Kremer Contributes to 'Sciences of the Archive' Project

Associate Professor of History Rich Kremer has been invited to spend the 2010-11 academic year in Berlin, collaborating on an international project, Sciences of the Archive, at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. Working groups will examine how data-rich sciences—including meteorology, astronomy, ethnography, geology, and botany—have imagined cultural continuity, classification, and the time-dependency of “information.”

Rich Kremer will lead the astromomy section of an international project studying standards for preserving data in the sciences. The project is based at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, where Kremer will spend the 2010-11 academic year. (photo by Joseph Mehling ’69)

“One of the motivations for the Max Planck project is to help contemporary scientists and archivists determine what to do with all the ‘data’ that is being generated by today's science,” notes Kremer. “Should every pixel of data from, say, a large telescope be saved ‘forever?’ Whose responsibility is it to preserve that data?”

Kremer, who is combining the fellowship with a sabbatical term, will lead the group on astronomy. At Dartmouth, Kremer teaches courses in the history of science, medicine, and technology. His books include studies on 19th-century medicine, German physicist and cultural icon Hermann von Helmholtz, and 15th-century printed almanacs. Currently, Kremer is researching responses to Copernican astronomy in astrological calendars printed between 1543 and 1630. The Max Planck Institute is the world's largest center for research on the history of science.