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History

David Cahan

David Cahan

Charles Bessey Professor of History

Contact Information:


612 Oldfather Hall

Department of History
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lincoln, NE 68588, USA
Phone: (402) 472-3250
Fax: (402) 472-8839
E-mail: email address

Curriculum Vitae: CV Cahan 2013


Joined the Department:

1982

I'm an historian of modern science, and my main research interests include the historical relationships of science and society since 1750, including the relationships of technological innovation to science and society, and issues of science and culture. My current major research project is a biography of Hermann von Helmholtz, one of the major figures in nineteenth-century German (and European) science. My biography seeks both to portray Helmholtz's life and work, and to explore the broader context and larger-scale developments of nineteenth-century science and culture as these affected Helmholtz and as he in turn affected them. I've edited three previous books by or about him: Letters of Hermann von Helmholtz to His Parents: The Medical Education of a German Scientist, 1837-1846 (Stuttgart, 1993); Hermann von Helmholtz and the Foundations of Nineteenth-Century Science (Berkeley, 1994); and Science and Culture: Popular and Philosophical Essays (Chicago, 1995). My interests in issues of science and technology can also be seen in my first book, An Institute for an Empire: The Physikalisch-Technische Reichsanstalt, 1871-1918 (Cambridge, 1989; paperback reprint, 2004), while my interests in American science can be seen in my co-authored (with M. Eugene Rudd), Science at the American Frontier: A Biography of DeWitt Bristol Brace (Lincoln, 2000). I have also edited a volume on the historiography of nineteenth-century science: From Natural Philosophy to the Sciences: Writing the History of Nineteenth-Century Science (Chicago, 2003).
My teaching interests cover several broad areas, including the history of science from the ancient Greeks to the present, the history of Western Civilization (1700 to the present), and European intellectual history (Enlightenment to the present).


Expertise:

  • Science
  • European Intellectual
  • Modern Germany
  • Science, Technology and Society


Books:

Cahan, David, ed. From Natural Philosophy to the Sciences: Writing the History of Nineteenth-Century Science. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2003.
Cahan, David, and Rudd, M. Eugene. Science at the American Frontier: A Biography of DeWitt Bristol Brace. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 2000.

Articles:

Cahan, David. "Hemholtz and the Ideals of Science and Culture in Gilded Age America" Revista da Sociedade Brasileira de Historia de Ciencia. (2006): 4:1 6-16.
Cahan, David. "Institutions and Communities" From Natural Philosophy to the Sciences. (2004): pg. 291-328.
Cahan, David. "Looking at Nineteenth-Century Science: An Introduction" From Natural Philosophy to the Sciences. (2004): pg. 3-15.
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Conference Papers:

"Helmholtz and the Ideals of Science and Culture in Gilded Age America.." Paper presented at 10th National Seminar on the History of Science and Technology, 17-19 October 2005.