In October 1976, the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology opened its doors in what was known as the Museum of the History of Technology, now the National Museum of American History, Behring Center. The collection of 10,000 books and 1,600 manuscript groups, which traveled to Washington, DC, from the Burndy Library in Norwalk, Connecticut, has grown to form one of the cornerstones of the Libraries' collections. In October 2001, the Dibner Library will celebrate a quarter century of providing vital primary sources to scholars, curators, and members of the scientific community by hosting a special symposium with a keynote lecture by Owen Gingerich.
All of the following events are free and open to the public to mark this anniversary, the Smithsonian Institution Libraries (SIL), with the generous support of The Dibner Fund, will hold an afternoon symposium on October 3, 2001 from 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm in the Carmichael Auditorium of the National Museum of American History, Behring Center.
The symposium is titled "Exploring the Past, Shaping the Future: The Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology at 25 Years." After a brief introduction, the symposium will begin with a talk, "From Collector to Reader: Bern Dibner and History of Science Collections," by the noted rare book dealer and scholar, Roger Gaskell. This will be followed by a panel, comprised of scholars and notable scientists and curators from around the nation, that will debate issues concerning the course of contemporary research in the history of science and technology and discuss the potential impact of the Smithsonian Libraries' collections on this scholarship.
SIL's annual Dibner Library Lecture will then follow the symposium. It will begin at 5:00 pm in the Carmichael Auditorium at the National Museum of American History, Behring Center. The speaker will be Owen Gingerich, who is both a Professor of Astronomy and History of Science at Harvard University and Senior Astronomer Emeritus at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. His lecture, entitled "Icons of Understanding: Celebrating Bern Dibner's Heralds of Science" focuses on one of the gems in the SIL collections. The Heralds of Science is a series of books, which collectively represent the most important contributions to the physical and biological sciences that have been issued since the beginning of printing. There will be a reception following the lecture.
We hope that you will be able to join us. It promises to be a day interesting to science and rare book enthusiasts alike!
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