E-Newsletter: June 2018

Welcome to our June e-newsletter. We hope you enjoy these bimonthly dispatches on the innovations and discoveries that shape our lives.
Tune In
If you love the wild and wonderful collections of the Science History Institute, you’ll be delighted by Distilled, a new series of short videos of staff members sharing their favorite objects from our museum, archives, and library.  

Since no museum can display all its objects at the same time, many worthy items seldom see the light of day. But Distilled gives you a chance to view some of these sequestered objects and hear about their stories. “The idea is to highlight some of our lesser-known treasures in a playful way,” said Mariel Carr, manager of video and multimedia production. “It’s a bit of a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on here.”
Distilled episodes will come out monthly, in between episodes of the Distillations podcast. Check out the first video in the series, and learn about some mid-20th-century vitamins that would put some serious pep in your step—because they were essentially caffeine pills in disguise!
Between Us
Remember May, when your inbox was brimming with privacy policy update notices? We thought you should know that we have updated ours too!

Our revised privacy policy aims to help you understand the data we collect when you interact with us—including attending our events, subscribing to our magazine, making gifts, or simply visiting our website. It also explains how to contact us with questions or requests to view, update, or discard certain personally identifiable information. We hope you’ll take a moment to review our privacy policy .


Image:
Michael Maier, “ Emblema XXVII: Qui Rosarium intrare conatur Philosophicum absque clave, assimilatur homini ambulare volenti absque pedibus .” In  Atalanta Fugiens (Oppenheim, Germany: Johann-Theodor de Bry, 1618).
In Celebration
First presented in 1999, the Biotechnology Heritage Award is awarded annually by the Science History Institute and the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) to honor extraordinary individuals whose work in biotechnology, whether it be through discovery, innovation, commercialization, or public understanding, is helping to heal, fuel, and feed the world.

This year’s winner of the Biotechnology Heritage Award is William Rastetter, chair of Grail, Inc., former chair and CEO of Biogen IDEC, and former chair of Illumina. Rastetter accepted the award on June 4 during the BIO International Convention in Boston. “It was truly my honor to present Bill with the award, given his exceptional history in the biotechnology industry,” said Robert Anderson, president and CEO of the Institute. “He was there at the field’s very birth, and his leadership has led many companies to success. Bill was also instrumental in IDEC’s decision to develop the cancer drug Rituxan, the world’s first monoclonal antibody approved by the FDA for the treatment of cancer. Rituxan went on to become one of the world’s most valuable cancer therapies, saving untold numbers of lives.”

Congratulations to Bill Rastetter on his achievement!
Allen G. Debus
The Institute has acquired the library of the noted historian of early alchemy and medicine Allen G. Debus (1926–2009), thanks to the generosity of his widow, Brunilda L. Debus. The collection of approximately 800 titles includes more than 300 rare books and important secondary and reference works on the history of early medical chemistry.

We honored Allen Debus and his collection with a special event at our Philadelphia headquarters on June 15.

Collection highlights include six titles by Paracelsus and two or more each by such authors as Jean Béguin, Nicaise Le Fèvre, Antoine Deidier, Daniel Sennert, and Petrus Severinus. There are an exceptional number of works by Joseph Du Chesne, a.k.a. Quercetanus. The collection also boasts several works by the physician and natural philosopher Robert Fludd.

Of great value especially are works by important authors in the field, for example, Isaac Newton’s The Chronology of Antient Kingdoms Amended (1728) and Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel, and the Apocalypse of St. John (1733), and American alchemist George Starkey’s Des hochgelahrten Philalethae drey schöne und auserlesene Tractätlein von Verwandelung der Metallen (From the Illustrious Philalethes, Three Beautiful and Exquisite Tracts on the Transformation of Metals) (1675).


Image credit: Douglas A. Lockard
Program Spotlight
Philadelphia, 1896: Typhoid fever has been running rampant in the city. The last few decades have seen nearly 16,000 deaths from the terrible disease. Health professionals say polluted water is to blame, but anti-contagionists contend the water is pure and safe. Add to that the manufacturing industries that have brought about a near environmental catastrophe by draining their waste into Philadelphia’s waterways, and you have everything you need for a lively debate about how to make the city’s water safe. But what’s the best solution? Should the city build an expensive filtration plant or invest in a more cost-effective aqueduct system?

On Thursday, June 28, join the Science History Institute for a gaming adventure where you'll get to step into someone else’s shoes, and—using your wits, luck, and all the best information available to you at that moment in history—see where your choices land you. “The program is a lot like that TV show Timeless: you get to travel back in time and become a main character in a historical scenario,” said Alexis J. Pedrick, manager of public programs. “The only difference is that we don't mind if you change history!” Afterward, toast your success (or failure), and learn more about the history of Philadelphia’s waterways with representatives from the Fairmount Water Works.  

Tickets for this event are $10 per person. Registration is required.  
From the Blog
The Distillations blog is the place for regular updates from the intersections of science, culture, and history.
Would you be able to walk, think, or react without a nervous system? University of Pennsylvania engineering student Sonia Roberts explores this question while building robots inspired by real animals.
Frankenstein was unleashed on the literary world 200 years ago, but its message still has relevance to everything from gene editing to Facebook.
Coming Up
Public Event
Thursday, June 28 | 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Museum Tour
Saturday, June 30 | 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Saturday Speaker
Saturday, July 14 | 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Workshop
Saturday, July 14 | 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
History Lab
Saturday, July 21 | 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
History Lab
Saturday, August 4 | 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Workshop
Saturday, September 8 | 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Conference
Monday, September 24–Tuesday, September 25 | 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Your support of the Science History Institute is vital to our museum, collections, library, public programs, research fellowships, and so much more.

Thanks for Reading!
The Science History Institute e-newsletter is published every other month. Comments, questions, or suggestions? Contact enews@sciencehistory.org
 
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