Sixth international congress for the history of science and Twelfth congress of the Société internationale d'histoire de la médecine

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    Sixth international congress for the history of science


    Twel f th congress of the Socie'ti internationale d'histoire de la me'decine

    The 6. international congress for the history of science and the 12 . congress of the SociCtC internationale d'histoire de la mCdecine held their meetings at Amsterdam on August 14th-2rst, rg50, under the auspices of the Acadimie internationale and the Union internationale d'histoire des sciences, organized by the Genootschap voor Geschiedenis der Geneeskunde, Wiskunde en Natuur- wetenschappen te Leiden, and under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen JULIANA of the Netherlands.

    Since the congress was divided into 5 sections, for the history of mathema- tics, astronomy, physics, geography and geology ; for the history of chemistry, mineralogy, pharmacy and biology ; for the history of applied sciences, techno- logy and engineering ; for the history of medicine ; and for general problem$, methods and philosophy of science, which met each day morning and after- noon, no single member of the congress can give more than a very fragmentary report of the meetings themselves. This does not matter, however, since all the communications will be printed and so be available to all interested parties.

    Not the least important part of a congress is the opportunity it offers for making personal contacts ; and the arrangements of this congress offered ex- cellent facilities also in this respect. The meetings were held in a rather out of the way place, in the laboratory buildings; and excellent facilities for the members for lunching together were found in two restaurants near the congress rooms, while coffee or tea could be had in the laboratory itself in the pauses between the meetings. To this must be added the reception on the first even- ing, the trip through the canals of Amsterdam, the excursion to Leiden and Haarlem, and to the Wieringermeer and the Zuydersea Dyke. For members torn between the duty of attending the meetings and the wish to see the Rijksmuseum there was arranged a reception in the Rijksmuseum itself, by the Ministry of Education, Arts and Sciences and the Municipality of Amster- dam, where for several hours they could wander about in the museum and admire the paintings which they had hitherto known only from reproductions.

    But there were also exhibitions of more direct interest to the members of the congress: a historical exhibition in the Waaggebouw; the National Museum of the History of Science in Leiden, with the HUYCENS collection, LEEUWENHOEK'S own microscopes and many other rare exhibits; and the

  • SOCIETIES AND MEETINGS = 75 Teyler Stichting in Haarlem; also the Cruquius engine near Heemstedc is now, after 84 years of service, merely a museum piece, but well worth visiting.

    A feature of special interest was the exhibition of a number of films illustrating the history of technology ; they certainly showed, in several dif- ferent ways, what an excellent instrument for teaching is found in the film, and gave support to the recommendation adopted by the final plenary session of seeking to make use of this new method wherever possible.

    I found the congress both instructive and pleasant; everything went smoothly and without a hitch. Such a result is not obtained without a great amount of forethought and work, and the organizer, Professor FORBES, is to be congratulated on the result.

    A. G. Drachmann


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