History Lab: Disability and the Myth of the Independent Scientist

History Lab
Saturday, August 17, 2019
1:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m.
Science History Institute
315 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
United States

Mobility impairments shape how people perform their tasks of daily living. In the lives of those with physical disabilities, things that able-bodied individuals often complete with very little forethought or planning often become acts of collaboration with other humans, animals, and machines. But are the able-bodied really doing things “independently”?


Unidentified Beckman Instruments employees

Completion of First Beckman LS 9800 Liquid Scintillation Instrument, 1981.

Science History Institute

This program looks at how the life stories of scientists with mobility disabilities can help us ask questions about the networks of hidden labor and privilege that enable the production of modern scientific knowledge and the ways in which the myth of the “independent scientist” is indeed just that, a myth.

About the Series

Join us each summer for History Lab, a series of free monthly seminars taking place from June through August. We’ll explore big questions from science and history that have immediate, real-world implications.

We’re Working to Make Our Programming Accessible

Each session of History Lab will have ASL interpretation, braille copies of signage and handouts, and closed-caption technology for presentations.

Please contact Zack Biro at 215.873.8203 or zbiro@sciencehistory.org if you need other accommodations.

Wheelchair Access

A wheelchair-accessible pedestrian gate is available at our parking-lot entrance on 3rd Street, between Chestnut and Market Streets. A greeter will be waiting before the start of the event to welcome and help direct attendees. The pedestrian gate is unlocked during regular business hours and for events. If you’re traveling by car, drive up to the parking-lot gate, which will open automatically during regular business hours and events. You may park in any open spot marked “Visitor” or in one of two spots reserved for those with disabilities. To enter the building call our receptionist via the intercom at the East Entrance for visitors and staff.