of extremely high quality-indeed, at least twelve of them have already been published, with another six submitted or in press.  The Committee appreciates the opportunity we each had to travel beyond our own specialized fields and learn a great deal about philosophical topics from systems biology to bio statistical theory to the evolution of culture; and historical topics that ranged from recombinant DNA to plant systematics to spontaneous generation.  We firmly believe that the high number, wide range and outstanding quality of the submissions is a testament not only to the role that ISHPSSB plays in stimulating and fostering novel and creative contributions within and across the fields of history, philosophy, and sociology of biology, but more importantly to the talent, enthusiasm, and engagement of its junior members.

Lisa Onaga, currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Science and Technology Studies at Cornell University, is the 2009 winner of the Marjorie Grene Prize for the best manuscript based on a presentation at one of the two previous ISHPSSB meetings by someone who was, at the time of presentation, a graduate student.  Her submission, "Toyama Kametaro and Vernon Kellogg: Silkworm Inheritance Experiments in Japan, Siam, and California, 1900-1912" makes an important contribution to our understanding of genetics, industry, and Japanese science in the early 20th century.  Well-written and thoroughly researched, Onaga's paper focuses on different research practices in the areas of Mendelian genetics, academic and industrial sericulture (silkworm breeding), and American entomology.  It provides a detailed account of the tensions that can arise between academic, commercial, and political motivations in the production of biological knowledge.  In her analysis of the intellectual conflicts between Toyama and Kellogg, Onaga successfully uses the contexts of silkworm research in Japan, Siam and America as a vivid backdrop to highlight the dialogue between different research traditions-namely those working within the frameworks of Mendelism and Darwinism.  The paper is an important and highly original contribution to our understanding of issues at the centre of biological practice in early 20th-century biology.

ISHPSSB 2011 Site Selection

Ana Barahona, President-Elect and Chair, Site Selection Committee

The Site Selection Committee voted to recommend a proposal from ISHPSSB members at the University of Utah to host ISHPSSB 2011. Three concerns were raised during their discussions, one about a $30 service fees that would be charged by the host campus meeting services unit, which would be included in meeting registration fees. The second concerned rules regarding alcohol consumption in Utah and on the university campus. The third concerned proposed meeting dates in late June, rather than the traditional July dates.

The proposal and the Site Selection Committee’s recommendation will be discussed at the General Members’ Meeting in Brisbane. A decision on the recommendation will be voted on at the second Council meeting in Brisbane following the members’ meeting disussion. The Utah proposal will be posted on the ISHPSSB web site in advance of the Brisbane meeting so that members may inform themselves prior to the discussion.

Proposers Matt Haber and Jim Tabery responded to the first two items of concern as follows:

  1.  $30/person conference services fee.

    The $30/participant fee is not simply for registration, but includes management of lodging, meals, catering, booking rooms, etc.  It is unlikely that we will be able to bring down this cost and still be able to use the event management services on campus.  However, using the ISHPSSB registration software will save us a $500 (plus 18%) fee for setting up registration services.  Still, we will set up a meeting with event management services to discuss what kinds of costs and services they can offer if we simply request that they block off a suitable amount of lodging for the meeting.  If they can offer a feasible alternative, we will let you know.

    One advantage of using events management is that they can help us work with caterers that are licensed to serve beer and wine on campus.  Depending on our budget we are hoping to have either a cash bar or provide drink tickets to ISHPSSB participants for the opening reception, which we plan on holding on grounds adjacent to the meeting accommodations that overlook Salt Lake City.

    Keep in mind that our budget included no funding sources, though we are optimistic that we will be able to raise at least $10,000 - $20,000, and possibly more.  This should net ISHPSSB a fair amount of money.  We've also initiated a search for sponsorships/funding in order to offset overall costs and registration prices for participants.  Between getting the go-ahead to host the meeting and local budgets starting to become more settled, we'll be able to move much more aggressively on this front.  So even if we can't bring down the conferences management fee, we think we'll be able to make that up from other sources of funding.

    If there is a particular amount of money ISHPSSB is hoping to net from the meeting or to make available for graduate student travel, that would be helpful to know. Additionally, if you have any guidelines on what kinds of sponsorships are acceptable that would also be useful in how broadly we will be seeking funding.  We have been working with the College of Humanities Development Officer to prepare funding requests for various University Deans and Divisions, to submit proposals to federal granting agencies, and possibly working with other local Universities as sponsoring agencies.  Beyond that there may be opportunities with private foundations or even companies (though we are hesitant to seek out corporate sponsorship).

  2.  Getting a drink in Utah.

    This is an easier concern to address!  Getting a glass or bottle of wine at dinner is very easy -- you can even get a very good wine!  Most restaurants in Salt Lake City offer glasses or bottles of wine, some with quite good wine menus.  Many restaurants also allow you to bring your own bottle to dinner (for a corkage fee).  Wine must be purchased at a state liquor store, one of which is located right downtown near public transportation and specializes in wine. For those willing to venture outside of Salt Lake City, Park City is about twenty minutes away.  There you'll find excellent top-rated restaurants, many of which have received Awards of Excellence from the Wine Spectator (for what that's worth).

    A recent change in law (going into effect July 1st of this year) will make getting a drink even easier.  Full strength beer will be available at restaurants, either on tap or bottled.  Perhaps more importantly, Utah has also (finally) gotten rid of some of its peculiar laws governing bars.  There will no longer be memberships required to enter bars, merely a check of an ID. We've also got some great local breweries, and are exploring options at partnering with them to feature some of their beers at our various receptions.

All the best,

Matt Haber
Jim Tabery

Election of Officers 2009

Gar Allen, Past-President and Chair, Nominations Committee

The Election of Officers will be conducted electronically this year for the first time. Information on voting procedures follow the biographies of the nominees.

The Nominating Committeeis pleased to present theslate for the 2009 ISHPSSBelection, along withbiographies of the nominees. Many thanks to all who suggested names and to the members of the Nominating Committee for their diligent work. They are Gar Allen (Chair), Marion Blute, Richard Burian, Jean Gayon, Jason Robert, and V. Betty Smocovitis. We all owe many thanks to our current Officers and Council members.

In proposing nominees, the Nominating Committeestrove to achieve balance with regard to field, gender, nationality, and experience. Finding candidates to fillsome big shoes this year was not an easy task. Following the precedent of years past, we decided to nominate two Program Co-Chairs, Mark Largent and Chris Young. In accordance with the Society’s by-laws, we solicited nominations from the membership at large. Those nominated by two or more members and who have expressed their willingness to serve now comprise part of the slate. Our sincere thanks to all we have agreed to be nominated.


For President-Elect

Paul Griffiths is University Professorial Research Fellow at the University of Sydney, Australia and holds a fractional appointment in the ESRC Center for Genomics in Society at the University of Exeter, UK. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and a member of the Australian Health Ethics Committee. Paul received his PhD from the Australian National University in 1989 and has worked in Australia, New Zealand, and the USA. He has published on the psychobiology of emotion, on adaptationism, on the species concept, the homology concept, the concept of the gene, on the nature of development, especially behavioral development, and on the history of animal behavior research. Paul was a member of the ISHPSSB Council from 1995-1999, serving on the 1997 Program Committee and 1999 Marjorie Grene Prize Committee, and also a member of the 2006 Nominating Committee. He is Chair of the local organising committee for the 2009 meeting. He was an instructor at the 2006 and 2008 ISHPSSB graduate education workshops

If elected, he would aim to continue the successful recent tradition of ISHPSSB sponsored off-year events, seek new sources of funding to support the involvement of younger scholars in the society’s activities, and promote recognition of the capacity of history, philosophy, and sociology of biology to inform public policy.

For President-Elect

Marsha Richmond is Associate Professor of History at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. She received her Ph.D. in the history of biology from Indiana University in 1986 and worked as an Editor on the Correspondence of Charles Darwin Project in Cambridge, England, from 1987-1993. Her research focuses on theories of heredity since Darwin, and especially the history of classical genetics in Germany, the United States, and Great Britain. She is currently working on an NSF-funded project, “Women in the Early History of Genetics,” and completing a book on Richard Goldschmidt’s work on sex determination. A member of ISHPSSB since 1995, she is a Program Co-Chair for the 2009 meeting in Brisbane. If elected ISHPSSB president, she would like to continue the work begun by past presidents of updating our web pages to standardize and better disseminate information (critical for an international society without an executive office) and building membership by reaching out to new academic communities, especially social scientists.

For Secretary

Roberta Millstein is an Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of California, Davis.  Her primary interests are in the history and philosophy of evolutionary theory, broadly construed to include everything from mutation to development to microevolution to macroevolution to its intersections with ecology, but she's been known to dabble in environmental issues as well.  She is currently serving as ISHPSSB Secretary.  As Secretary, she has migrated the Society's records to an online software service called Wild Apricot and implemented online membership renewal and conference registration.  She is also currently serving as the Listserv Moderator (since 2001) and maintains the ISHPSSB bulletin boards.  She has been a member of ISHPSSB since 1994 and served as its webmaster from 2003-2005.

For Treasurer

Lisa Gannett is an associate professor in the Department of Philosophy at Saint Mary's University in Halifax, Canada. She received her PhD in philosophy of science from University of Western Ontario in 1998. Since travelling to Leuven as a grad student in 1995, she hasn't missed an ISHPSSB meeting. Lisa is working on a book project, Mapping Flies, Mapping People: Theodosius Dobzhansky and Populations in Genetics. She has just finished one term (2 years) as Treasurer and is willing to serve for two more years and take some advantage of her progress on the learning curve.

For Program Co-Chair

Chris Young is Associate Professor of Biology at Alverno College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  He earned his Ph.D. in the University of Minnesota’s Program in the History of Science and Technology.  While at Minnesota, he served as ISHPSSB’s graduate student representative and started the society’s listserv.  He took over as Newsletter Editor for ISHPSSB in 1996, and became Secretary in 1999, serving 4 terms.  He worked with the excellent local arrangements chairs, treasurer Keith Benson, and program chairs to plan and run the meetings in Quinnipiac, Vienna, Guelph, and Exeter.  Publications include: In the Absence of Predators (Nebraska, 2002) and The Environment and Science (ABC-CLIO, 2005).  His research interests focus on the history of wildlife and wildlife habitat.  As a professor at a small, liberal arts college, he is committed to teaching science and connecting a social understanding of the history and philosophy of science in science education.

For Program Co-Chair

Mark Largent is an assistant professor in James Madison College at Michigan State University, where he teaches courses in the history of science and science policy and directs the university's science policy specialization.  Trained as an historian of science, he earned his Ph.D. in 2000 from the University of Minnesota.  His research has focused on the history of biology in nineteenth and twentieth century United States, and his first book, Breeding Contempt, examined the role of biologists, physicians, and social scientists in the American coerced sterilization movement.  Currently, he is working on the topic of vaccines, compulsory vaccination laws, and the public's anxiety over vaccine safety.  He is the book review editor for the Journal of the History of Biology, editor of the Rutgers University Press series Studies in Modern Science, Technology and the Environment, and permanent secretary of the Columbia History of Science Group.

In voting for Council members, choose three of the six candidates:

For Council

Jessica Bolker is Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of New Hampshire, and Associate Director of the Shoals Marine Laboratory. She earned a Ph.D. in Zoology from U.C. Berkeley and worked as a postdoc at Indiana University, Bloomington before coming to UNH.  After receiving tenure in the Department of Zoology, she revealed her secret identity as a philosopher.  Her interests include evolution and fish development as well as philosophy; focal areas are eco- and evo-devo, the ecology of cells, and the uses of models in both learning and doing science.  She views teaching as applied epistemology, and has developed an evolution course for non-scientists and collaborated with colleagues in the Physics Department on transforming and teaching introductory physics.  She began attending ISHPSSB meetings in 2005.

For Council

Elihu Gerson’s major research interest is in the social organization of research in evolutionary biology and related areas (especially in 20th century America), and in natural history. I’ve been a member of the Society since the organizational meeting of 1982. I served on the original Steering Committee and first Council (1987 - 1989), as Program Co-Chair in 1995 (Leuven), and frequently on the Program and Operations Committees. The Society should continue and strengthen our traditional commitments to interdisciplinary work, openness to all perspectives and backgrounds, informality in proceedings, and encouragement of younger scholars. We should also be exploring the potential of the Internet to enrich the amount and variety of useful communication among members.

For Council

Manfred D. Laubichler, Professor for Theoretical Biology and History of Biology and affiliated Professor of Philosophy, School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University. Ph.D., Yale University, 1997. Professional Activities: Associate Editor, Biological Theory; Associate Editor, Journal of Experimental Zoology; Editorial Board, Journal of the History of Biology (2002-2008); Editorial Board, Archive for History of Exact Sciences; Program co-Chair, International Society for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Biology (2009). Selected Awards: Fellow, Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. Selected Publications: co-editor of “From Embryology to Evo Devo, MIT Press 2007,” “Modeling Biology, MIT Press 2007,” “Form and Function in Developmental Evolution, Cambridge University Press 2009,” “Der Hochsitz des Wissens, Diaphanes 2006,” associate editor of “Endothelial Biomedicine, Cambridge University Press, 2007.” Areas of Interest: Theoretical Biology, Evolutionary Developmental Biology, History of 19th and 20th century Biology, Conceptual Foundations of Biology.

For Council

Massimo Pigliucci has a PhD in Evolutionary Biology from the University of Connecticut (1994), and a PhD in philosophy from the University of Tennessee. He has carried out post-doctoral research in evolutionary ecology at Brown University and is currently Professor of Evolutionary Biology and of Philosophy at Stony Brook University in New York. Pigliucci’s fields of research in biology include experimental and theoretical approaches to the study of organismal responses to environmental change (nature vs. nurture), and the extent of limits and constraints on natural selection. In philosophy, Pigliucci’s interests include philosophy of science and the relationship between science and philosophy in the pursuit of joint research programs. He is an associate editor for Biology & Philosophy and the Editor-in-Chief of the new journal Philosophy & Theory in Biology. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and writes regularly for Philosophy Now, a magazine devoted to public understanding of philosophy. Pigliucci has published Making Sense of Evolution: Toward a Coherent Picture of Evolutionary Theory (with Jonathan Kaplan, University of Chicago Press), a philosophical analysis of the conceptual foundations of modern evolutionary theory. In 2007 he was an invited speaker at two ISHPSSB symposia.

For Council

Lilian Al-Chueyr Pereira Martins is an Assistant Professor in the Graduate Program of History of Science of the Catholic University of São Paulo, Brazil. She got her first degree in Natural History and then obtained a training in History of Science. Her MSc and PhD researches focused upon the history of evolution (Lamarck) and the history of genetics (especially Bateson and Morgan). During her PhD she was a Visiting Scholar at the Department of History and Philosophy of Science of Cambridge University (UK). She is the President of the Brazilian Association for Philosophy and History of Biology (ABFHiB). She has also served on the councils of the Brazilian Society for the History of Science (SBHC) and the South Cone Association for Philosophy and History of Science (AFHIC). She has been co-editor of several books and is currently a co-editor of the Brazilian journal Filosofia e História da Biologia. In 2007 she published a book on Lamarck's evolutionary theory. She took part in several ISHPSSB meetings since 1999 (Oaxaca) and she organized two panels and two sessions in former meetings.

For Council

Greg Radick studied history at Rutgers and HPS at Cambridge before joining the HPS group at the University of Leeds, where he is currently Senior Lecturer.  (He recently finished two years as head of the group.)   His research interests include the history and philosophy of evolutionary biology, genetics, and the sciences of animal mind and behavior. He has attended the last five ISH meetings  (since Oaxaca where, incidentally, he also got engaged). Greg writes that what he most appreciates about ISHPSSB is  " the internationality, interdisciplinarity, and generous, friendly spirit of the organization." He also has a family, including two boys, a six-year-old and a three-year-old that keep him busy when he is not pursuing his professional work.

Electronic Voting and the Election Process

After considerable discussion with Gar Allen, the Executive Committee and Council, the Council approved setting up an electronic voting site to conduct the 2009 election. Low voter turnout in past elections, the realization that past paper balloting led to an enormous amount of work for volunteer members and to expense to the Society, and the move to electronic newsletters instead of the expensive and time-consuming mailings that served as our means of distributing paper ballots without additional mailing expense, all contributed to the decision to go electronic. What tipped the balance was the discovery of open-source, anonymous e-voting software, Plone PoPoll availabe as a tool in Plone, a major open-source content management system (see This software allows us to conduct a poll for which even the IT adminstrator cannot see the votes of individuals.

The procedure for voting is that each member in the members’ database will receive an email that looks like the one below, which was sent to me during a test of the system. Only ISHPSSB members in the members database will receive the email and since Plone generates a random initial password when it sends the message, only the recipient can respond, set up an account by changing the password, and vote. Others knowing your email address will not be able to vote for you (unless they have access to your email account).

If you have rigorous spam filters set on your email account, you should make sure you do not filter out email from Carol Beck (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or from ISHPSSB. Unlike the test message below, during the real vote you will have the entire voting period (40 days, i.e. 960 hours, from May 15 through June 23) to log in by clicking the hot link in the email (or pasting it into your browser), activate your account by changing your password, and voting by following the instructions at the site.

The instructions will tell you to click on a tab or navigation button from the Instructions - start page (see the image below). There is one tab for each office (President-Elect, Secretary, Treasurer, Program Co-Chairs, and Council). Next to each candidate for an office is a check box. At the bottom of each page is a button, “Vote this slate” to vote for a candidate or candidates for that office (up to two for Program Co-Chair, up to 3 for Council). You must click the “Vote this slate” button at the bottom of each page to complete the voting. After you click the button, the button will be replaced by a “Thank you for voting! Your vote has been recorded” message. You cannot change your vote on any given page once you click that button. If you overlook a vote for an office and log out, you can log back in again and complete your voting, provided the deadline has not passed.

From: ISHPSSB_Voting_Site <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Subject: User Account Information for ISHPSSBVote

Date: May 7, 2009 10:41:03 AM PDT

To: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Welcome ,


This email is not spam.  A username has been created for you on the ISHPSSB Voting Site for the purpose of online voting.

Following the link below will allow you to set a password for the username that we have assigned you.  For future reference, that

username is jrgriesemer


Please activate your account by visiting ... [rest of url deleted]


You must activate your account within 720

hours, so before Jun 06, 2009 10:41 AM


The above link will only work once, for you to reset your password.  Should you need to revisit the ISHPSSB Voting Site, the direct URL


With kind regards,




Voting starts May 15. Look for the email invitation in your inbox.



Membership Renewal

Roberta Millstein, Secretary

ISHPSSB members typically renew their memberships when they register for the biennial meeting. Those who do not attend a meeting sometimes fail to renew. We will continue to maintain a liberal renewal policy, sending Newsletter announcements and renewal information to people who are as much as two years late paying dues. Currently more than 1/3 of members are late paying dues. We ask you to renew when your membership expires. Please renew promptly when your renewal notice arrives, which will now be via email from our online partner Wild Apricot. For most existing members, renewal dates will be February 1 (2009, 2010, or 2011), but for new members, it will be the day of th eyear that they first became members. Remember that the easiest way to process your renewal is using our convenient PayPal service online, now available through the Society’s Wild Apricot registration website: If you have questions about your membership, contact Secretary Roberta Millstein at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Special Offers from Publishers

Annals of Science
$99 or £60/year; subscribe online via the ‘news and offers’ link on the journal’s website or write directly to the publisher (contact Lisa or Roberta for address).

Biological Theory
subscribe online via journal’s website (contact Lisa or Roberta for code which you need to enter to receive the discounted price).

Biology and Philosophy
$62/year; together with Journal of the History of Biology: $99/year; order via PayPal on the society’s website.

History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
Newly available: $50 or €40/year.

Journal of the History of Biology
$56/year; together with Biology and Philosophy: $99/year; order via PayPal on the society’s website.

Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
$40 or €37/year; order via Jane Croft at Elsevier (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; or contact Lisa or Roberta for regular mailing address).

Note that all PayPal subscriptions to journals through the Society will soon migrate to the Wild Apricot registration service at


James Griesemer, President
University of California, Davis
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Ana Barahona, President Elect
University of Mexico
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Lisa Gannett, Treasurer
St. Mary’s University
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Roberta Millstein, Secretary
University of California, Davis
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Pamela Henson, Archivist
Institutional History Division
Smithsonian Institution Archives
Washington, DC 20560-0414
(202) 786-2735
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Frédéric Bouchard, Webmaster
University of Montreal
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For additional Council contact information, visit our website at or contact Roberta Millstein.

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