Karl Hall joined the History Department in 2003, where he teaches courses on Central and East European history of science and intellectual history. Trained at Harvard University as a historian of science, he has written primarily about Soviet physics, including the canonical Short Course of Landau and Lifshitz. With Michael D. Gordin and Alexei Kojevnikov he edited Intelligentsia Science: The Russian Century, 1860-1960 (Osiris, vol. 23). His research interests include industrial laboratories and tacit knowledge; intellectual property and patenting in Central and Eastern Europe, leading to chapters in a forthcoming volume on Global Patent Cultures; post-1945 transformations of East European scientific institutions; Western scientists as anthropologists and critics of the Soviet experiment; the history of the race concept in imperial Russia; national cultural historiographies of science in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, and Russia (as well as Austria and Germany) before 1945. More recently he has reflected on the relation between science and Russian Orthodoxy.
FELLOWSHIPS AND AWARDS
- Visiting research fellow, Max Planck Institute for History of Science, Berlin, 2006-2007.
- Ragnar Holm Plaque for best dissertation in history of physics, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm, 2004.
- Postdoctoral fellow, Max Planck Institute for History of Science, Berlin, 1999-2000.
- Dibner Institute Graduate Fellowship, 1995–1996.
- Graduate Society Fellowship, Harvard University, Spring 1995.
- Graduate fellowship, International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX), Moscow, 1993–1994.
- National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, 1990–1993.
- Merle Fainsod Prize Fellowship, Russian Research Center, 1990.
- U.S./U.S.S.R. Exchange Scholarship, Institute for International Education (New York City), 1989–1990.
COURSES REGULARLY OFFERED
- Science and the Nation
- The Atomic Age
- Science and Religion
- Intellectuals and World War I
- The Reason of the Clerks
- Energy and Society
- Introduction to History and Sociology of Science
- The Making of a Productivist Middle Class in the Habsburg Monarchy / Erdélyi Mátyás --co-supervision with Susan Zimmermann (current)
- “Small Enterprises” of Underground Seminars: Intellectual Imperatives in Late Socialist Czechoslovakia and Poland (the 1970-1980s) / Anna Nakai (current)
- A Strong Class of Serious Scholars: The Power Dynamics of Knowledge Production in the Earth Sciences in Serbia, 1880-1914 / Dejan Lukić (2019)
- Science, translation and the public: the Hungarian reception of Darwinism, 1858-1875 / Katalin Stráner (2013)