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“These are exciting days for Darwin scholarship”. So begins Michael Ruse’s commentary of Robert Ryan’s Charles Darwin and the Church of Wordsworth. Ruse’s words ring true if judged by the sheer number of books published in the last 10 years about Darwin, Darwinism, and evolution, many of which have been reviewed in recent issues of this journal. In fact, Ruse’s review here sits beside Michael Flannery’s critique of Darwin’s dice: the idea of chance in the thought of Charles Darwin by Curtis Johnson, and Graham Oppy’s evaluation of Teaching Evolution in a Creation Nation by Laats and Siegel.
For historians of science generally, this Issue of Metascience promises an interesting array of topics and figures, including Alan Turing, Newtonianism, John Tyndall and general relativity. Even Pope Benedict XIV’s importance to eighteenth-century science is acknowledged in Paolo Savoia’s excellent review of Benedict XIV and the enlightenment: art, science, and spirituality. The highlight is the symposium on Stephen Gaukroger’s The Natural and the Human: Science and the Shaping of Modernity, 1739–1841. The third installment in Gaukroger’s multi-volumed masterful overview of the historical rise of modern science is discussed by three pre-eminent colleagues, Jan Golinski, John Zammito, and Michael Lynn. Gaukroger’s book explores how the natural sciences fared during the fragmentation of disciplines in the early nineteenth century, an issue that draws the author and his interlocutors in this symposium into a discussion about—among other things—the “naturalization” of the human and the “humanization” of nature, as Gaukroger puts it.
If these are exciting days for historians of science, then the same is also true for philosophers and sociologists of science who are regularly finding new ground upon which to advance their fields. Modeling has long been a topic of conversation in STS/SSK circles, and two reviews by Sergio Gallegos (How to do science with models: A philosophical primer by Axel Gelfert) and Sabina Leonelli (Rendering life molecular: models, modelers, and excitable matter by Natasha Myers) show that there is still so much more to explore in the area of conceptual and material modeling in the sciences.
With these highlights in mind, it is our pleasure to present the first Metascience Issue for 2017. We are very pleased with the quality of the reviews. The variety of topics discussed in these reviews and the standard of the conversations within them gives us a great deal of confidence that we are able to witness a vibrant and productive field. As usual, our thanks go to Springer for its continued support for Metascience and to the editorial team, including the editorial board members, for their hard work. We would also like to thank you our readers for such warm encouragement and positive feedback during the past year. We hope that in 2017 we can continue to satisfy your interests in books published in the history, philosophy, and social studies of science.