The Lone Star History of Science Group

The Lone Star History of Science Group is pretty much what it sounds like—a loose-knit and very informal organization of historians of science, technology, and medicine from around the state of Texas. It was founded in Austin in March 1988 and every year since then, around bluebonnet time in March or April, the group has gathered in one or another Texas city (usually Austin, Houston, or College Station) to hear a talk, enjoy dinner together, and get to know each other a little better. The longevity of the Lone Star Group probably owes a lot to its simplicity: on its founding, its members agreed that the "organization" would have no by-laws, officers, or dues, and it still gets along very well without them.

We had to postpone our planned 2020 meeting because of the covid pandemic, and nor were we able to hold an in-person meeting in 2021. We did, however, help sponsor an online talk Johnny Miri gave on 26 March 2021 as part of UT's History and Philosophy of Science Colloquium. Johnny attended our 2019 meeting and, no doubt inspired by seeing so many historians of science in one place, proceeded to launch a research project of his own, focusing on an important but often overlooked part of the career of Vannevar Bush. After heading up American military scientific research during World War II and laying the groundwork for important postwar developments, Bush suffered a rapid fall from power and was out of government service by the end of 1948. Drawing on previously unstudied documents in Bush's papers at MIT, Johnny told the story of Bush's rise and fall and discussed what it reveals about the evolution of federal science policy during and after World War II. Johnny's talk drew from his article, "The Fall of Vannevar Bush," which he had recently submitted to Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences and which later appeared in its September 2021 issue. The editors there have confirmed that Johnny is the youngest-ever contributor to HSNS, and he certainly holds the record as our youngest Lone Star speaker: he was 16 when he presented his talk to our group, and is now a junior at St. Dominic Savio High School in Austin. 

Sadly, we weren't be able to follow our online meeting with the usual Lone Star dinner, but we'll look forward to being able to meet in person next spring in College Station.


For a list of past meetings, with the date, city, site, speaker, topic, and where we went to dinner, click on the "Past Meetings" tab above. Most of the dates also include a link to the account of the meeting published in the History of Science Society Newsletter, often with a photo of the assembled group. We're also gradually adding other photos, which you can find by clicking the "Photographs" tab above. 


Anyone wishing to be added to the e-mail list for the Lone Star Group (and that's all it takes to become a member in good standing) should contact Bruce Hunt at the University of Texas: bjhunt@austin.utexas.edu.