Recent HPS student news

HPS student Julianna Poole heads to Iceland

HPS student Julianna Poole will be attending the 2016 Summer Course in Modern Icelandic, a language immersion program held in Reykjavík by the University of Iceland and the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies. For her dissertation, she plans to study the history of medicine in medieval England and Scandinavia. Modern Icelandic will be essential to her studies because much of the current literature on medieval Scandinavia is published in Modern Icelandic, this being the native language of many prominent scholars in the field. Julianna's participation in the program is funded through a Notre Dame Summer Language Abroad Grant.

Monica Solomon wins ACLS fellowship

Congratulations to Monica Solomon, who has been named as one of the 2016-17 ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellows Monica’s dissertation is entitled "On the Interaction between Mathematical Methods and Metaphysics in Isaac Newton’s Writings: The Case of Mathematical Forces”.

You can read more about Monica’s project here.

Our Graduate Students at Upcoming Conferences
Congratulations to our graduate students who will be presenting at the IU HPS graduate conference and the Midwest Junto for the History of Science

Indiana U at Bloomington, Graduate Conference in History and Philosophy of Science, March 11-12

Midwest Junto for the History of Science 2016, April 1-3, University of Oklahoma 

Pablo Ruiz de Olano Teaches Ethics of Emerging Weapons Technologies

Pablo Ruiz de Olano is co-teaching the undergraduate class “The Ethics of Emerging Weapons Technologies” this semester, together with Gen. Maj. Robert Latiff. In this philosophy class, which has received much recent media attention, students engage with a number of ethical and legal dilemmas raised by the use and development of new weapons technologies. These include the unmanned aerial vehicles (also known as “drones”) deployed by the United States in Pakistan since 2004, cyber-weapons such as the Stuxnet computer virus that compromised the Iranian nuclear weapons program in 2010, and technologies that are currently under development such as sound- and electromagnetic- based non-lethal weapons. The course provides students with three main tools for exploring these questions: different positions on the ethics of war and peace (pacifism, political realism, and just war theory), the laws of armed conflict (including the Geneva Conventions), and the main theories in normative ethics (consequentialism, virtue ethics, and deontology).

Pablo Ruiz de Olano presents his research in the U.K.

HPS student Pablo Ruiz de Olano just came back from presenting his dissertation research at the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford, Leeds, and the LSE. In Oxford and Cambridge, Pablo gave a talk titled “Intimate Connections: Symmetries and Conservation Laws in Quantum vs. Classical Mechanics,” which summarizes the main technical findings in his dissertation. In Leeds and the LSE, Pablo gave a second talk called “Epistemic Values in Theoretical Physics: Symmetries, Conservation Laws, and the Strong Nuclear Interaction,” which examines the role that epistemic values play in the development and evaluation and scientific theories. 

NDHPS postdoctoral fellowships

Thank you to all those who have applied for our NDHPS postdoctoral fellowships. The closing date for applications has now passed. Due to the large number of applications received (three times the number in previous years), we are unable to respond to individual emails from applicants. Please be assured that if we find that we are lacking any of your materials as we go through the assessment process, we will be in touch. We anticipate conducting interviews in March, and if you have not heard from us by the end of March, please assume that your application is no longer under consideration. We apologize for not being in touch with everyone personally, and thank you again for your application.

Congratulations to ND HPS alum Manuela Fernandez Pinto on her new position

ND HPS philosopher of science Manuela Fernandez Pinto, who graduated in 2014, has accepted a tenure-track position at the Universidad de los Andes in Columbia. The appointment is joint between the Department of Philosophy and the Center of Ethics. Congratulations and best wishes to Manuela, and we look forward to the new opportunities this opens up for collaboration between the Reilly Center and the Universidad de los Andes.

Notre Dame HPS Among Ten University Programs Joining ACLS’s Postdoctoral Partnership Initiative

ACLS has announced partnerships with 10 US institutions of higher learning as part of the new Postdoctoral Partnership Initiative (PPI). In June, ACLS issued an open call for proposals from institutions that wished to augment the number or benefits of humanities postdoctoral fellowships that they would offer in the 2015-16 competition cycle (for fellows to take up two-year positions beginning in 2016-17). The initiative, made possible by the generous assistance of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is designed to provide insight into the impact of postdoctoral fellowships on humanities scholars’ careers and the value of such postdocs to the institutions that host them. It also seeks to foster cross-institutional conversation about the role of these positions in the changing humanities professoriate. Click here to read more from the ACLS website.
Click here to see our ad

HPS program welcomed ten new and visiting faculty and students this Fall

Julianna Poole (History track) has a masters degree in molecular biology from Princeton and is currently pursuing research on the character and effects of Old English medical remedies.

Martin Beers (Philosophy track) comes to us from Thomas Aquinas College, and has research interests in philosophy of physics.

Jude Galbraith's (Philosophy track) undergraduate degree is in philosophy from the University of Dallas, and he is interested in ethical implications of science and how science intersects with society.

Sebastian Murgueitio Ramirez (Philosophy track) was a double major in philosophy and physics at Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, and his interests are in philosophy of physics. 

Evan Ragland is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History. He works on the development of widespread practices of experimentation in early modern Europe. He teaches and researches on the histories of science and religion and the senses. Among his publications are: Early Modern Medicine and Natural Philosophy (Springer, forthcoming fall 2015); “Mechanism, the Senses, and Reason: Franciscus Sylvius and Dutch Debates over Anatomical Knowledge after Harvey and Descartes,” in Early Modern Medicine and Natural Philosophy, forthcoming 2015; “Introduction,” co-authored with Benjamin Goldberg, in Early Modern Medicine and Natural Philosophy, forthcoming 2015. Learn more >

Nicholas Teh is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy. His main research area is the philosophy of physics, and broader research interests include the philosophy of science, as well as a range of topics in metaphysics, ethics, and aesthetics . I have two longer-term research projects within this general area. Learn more >

Norman Sieroka is visiting from ETH Zürich, where he is now Chair of Philosophy and a senior research fellow. His focus is on philosophy of mind (in particular phenomenology), philosophy of physics and mathematics, natural philosophy, and the historiography of philosophy and of the sciences. He is teaching a graduate HPS course this Fall titled Philosophical Issues Concerning Time. 

Laura Georgescu is a PhD student at Ghent University in the Department of Philosophy & Moral Science. She is visiting Notre Dame as a Provost's Initiative Visiting Scholar this Fall. Her research is on the history and philosophy of scientific experimentation, specifically on how scientific concepts are articulated, stabilized, and destabilized through experimentation. She works on attempts to make sense of magnetism and magnetic phenomena from the late sixteenth century to the early nineteenth century.

Sander Klaase is a PhD Candidate in Science and Religion at The University of Edinburg. He is visiting ND until October via the Edinburgh Exchange Program. He is working in the field of science and religion and engaging in the realism debates of philosophy of science and philosophy of religion.

Aleta Quinn is a Residential Fellow at the NDIAS this Fall. She graduated from the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh in 2015 and is a philosopher of science with research interests in the history and philosophy of biology and the role of values in science. Her research has focused on systematics, the science that discovers biodiversity. Her research awards include a Smithsonian Institution Predoctoral Fellowship and a Provost’s Development Fund Award from the University of Pittsburgh. Learn more >

HPS Students to Present in Düsseldorf

HPS students Jamee Elder, John Hanson, Monica Solomon, and Jeremy Steeger, along with Philosophy Department student Aaron Wells, will be presenting their work on Émilie Du Châtelet at this year’s European Philosophy of Science Association meeting in Düsseldorf in September. Their successful symposium submissions includes papers addressing a variety of themes from Du Châtelet’s Institutions de Physique (1740), including her views on the uses and abuses of hypotheses, her treatments of space and time, her criticisms of Newton’s views of gravitation, and her account of Leibniz’s law of continuity.

Alum Steve Case wins Annals of Science Prize

HPS alum Dr. Stephen Case (Department Chemistry and Geosciences at Olivet Nazarene University) is the winner of the Annals of Science Prize for 2014, for his paper on “’Land-marks of the Universe: John Herschel Against the Background of Positional Astronomy.” This essay was based on a chapter from Steve’s dissertation.

Congratulations to Laura Bland

Laura Bland has been awarded the Writing and Rhetoric Graduate Assistantship, a full-year fellowship to support advanced graduate students while they receive pedagogy training and teach two courses in the University’s Writing and Rhetoric program. She hopes to use this fellowship to develop a course on evaluating scientific and medical claims in the digital age, a theme her students explored in her recent course on the history of food.

Stellar year for ND HPS Placements

Richard Oosterhoff

2014 was a great placement year for our HPS program, with all of our job candidates accepting excellent positions: Manuela Fernandez Pinto has taken up her post-doc at the Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in the Philosophy of the Social Sciences (, Elise Crull and Charles Pence accepted tenure-track positions in philosophy at CCNY and LSU respectively, Richard Oosterhoff (pictured) has accepted a multi-year post-doc at the University of Cambridge, and our first ND HPS post-doc Catherine Jackson accepted a tenure-track position in history of science UW-Madison.

Stephen Case awarded 2014 Sloan Prize

Stephen Case

May, 2014 – Stephen Case is this year’s winner of the Phillip R. Sloan Prize, awarded annually to a graduate student who embodies Prof. Sloan’s commitment to scholarship.

Steve is recognized this year for his high achievement in past coursework and the fine work he has done on his doctoral dissertation on Sir John Herschel, which is now nearing completion. Through his efforts in conference organization, he has brought important scholars to Notre Dame to interact with our HPS community. This past winter has been especially impressive, with his work on the Dioptrice project coming to fruition, a published article, and his presentation of the Dioptrice work at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

A brief description of the award and a list of past winners can be found here

Read more >

Laura Bland awarded dissertation fellowship

Laura Bland

April, 2014 – Congratulations to HPS Ph.D. candidate Laura Bland! Laura has been awarded a $18,500 Paul G. Tobin Dissertation Fellowship by Notre Dame’s Nanovic Institute for European Studies for her dissertation project entitled “Unfriendly Skies: Superstition and Science in the Spanish and English Empires.”

The year-long fellowship is one of three Tobin Fellowships awarded within the university to support graduate students writing dissertations on topics within European studies. These awards allow students to devote full attention to their project for an entire academic year.

Elise Crull accepts position at CCNY

Elise Crull

March, 2014 – Congratulations to HPS Ph.D. Elise Crull! Dr. Crull has accepted a tenure-track position at City College in New York, where she will get to help build a brand-new HPS graduate program. She is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the Edelstein Center for History and Philosophy of Science, Technology, and Medicine at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and was previously the Leverhulme Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Aberdeen. She received her degree in 2011 with a dissertation titled “Quantum Decoherence and Interlevel Relations,” working with  Don Howard. Her book The ‘Einstein Paradox’: Debates on Nonlocality and Incompleteness in 1935 (with G. Bacciagaluppi) is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press.

Daniel McKaughan receives tenure at Boston College

Daniel McKaughan

March, 2014 – Congratulations go out to HPS alum Dan McKaughan on receiving tenure in the Philosophy Department at Boston College! Dr. McKaughan has been at Boston College since 2008. Prior to that he was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and a Sorin Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Notre Dame. His interests include philosophy of science, philosophy of biology, epistemology, and philosophy of religion.

To see Dr. McKaughan’s recent publications and to learn more about him, click here.

Charles Pence accepts position at LSU

Charles Pence

March, 2014 – Congratulations to PhD candidate (philosophy track) Charles Pence. We’re pleased to report that Charles has accepted a tenure-track position in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Louisiana State University (LSU).

He also recently won the 2013 British Society for the Philosophy of Science Sir Karl Popper Essay Prize for his paper “A New Foundation for the Propensity Interpretation of Fitness,” co-authored with Grant Ramsey.  Click here to see the paper.

Pence was also mentioned in a New York Times article on the “Ethics of Emerging Weapons Technologies” course he co-teaches with Maj. Gen. Robert Latiff (Ret.).

Click here to learn more about his work.

Previous news


Stephen Case

The History and Philosophy of Science graduate program made a big splash at this year’s AAAS meeting, with current student Steve Case (pictured) featured on two blog posts and ND philosophy alum (and close friend of HPS) Dan Hicks being interviewed for another. Congratulations to both for a great showing!

You can find the blog post about Steve’s poster session by clicking here.

A brief video of Steve talking about Herschel’s discovery of Uranus (scroll about 1/3 of the way down) is here.

And the interview with Dr. Hicks can be found here

Cliff Arnold building bridges between HPS and the practice of medicine

Februrary, 2014 – Cliff Arnold has been accepted into an internship program through the Common Good Initiative in the Theology Department, which will allow him to travel to Uganda this summer to do research on hospice and palliative care medicine there. He is also engaged with the Center for Social Concern’s US Healthcare: Policy and Poverty seminar, co-leading a group of 15 undergraduates in seminar discussions throughout the semester and facilitating a Spring Break immersion trip to Washington, DC, where they will speak to professionals in the field of healthcare.

Charles Pence awarded fellowship

Charles Pence has been awarded a one-semester Pre-Doctoral Visiting Fellowship by the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent) in Durham, NC to work on the evoText project (, a freely available, web-based tool for textual analysis of the biology journal literature developed at Notre Dame with Grant Ramsey. 

The project has already received support from JSTOR, and will soon index all journal articles in their “Ecology and Evolutionary Biology” collection.  While at NESCent, he will work with the Informatics unit to further expand the analytical capabilities and journal database of the software, which is designed to allow researchers in HPS as well as the sciences to analyze journal articles in the evolutionary sciences. 

Prof. Ramsey will follow with a one-semester visiting fellowship in the spring of 2014 to continue the NESCent collaboration.

Congratulations to Erica Freeman!

Erica Freeman

May 16, 2013 – Congratulations to Erica Freeman! Erica defended her M.A. thesis yesterday under the direction of Phil Sloan. Her project was entitled “Darwin on the ’more interesting” and ‘most intricate’ problems for natural selection." 




Richard Oosterhoff awarded A&L post-doc

Richard Oosterhoff

May 2, 2013 – Congratulations to HPS history track student Richard Oosterhoff, who has been awarded an Arts and Letters post-doc for 2013-14. Richard, who is currently a fellow of the Notre Dame Institute of Advanced Study, will teach courses for the History Department and for PLS. Richard’s research concentrates on the cultural history of Renaissance science, with special interests in universities, production and consumption of books, the interdisciplinary use of mathematics, and the relation of scholarly and “unlearned” knowledge of nature. We are delighted that he will be with us for another year. Congratulations Richard!

Melllon ISLA Astronomy workshop

Congratulations Steve Case for the success of his Evidential Reasoning in Astronomy and Cosmology Workshop!

March 11, 2013 – The workshop was a great success in bringing together faculty and students from physics, astronomy, history and philosophy for superb talks and wonderful discussion. Our thanks to Steve for all the work that he put into organizing the conference, and we look forward to the fruits of ongoing discussions, at Notre Dame and beyond, prompted by this conference. We already have one such example: Chris Graney, one of the attendees, hosts a science talk show on a local Louisville Catholic radio station. A couple of weeks after the workshop, he interview Steve Case. The interview aired last week and has been posted as a podcast: In it Steve discusses the workshop and his own research on the physical nature of the stars. Great stuff!

Moiz Hasan has arrived safely at McGill

March 6, 2013 – Moiz Hasan (3rd year, History Track) is spending this semester working with Professor Jamil Ragep. Professor Ragep visited us from McGill last year to give an HPS colloquium talk. Moiz is spending this semester working with Professor Ragep, looking at unpublished Arabic manuscripts of the medieval Islamic scientist/theologian al-Sharif al-Jurani, with a view to better understanding certain historical and philosophical aspects of the relationship between science (particularly, astronomy and natural philosophy) and religion in Islamic intellectual history. He is also participating in classes. We wish him a productive and enjoyable semester, and look forward to hearing lots more about it on his return!

Charles Pence is teaching Ethics of Emerging Weapon Technologies during Spring 2013 semester

February 25, 2013 – From the much-publicized deployment of unmanned aerial vehicles to the development of futuristic enhanced soldiers, ubiquitous surveillance technologies, and fully autonomous robotic systems, the landscape of the twenty-first century battlefield is rapidly changing. Contemporary warfare is often far-removed from the clash of large, state-commanded, standing armies on the open battlefield. New forms of warfare, in turn, propose their own sets of ethical challenges. How can we apply our understandings of ethics and the laws of war — such as just war theory, the law of armed conflict, and traditional work in normative ethics — to these new technologies? Students are exploring this question in this class (co-taught by Charles Pence and Maj. Gen. Robert Latiff), through a variety of written assignments and group projects.

Notre Dame History and Philosophy Science presented at the PSA/HSS biennial meeting in November 2012

Notre Dame History and Philosophy of Science November 2012









The HPS program had a strong representation at this November’s History of Science Society and Philosophy of Science Association joint meeting, with nine speakers including five graduate students on the program, plus four ND HPS alums who also presented.

Click here to see more details.

HPS grad student Steve Case was successful in obtaining a spot at the Newberry Center for Renaissance Studies 2013 Multidisciplinary Conference in January 2013, for his research on medieval and renaissance conceptions of the physicality of stars. The Newberry received 206 abstracts competing for only 48 spots. Congratulations Steve!

Jorge Escobar Ortiz on his summer school experience in Hungary

HPS graduate student Jorge Escobar Ortiz participated in the Historical Philosophy of Science Summer School at the University of Pécs, Hungary from 25-29 June, 2012. The summer school offered lectures and seminars on early modern topics relevant for the philosophy of science.

Jorge, a philosophy-track student whose dissertation is tentatively titled ‘Subjects, objects, and the possibility of knowledge’ said that the summer school was very useful “not only because of what I learned about historical philosophy of science, but also because I could test many of the ideas that I have been developing for my dissertation with a group of people who focus their research on topics very close to mine.” He found the feedback from his summer school colleagues encouraging, saying “This reception gave me the feeling that I am on the right track regarding my dissertation. The experience was also satisfactory because I could experience a way to do history and philosophy of science somehow different from the way we do it at Notre Dame, and that let me see approaches to problems in HPS that were very interesting and unexpected.”

Richard Oosterhoff named fellow of Notre Dame’s Institute for Advanced Study

Richard Oosterhoff

Richard Oosterhoff was awarded a prestigious fellowship from Notre Dame’s Institute for Advanced Study for his project “Making Mathematical Culture: Piety and Print in Renaissance Paris.” Richard is also the author of the forthcoming “Pious to Practical: Pythagoras in the Respublica litterarum of French Renaissance Mathematics,” in the Journal of the History of Ideas, as well as several review essays. Read more >



Six Current and Former Notre Dame Students Presented at 2012 HOPOS Conference

HOPOS 2012 poster

Notre Dame was well represented at the meeting of the International Society for the History and Philosophy of Science (HOPOS). The four-day conference, was held in Halifax, Nova Scotia, will feature four current students from Notre Dame: Xavi Lanao (Department of Philosophy), Pablo Ruiz de Olano (History and Philosophy of Science Program), Charles H. Pence (History and Philosophy of Science Program), Monica Solomon (History and Philosophy of Science Program). Read more >

HPS incoming Class 2012-2013

The HPS program is pleased to announce the incoming class for fall 2012: Beatriz Carrillo (history track); Xiaoxing Jin (history track); Sarah Naramore (history track); John Slattery (theology and science track). We are proud to welcome John as the inaugural student on our new theology and science track. The international character of our program will be enriched by the arrival of Beatriz from Chile and Xiaoxing from China. Already in the program are students from the USA, Columbia, Spain, Pakistan, Romania, Canada, and Iran. To Beatriz, Xiaoxing, Sarah and John: welcome!

Matt Gorski wins Clifton Memorial Prize, 2012

Congratulations to HPS graduate student Matt Gorski! Matt was awarded the Clifton Memorial Prize for his paper, “Semiclassical Electromagnetism and Contact Locality: A Case of Premature Metaphysics” at the annual Logic, Mathematics, and Physics Graduate Conference hosted by the philosophy of science group at Western University (formerly Western Ontario).

Graduate Students Present at International Conference

In February 2012, two HPS grad students attended Il Congreso Colombiano de lógica, epistemología y filosofía de la ciencia in Bogotá, Colombia.  


Manuela Fernández Pinto presented a paper entitled “Learning form Ignorance,” which explored the role of agnotology in the philosophy of science.

Next, she’ll be presenting at the Midwest Junto, followed by a trip to Vienna to participate in the Scientific World Conceptions summer course sponsored by the University of Vienna and the Vienna Circle Institute this July. 

Pablo Ruiz de Olano’s paper was entitled "Duhem’s role in the debate on the foundations of relativity: the case of Blas Cabrera in Spain." Pablo will also present at the HOPOS conference in Halifax in June.

Charles Pence wins two awards from the Graduate School

Congratulations to History and Philosophy of Science graduate student Charles Pence. Charles won two awards at this year’s Graduate Student Union Research Symposium, the Forum Topic Award (awarded to the best poster related to this year’s forum topic “Reimagining School: To Nurture the Soul of a Nation”) and second place in the overall Humanities division.

To read more about ND’s GSU Research Symposium, click here:


Follow us on Facebook

You can follow the latest HPS as well as Reilly Center news on Facebook at!