Welcome

Dana A. Freiburger Greetings! I am a doctoral candidate in the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine program at the University of Wisconsin. Back in January 2000, I exited a busy Silicon Valley computer career, drove with all my worldly possessions over multiple mountain ranges in the middle of winter to reach Madison, and entered graduate study at UW to pursue my interest in the history of science. Like my long drive to Wisconsin, it has been a journey of persistence.

I have broad interests in history of science, history of technology, and science education in the United States and Japan during the last two centuries, particularly the study of scientific instruments and computers. Here my ongoing dissertation on the place of science in nineteenth-century American Catholic higher education fits pretty well within this rubric as did my 2002 M.A. paper on Japanese physicist Nagaoka Hantarō and his work with Adam Hilger high-precision spectrographic instruments. And in a return to my Silicon Valley digital roots, the history of computing has regained my attention. Whoever said graduate school was a balancing act knew precisely of what they spoke - it is a continual task to remain focused in the midst of these many interests.

Please drop me a note if my work parallels your interests, generates questions, or inspires comments.

Recent News (past news)

Last summer found me in The Netherlands for a pair of geographically and chronologically adjacent conferences. The first event, the 28th International Conference on the History of Cartography, took place in Amsterdam where I enjoyed the numerous good talks, fun evening social events, and assisting at the History of Cartography Project display table. The next gathering was the annual History of Science Society conference held in Utrecht where I helped to organize a session on science education along with presenting a dissertation-related talk titled "The B.S. Degree: A New Objective in Nineteenth-Century American Catholic Higher Education."

September found me giving my department's first History of Science Colloquium talk for the fall semester. Here I expanded on my summer HSS talk with the new title “‘Practicing what they Preach: The Bachelor of Science degree in Nineteenth-Century American Catholic Higher Education.”

In November I went to Denver for the 31st annual Supercomputer Conference in support of the University of Wisconsin-Madison booth on the main exhibition floor. Nearly 14,000 people attended this event, including many UW alums whose work involved high performance and throughput computing. Having prior experience in this field helped me to prepare various documents for display at the booth related to past UW activities in this highly technical realm.

Depending on how the COVID-19 situation unfolds, I hope to visit Philadelphia soon where I will present a talk titled "'Such an important and widespread influence on our society today': Teaching Computer Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the 1960s" at the Science History Institute conference on Pedagogy, Popularization, and the Public Understanding of Science.

Life in Graduate School


Life in graduate school consists of an ever-changing mix of the routine and the special with the bizarre putting in an appearance from time to time. Dare I say that after nearly two decades of graduate study, or more years than I spent in K-12, I have become somewhat of an expert in this way of life.

The routine - to the right was the second (of my four so far) coffee makers since coming to Madison. Set with a timer to go off early each morning, note that it is already partially drained by 6:23am on a still dark Wisconsin winter morning. One of the little essentials of graduate student living where strong studies demand strong coffee, particularly when it comes to the large volume of reading associated with the study of the history of science.
trusty coffee maker #2 trusty coffee maker #2

UW library shelves UW library shelves The special - I can’t sing enough praises regarding the University of Wisconsin-Madison libraries with their vast collection of books and journals. Rich in its coverage of both the humanities and the sciences, graduate student friendly in its lending policies, and handy in terms of locations and opening hours, this university resource is truly special. With digital databases galore, specialized collections of books and maps, current DVDs, and an efficient interlibrary loan service, the UW libraries quench my academic and personal thirsts for information.

One advantage of my dissertation topic - American Catholic higher education in the nineteenth century - has been that I get very few library recalls for the many many books I have checked out at any given time. Unplanned, yet helpful.
 
Last updated on 04/18/2020