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History of the Project

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The SHO website has already its own history. It originates from a former project entitled History of Materials Research (2000-2003) conducted by Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent, Hervé Arribart and Arne Hessenbruch and funded by the Sloan Foundation and the Dibner Institute. This led to the gathering of a first database made of around thirty interviews, mostly in English, of American and European scientists involved in Material Sciences and Engineering. The corpus was published on a website at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After the Dibner Institute disappeared in 2006, this database on History of Materials Research was transferred to the Société Française de Chimie website and then the digital library of Caltech. In the meantime, under the leadership of Bensaude-Vincent, a few junior historians and philosophers of sciences built an informal research group focused on recent science and technology. Each member conducted in France, and sometimes abroad, a campaign of interviews on a specific research theme (basically within PhD research). By order of appearance from 2004, one can list : Solid State Chemistry (Pierre Teissier), Catalysis (Baptiste Voillequin), Molecular Machines in Chemistry, Physics and Biology (Xavier Guchet et Sacha Loeve), recent transformations in Material Research (Emanuel Bertrand), and other work in progress. For most of them, these unpublished interviews remain unavailable and little known.

The SHO website was designed in 2010 and 2011 to make this unpublished corpus more accessible and more valuable and to fuse this France-based corpus with the US-based one. The SHO project received for the academic year 2010-2011 a research grant from the Centre de compétence en Nanosciences (C’Nano) de la région Ile de France [Center of competence in nanosciences of the Parisian administrative area]. The SHO website has been designed with SPIP by Sophie Jourdin, Sacha Loeve and Pierre Teissier. It has been hosted on the ESPCI Paris Tech (École Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles de la Ville de Paris) website since 2011. It was eventually open to public the 22nd of June 2011, during the Symposium of the Commission on the History of Modern Chemistry held in Paris on the thema : Renewing the Heritage of Chemistry in the 21st Century. Once the new edition of the History of Materials Research corpus was completed, the unpublished interviews have gradually been implemented at the pace of financial and institutional possibilities.


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