A little over a year ago, as I was beginning my senior year of my undergrad, I was forced to begin thinking about my future in a way that I never had before. I was working to complete a dual B.S. degree in mathematics and English, and was suddenly realizing that I had no idea how those two degrees overlapped, in the same way that everyone I had ever met had always told me. Now, I had become quite good at faking an answer, when asked about my odd combination of degrees.

“I guess I just must be good at using both sides of my brain.”

“Math teaches me to think logically, English teaches me to communicate.”

“I love both of them, and I just couldn’t choose.”

However, not only did none of that really feel like the reason I had been drawn to both majors, but frankly it was all a bunch of bs. Math and English don’t exist in different parts of the brain, because the brain is a whole lot more complicated than hemispheres dedicated to the humanities and STEM could ever begin to explain. I’ve learned a ton of logic in my English classes, and my written communication is more effective because I learned to write proofs. And I never once felt that I needed to choose between math and English, because for me, studying both of them always made sense. But I still was in a position where I couldn’t possibly explain why I was studying both, or what in the world I was going to do with them . I had considered for a time going to graduate school for math, but even though I love math, and I show a moderate amount of talent in the area, I didn’t feel like I was good enough at math, or had enough drive to get a higher degree in math. Surprisingly to me now, I never considered going to graduate school for English. I’m not really sure why that is.

As an honors student at my university, I was required to write a senior thesis in order to graduate from the program, and this was the first time I tried to combine my majors in some sort of cohesive fashion. That project culminated in a paper which discusses geometry in 19th century Great Britain, and some of the literature surrounding the teaching of Euclidean geometry. A captivating subject, I know. But it was the first time that I felt that I found a connection between English and math. While I was really writing a history of math, with an English professor as my major adviser, I used a lot of literature in order to find my argument. And this eventually led me to discover that history of science was a thing and it’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like: the study of the development of science and scientific knowledge.

Long story short, I applied to a few graduate programs in the history of science, and after graduation, I packed up my stuff, drove 500 miles from Nebraska to Oklahoma, and started working on a masters degree from the University of Oklahoma.

I know that was a long introduction to myself, but I feel like my background is a bit unusual and plays into why I’m pursuing writing this blog. I’m coming to the history of science as a bit of an outsider. I don’t have a degree in history, and really haven’t spent a lot of time studying history before this. However, I do have an interest in science, and technology, and how it’s developed and what’s going on with it currently. I also have a great love of literature, and I’ve found that what people write about science says a lot about what people think about science.

My goal here is to discuss and explore some of the history which I am learning about, in the hopes of opening up the conversation about science and history to people that aren’t getting advanced degrees in those fields. History is important, not just because it can teach us lessons about how we got to today that we should learn from, but because it tells us the stories that give us an identity and cultural heritage unique to us. The history of science, technology, and medicine is no different. I hope to bring a humanist perspective to the science of the past and the present, and bring discussions about science from the academy, to the rest of the world.