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Robert K. DeKosky

Professor Emeritus
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Ph.D. Wisconsin, 1972 [History of Science]; M.S. University of Kansas, 1968 [Chemistry]; B.S. Penn State University, 1966 [Chemistry and Education]

Modern physical sciences - astronomy-cosmology and physics during the early-modern Scientific Revolution in Western Europe, aspects of chemistry and physics in the latter 19th century, and the 20th-century impact of electronic techniques on chemical analysis.

Bob DeKosky was a member of the History Department Faculty at KU from 1977 to 2011. He taught most frequently a two-semester survey in the History of Science, and upper division courses on The Early-Modern Scientific Revolution, The History of Chemistry, and History of Science in the United States.

DeKosky's research has focused primarily on the modern physical sciences—astronomy-cosmology and physics during the early-modern Scientific Revolution in Western Europe, aspects of chemistry and physics in the latter 19th century, and the 20th-century impact of electronic techniques on chemical analysis (e.g., X-ray fluorescence in the latter 20th century).

Among his publications are:

  • Knowledge and Cosmos: Development and Decline of the Medieval Perspective (University Press of America, 1979), a synthetic treatment of relations among astronomy, cosmology, physics, and matter theory during the early-modern Scientific Revolution.
  • A series of articles in The British Journal for the History of ScienceIsisAnnals of Science, and Ambix on late 19th-century chemistry and physics focusing on spectroscopy and the work of Sir William Crookes in physics and chemistry.
  • "Developing Chemical Instrumentation for Environmental Use in the Late Twentieth Century: Detecting Lead in Paint Using Portable X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometry" in Ambix, 56(2), July, 2009, 138-162.
  • Editorial oversight and an introductory essay in the section on "History of Science, Technology, and Medicine," in theAmerican Historical Association Guide to Historical Literature, Vol. 1 (Oxford University Press, 1995), 77-121.
  • The Magic Lantern: A Guide to Audiovisual Resources for Teaching the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine(History of Science Society, 1997).
  • A co-edited collection of essays titled History of Science in NonWestern Traditions (History of Science Society, second edition, 2009).
  • "The Scientific Revolution," in Events that Changed the World in the Seventeenth Century, John Fielding and Frank Thackeray, editors (Greenwood Press, 1999), pp. 121-136.

DeKosky has been an active member of the American History of Science Society (HSS), serving two stints as Chair of the HSS Committee on Education (most recently in 2008-9).


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