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 around bluebonnet time in March or April of every year since then (apart from the Covid-19 years of 2020 and 2021), 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 skip our planned 2020 meeting because of the 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. You can find a recording of Johnny's excellent talk (on "Vannevar Bush and Post-War Science Policy") here, courtesy of the UT History Department's "Not Even Past" website. Johnny's talk drew from his article, "The Fall of Vannevar Bush," which later appeared in the September 2021 issue of Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences. Remarkably, Johnny was only 16 at the time; the editors at HSNS have confirmed that he is their youngest-ever contributor, and he certainly holds the record as our youngest Lone Star speaker. 

Our 2022 meeting was also held online: on April 1 Fred Nadis, who earned his PhD in American Studies at UT in 2002 and is now based in California, spoke to our group on "Science in Toyland: The Rise and Fall of the Erector Set." Fred drew the fascinating material for this talk from his current book project, also called "Science in Toyland," in which he is examining the history of science-oriented toys and kits in America from the early 20th century to today. 

We hope and trust we will be able to return to meeting in person in 2023. We'll keep you posted on our plans as they develop.

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.