September 29, 2021 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

The Figures in the Sky Initiative (FITSI) is a digital public history project under development at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics’ Wolbach Library. FITSI’s main goal is to connect people with resources to help them understand and appreciate different astronomical cultures, as well as meaningfully engage in conversations about how colonialism and racism have been, and continue to be, facets of astronomical pursuits. In this talk, Rebecca Charbonneau, co-leader of FITSI, will explain how integrating humanities research into STEM institutions can aid the development of novel solutions to cultural and historically rooted challenges in contemporary science.

Project in progress

About the Presenter

Rebecca Charbonneau is a historian of science who researches Cold War radio astronomy and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. She holds a PhD in History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Cambridge and is the current Historian-in-Residence at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, as well as the NASA/History of Science Society 2021-22 Fellow of Aerospace History. At Harvard she co-leads the Figures in the Sky Initiative, a project which aims to combat white supremacy in astronomy by preserving and promoting indigenous astronomical heritage.

About the Harvard Discovery Series

Formerly known as The Digital Futures Discovery Series, the Harvard Discovery Series is a collaboration between Cabot Science Library and the Harvard University Digital Scholarship Group (DSSG). This event series brings scholars on the frontiers of digital knowledge-making to a Harvard audience in an intimate and interactive setting. Presentations will be virtual for the fall 2021 academic semester unless otherwise noted.