Engage with APS Remotely
Updated March 26, 2020
While onsite programs are on hold, there are many ways to engage with APS events and collections remotely in the coming weeks.
Pandemics in Perspective: A Virtual Roundtable Discussion
Friday, March 27, 2020 at 1:00 p.m.
What can histories of past pandemics tell us about COVID-19? How might historians of science, medicine, and technology help inform efforts to understand and confront the coronavirus?
Join Dr. Adrianna Link, Head of Scholarly Programs at the American Philosophical Society, for a virtual roundtable discussion on the history of pandemics featuring: Dr. Jane E. Boyd, historical curator for the Mütter Museum's exhibition, Spit Spreads Death: The Influenza Pandemic of 1918–19 in Philadelphia; Dr. Scott Knowles, Professor of History at Drexel University; and Dr. Graham Mooney, Associate Professor in the Department of the History of Medicine in the School of Medicine and the Department of Epidemiology in the Bloomberg School of Public Health at The Johns Hopkins University.
Billy G. Smith, Ship of Death: A Voyage That Changed the Atlantic
Wednesday, April 1, 2020 at 1:00 p.m.
COVID-19 is not the first time that Philadelphia has braced for a pandemic. An outbreak of Yellow Fever between August and November 1793 killed over 5,000 residents of the early national city and sent tens of thousands more, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, fleeing to the countryside. Events happening today present eerie echoes of how the city and its residents sought to cope over two hundred years ago.
Join Dr. Kyle Roberts, Associate Director of Library and Museum Programming at the American Philosophical Society, for a virtual discussion with Dr. Billy G. Smith, Distinguished Professor of Letters and Science in the History Department of Montana State University on the history of Yellow Fever. Smith is author of Ship of Death: A Voyage That Changed the Atlantic World, a groundbreaking study of the Hankey, a small British ship that circled the Atlantic in 1792 and 1793, and transformed the history of the Atlantic world. Smith’s extraordinary book uncovers the long-forgotten story of the Hankey, from its altruistic beginnings to its disastrous end, and describes the ship’s fateful impact upon people from West Africa to Philadelphia, Haiti to London as the agent responsible for a massive Yellow Fever outbreak.
Explore APS Collections Online
Many APS collections and digital resources are available to browse online. These can be useful tools for those working and teaching remotely.
- Visit the APS Digital Library for access to digitized collections.
- Book and manuscript and object collections are searchable online.
- Digital projects from the APS Center for Digital Scholarship offer creative ways of visualizing data and exploring APS collections.
- Educator resources outline the ways that APS collections can be accessed remotely and help teachers plan future trips to the APS.
Revisit Past APS Events
Many APS public programs and Meetings are available to stream online. Recent APS Meetings and select public lectures are available on the Society’s Youtube channel and Meetings starting in 2003 are on the APS Digital Library.
A few recent programs are particularly timely. Watch these talks for more insight into the history and treatment of infectious disease.
November 2019 APS Meeting Symposium, "The Next Influenza Pandemic"
At the most recent APS Members Meeting, John M. Barry and Jeffery K. Taubenberger discussed the 1918 influenza pandemic while Stacey Schultz-Cherry and Peter Palese spoke to future influenza viruses and vaccines.
Anthony Fauci and Mark Thompson on Barry Blumberg
Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Mark Thompson, CEO of the New York Times Company, spoke at the APS in 2015 as part of an event in recognition of the donation of Baruch Blumberg's papers to the Society. Blumberg was a former President of the APS, best known for the development of the vaccine for hepatitis B.
Have a little more time and want to dig into a past APS conference? Many sessions have been recorded and are available to watch online.
The Power of Maps and the Politics of Borders
This conference was held in conjunction with the APS Museum’s exhibit, Mapping a Nation: Shaping the Early American Republic, which traced the creation and use of maps from the mid-18th century through the early republic to show the different ways in which maps produced and extended the physical, political, and ideological boundaries of the new nation while creating and reinforcing structural inequalities.
Networks: The Creation and Circulation of Knowledge from Franklin to Facebook
Inspired by the American Philosophical Society’s recent digitization of Benjamin Franklin’s postal records and by its involvement in “The Cybernetics Thought Collective Initiative: A History of Science and Technology Portal Project,” this symposium considered the different ways that social, scientific, and intellectual networks have influenced the pursuit of “useful knowledge.”
The Past, Present, and Future of Libraries
In commemoration of the American Philosophical Society’s 275th anniversary, the Society’s Library hosted an interdisciplinary conference that explored the history of libraries, the present opportunities for libraries, and the potential future for libraries as they continue to evolve in the 21st century.
- Helen Quinn on Doing and Teaching Science
- Franklin, Jefferson, and America's First Institutions with John Van Horne
- A Long History of Climate Science with Walter Munk and Charles Kennel
- The Paradox of the U.S.-Mexico Border with Douglas Massey
- The Life and Times of J. Robert Oppenheimer with Martin Sherwin
- Life of a Journalist with Linda Greenhouse
- The Demise of "Facts" in Political Dialogue with Kathleen Hall Jamieson