S. Walter: Biography

Scott A. Walter

Biography: Scott A. Walter

Authorities: VIAF 192916598, OCLC WorldCat lccn-no2016-138394

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  • Research Activities and Interests

My research focuses on the history and philosophy of the physical and mathematical sciences and technologies from 1800 to 1980. Founder and editor-in-chief of the Henri Poincaré Papers website, I edited Poincaré’s correspondence with physicists, chemists, and engineers (Birkhäuser, 2007), and with astronomers and geodesists (Birkhäuser, 2016). Current research projects include the emergence of statistical cosmology in the early twentieth century, and the development of wireless communication technologies from 1900 to 1930.


2015+ Professor, Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Nantes
2012-2015 Associate Professor, Department of philosophy, University of Lorraine
2013-2015 Adjunct Professor of Scientific Humanities, Institute for Political Studies-Paris, Franco-German Campus, Nancy
2001-2011 Associate Professor, Department of philosophy, University Nancy 2
1999-2001 Assistant Professor, Department of philosophy, University Nancy 2
1998 CNRS-Max Planck Gesellschaft postdoctoral fellow, Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Berlin
1992-1995 MESR predoctoral fellow, REHSEIS, CNRS, Paris
1992-1993 Adjunct Professor of Computer Science, Schiller International University, Paris, France
1989 R&D project director, Kis, Grenoble, France
1985-1988 Staff Research Scientist in Robotics, Computer Science Department, General Motors Research Laboratories, Warren Technical Center, Warren, Michigan

Principal Investigator

2010-2014 Electronic edition of mathematical manuscripts (eManMath), Maison des sciences de l’homme Lorraine
2007-2011 Sources of 20th-century mathematical knowledge, Agence nationale de la recherche
2008-2011 Henri Poincaré Correspondence Project, Maison des Sciences de l’homme Lorraine
2000-2003 Henri Poincaré Correspondence Project, Lorraine Region

Supervision of Postdoctoral Scholars

2010-2011 Olivier Bruneau, history of mathematics
2010-2011 Amirouche Moktefi, history of mathematics, history of modern logic
2007-2009 Martina Schiavon, history of 19th-century geodesy
2006-2008 Ralph Krömer, history of mathematics

Select Honors

2016 Resident scholar, Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology, National Museum of American History, Washington, DC, one month
2013 Resident scholar, Dibner Library, two months
2011-2012 Research sabbatical, Univ. Nancy 2 (fall semester)
2007-2009 CNRS research fellow, affiliated with the Henri-Poincaré Archives (UMR 7117)
2004-2005 Research sabbatical, Univ. Nancy 2 (fall semester)

Editorial Activities

2015+ Editorial board, Cahiers François Viète
2012+ Editorial board, Histoires de géométries, Presses universitaires de Nancy
2011+ Scientific board, Max Planck Research Library for the History and Development of Knowledge
2009+ Editorial board, Documents for the History of Mathematics, Universitätsverlag Göttingen
2003-2005 Book review editor, Historia Mathematica
2000-2015 Editorial board, Philosophia Scientiæ, Nancy
2000+ Manuscript advisor for physics, Springer Verlag
1999+ Referee/reviewer for American Journal of Physics, Archive for History of Exact Science, Foundations of Physics, International Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Isis, Philosophia Scientiæ, Physics Essays, Revue d’histoire des mathématiques, Revue d’histoire des sciences, Science in Context, Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, and Zentralblatt MATH

Academic Leadership

2017-22 Steering committee, Research coordination network: Developing an Integrative Approach to Computational and Digital History and Philosophy of Science, National Science Foundation
2017+ Council member, doctoral school Societies, temporalities, territories, Université Bretagne Loire
2016+ Director, François-Viète Center for Epistemology and History of Science and Technology, Nantes-Brest
2016-2017 Council member, doctoral school 496, Societies, cultures, exchange, Nantes–Angers–Le Mans
2016+ Commission for Humanities (SHS) of the Regional Consultative Committee for Research and Technological Development (CCRRDT), Loire Region
2015-2016 Deputy director, François-Viète Center, Nantes
2013+ Co-chair, Digital-HPS
2012+ Steering committee, Digital-HPS
2009-2015 Director of graduate studies in philosophy and history of science, University of Lorraine
2012-2015 Executive council (alternate), Doctoral school Stanislas, University of Lorraine
2009-2012 Executive council (alternate), Doctoral school “Language, Time, Society”, University Nancy 2
2007-2014 Executive council, UFR Connaissance de l’homme, University of Nancy 2
2004+ Scientific council, Archives Jules Vuillemin
2000-2015 Executive council, Henri Poincaré Archives (CNRS), Nancy
2000-2015 Co-director of the research group “Archives, Corpora, Scientific Institutions and Societies” with 11 full-time-equivalent members, Henri-Poincaré Archives (CNRS, UMR 7117)
2000-2002 Director, Department of philosophy, University Nancy 2

University Service

2017+ Referee, High Council for the Evaluation of Research and Higher Education (HCERES)
2016+ Referee, Ikerbasque Foundation for Science
2012+ Referee, Agenzia Nazionale di Valutazione del Sistema Universitario e della Ricerca
2003-2004 Committee on computational resources, University Nancy 2
2002-2011 Recruitment committee in humanities, Institut National Polytechnique de la Lorraine
2000-2011 Vice-President, recruitment committee, CNU sections 17 (philosophy) and 72 (history of science), University Nancy 2

Scientific Committees

2012 Henri Poincaré Centennial 1912-2012
2008 Beyond Einstein congress, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, 21-26 September, 2008
2005 Einstein: Chief Engineer of the Universe, exhibition organized by the Max-Planck-Institute for History of Science, held at the Kronprinzenpalais, Berlin, May-October, 2005


Interview on the history of light, for the website Culture Sciences, 2016-05-10.
Interview on the history and philosophy of robotics, aired on a TV newsmagazine, France 3, on 2011-04-17.
The Spell of the Poincaré Conjecture. Documentary film (110 min) produced by NHK Tokyo, directed by M. Kasuga. First aired in August 2007.
It’s All Relative, Professor Poincaré. Documentary film (26 min) directed by Philippe Thomine. Aired on 14.11.2005, France 5. Scientific advisory board, in collaboration with G. Heinzmann, Ph. Nabonnand, and L. Rollet. Streaming video.
Le monde est-il mathématique? 52-minute documentary by Philippe Thomine. N° 4 in the series “Sciences et philosophie.” Aired on 09.06.2004, les Amphis de France 5. Consultant, in collaboration with G. Heinzmann. Streaming video.
Interview on the notion of time, aired on a French TV newsmagazine, France 3, on 2007-03-27.
Whitney Museum, New York, exhibition consultant for “Making Mischief: Dada invades New York”, 1996-97.


2008 Habilitation in Letters and Humanities, Université Nancy 2
1996 Ph.D. in Epistemology and History of the Exact Sciences, Université Paris 7 Denis Diderot
1992 D.E.A. in Epistemology and History of the Exact Sciences, Université Paris 7 Denis Diderot
1990 Licence de philosophie, Université Paris 8
1985 B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University

Professional Affiliations