News and Events


Shimla Workshop

Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, India

August 9-10, 2016

On August 9-10, 2016, a workshop on cosmopolitanism in the history of science was held in Shimla, India.  The main theme of the workshop was the changing perception of history of science as the field responds to a changing world. The idea of a single origin of science is gradually getting replaced by stories of multiple origins, dialogues between cultures and formation of communication networks. The goal of this workshop is to explore such themes by relating them to the idea of ‘cosmopolitanism’. Is it possible to construct a non-hierarchical history of science? How can a history of science be narrated which simultaneously pays attention to local histories as well as trans-local exchanges involving a diversity of objects and crosses national and civilizational boundaries? How does the frame of cosmopolitanism help us understand these themes better? The comparative asymmetries between regions of the world also lead to new questions about concepts such as science, authority, state and identity.

Read Urmila Unnikrishnan’s reflections on the workshop and its themes here.

Photo credit: Arjit Thakur, Wikimedia Commons, used under Creative Commons license


Knowing Infinity: Srinivasa Ramanujan and East-West Encounters in Mathematics


Winter 2017

The recent film The Man Who Knew Infinity (2015) has prompted renewed interest in the life of Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan (1887-1920).  Ramanujan had little formal mathematics training; he nevertheless had an impressive influence in the mathematics world despite a short career.

In partnership with the Indian Subcontinent Students Association at Dalhousie University, the History of Science and Technology programme at the University of King’s College, and the Mathematics Department at Dalhousie University, Cosmopolitanism and the Local is planning a series of events about Ramanujan.  These events will highlight his contribution to mathematics, his successful mathematical collaboration with English mathematician G.H. Hardy, and how his spiritual/religious background contrasted with the materialist/ rationalist culture of the west.

This public series of events will include a screening of the film The Man Who Knew Infinity, as well as a talk by a Ramanujan scholar and a panel discussion regarding Ramanujan’s life and work.  Check here for more details as they become available.