About us

The Scientific Instrument Commission is a constituent group in the Division of History of Science and Technology (DHST) under the International Union of History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (IUHPST).

The SIC seeks to encourage scholarly research on the history of scientific instruments, and the preservation and documentation of collections of instruments, as well as their use within the wider discipline of the history of science. In order to promote interest in the history of instruments, to encourage discussion and to advance scholarship, annual symposia are held in different parts of the world, usually where there are important collections of instruments or centres of research and teaching. When appropriate, the proceedings of these symposia have been published.

Once every four years the annual symposium forms part of the Congress of the IUHPST. The Commission also occasionally sponsors workshops on specialist themes.

The Scientific Instrument Commission is a free-membership organization that values the welcoming and respectful atmosphere of our events, and good relationships between all our members (please read more here). You can join us by participating in our events and joining the RETE mailing list.

RETE is a mailing list devoted to the history of scientific instruments. It is open to all interested parties – curators, historians, students, collectors, and dealers alike. Subscribers can use it to ask questions about particular instruments or types of instrument, to announce exhibitions, meetings and conferences, to draw attention to printed or electronic publications, and so on. The list should not, however, be used for commercial purposes, such as announcing instruments for sale.

For more information about subscribing to this mailing list, please visit this page.

Note about our logo

During the plenary meeting held September 2007 in Harvard, this logo was chosen among several proposals freely submitted by members and friends of the Commission. The creator of the selected logo is the artist and designer Valentino Szemere working in Lugano (Switzerland).

Gregorian reflecting telescope Johann Gottlieb Rudolph, ca. 1748 Photo: Jürgen Karpinski © Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden