My current book project, Chymical Life in Early Modern Europe, stems from my dissertation and takes the Wittenberg professor and physician Daniel Sennert (1572-1637) as a microhistorical nucleus in a larger history about the development and influence of chymistry (i.e., alchemy and early chemistry) and chymical medicine, including an account of how chymistry became overtly natural-philosophical, was absorbed into the university, and became an important locus for battles regarding skepticism and credulity. I am especially interested in early-modern letters and the insight they give into the lives and aspirations of chymists and chymical physicians.
I have had the pleasure of teaching for several years at different institutions and in diverse subject areas. At Columbia I have taught “Contemporary Civilization,” a required course in The Core Curriculum on the political, moral, social, and religious communities that humans construct for themselves. As a graduate student I taught multiple surveys of the history and philosophy of science at Indiana University and the University of Pennsylvania, and I proposed and taught a course on the history of medieval and Renaissance medicine.
I spent two years carrying out in Germany, first in Leipzig and Halle an der Saale through a Fulbright Grant and a NSF Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant, and then at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science and the Freie Universität in Berlin via a DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst).
I have worked as an editorial assistant and laboratory technician for the Chymistry of Isaac Newton Project, where I encoded Newton’s manuscripts and even reconstructed a variety of Isaac Newton’s and Robert Boyle’s alchemical experiments.
E-mail: jak2259 AT columbia edu