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WPI Professor is Co-Author of Book, The History of Science in America

Contact: Neil Norum, WPI Media & Community Relations

Worcester, Mass. -- Professor Michael Sokal of the WPI Humanities and Arts Department is one of three authors of a just-released book on the 150th anniversary of the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science). Sokal and Professors Bruce Lewenstein of Cornell University and Sally Gregory Hohlstedt of the University of Minnesota were honored at a reception last week during the AAAS's annual meeting in Washington. The book, The Establishment of Science in America: 150 Years of the American Association for the Advamcement of Science, is published by Rutgers University Press. Sokal is presently on leave in Washington serving as Program Director for Science and Technology Studies at the National Science Foundation. He will return to WPI in the fall of 2000.

The book is more than just a history of the AAAS says one of the authors because it actually connects well with some recurring issues in the general history of American science. The authors were matched to their specialties, each being the primary writer for a given 50-year span. Sokal, the author of a biography of James McKeen Cattell, editor of Science from the late 1800s until 1944, wrote the chapter, "Promoting Science in a New Century: The Middle Years of the AAAS." Co-author Lewenstein hopes that the book might be used as a supplementary text in courses on the history of American science and believes it would fit well, especially for those looking for an institutional perspective. "It's more than a dull institutional history," says Lewenstein.

Founded in 1848, the AAAS is the largest general organization of scientists in America, with 145,000 members from around the world.