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Monthly Archives

December 2006

By Biomedicine in museums

Medical gadgets on display for sale

I’m just browsing around to find examples of biomedicine on display in a non-museum context, like this Fujinon 400 Video Endoscopy System by Some are better, some (like this one) are worse. But they demonstrate the variety of object display practices out there.

Representing Contemporary Biomedicine in a Museum Context

By Biomedicine in museums

On Monday 29 January 2007, we (the Medical Museion research group) will present our research project on the historiography and museology of contemporary biomedicine at the Nobel Museum in Stockholm. Here’s the program:

  • Thomas Söderqvist: Introduction: The Problem
  • Søren Bak-Jensen: Out of Time: Collecting and Storing Kidneys for Transplantation.
  • Hanne Jessen: What is a Laboratory Animal? A Multi-Dimensional Approach to Human-Animal Relationship in Biomedical Research.
  • Sniff Nexø: A Matter of Disposal: Enacting Aborted Foetuses in Danish Hospitals.
  • Susanne Bauer: Displaying the Biopolitics of Epidemiologic Risk Assessment: The Precard® Software as a Museum Object.
  • Jan Eric Olsén: Representing Virtual Surgery in the Medical Museion.
  • Camilla Mordhorst: Conclusion: Possible Solutions.
  • Fredrik Svenaeus (Södertörn University, commentator)

Time: Monday 29 January, 4-7pm, followed by a postseminar buffet. Venue: The Swedish Academy, Källargränd 4, 2nd floor, Gamla Stan, Stockholm (around the corner to the right of the Nobel Museum main entrance). Prebooking: at 

Nominations for the best medical blog in 2006

By Biomedicine in museums

It’s time to nominate and vote for the best medical blog in 2006. MedGadget, the ezine for new medical technologies invites to the third annual Medical Weblog Awards: “These awards are designed to honor the very best in the medical blogosphere, and to highlight the diverse world of medical blogs”. The categories are:

  • Best Medical Weblog
  • Best New Medical Weblog (established in 2006)
  • Best Literary Medical Weblog
  • Best Clinical Sciences Weblog
  • Best Health Policies/Ethics Weblog
  • Best Medical Technologies/Informatics Weblog
  • Best Patient’s Blog (a new category this year)

Unfortunately there is no category for Medical STS, Medical History or Medical Metascience blogs.




Anyway, hopefully someone will nominate “Biomedicine on Display” before 31 December here (in the comment field at the bottom of the page). You can then return to the site between 3 and 17 January to vote for the best of the nominated blogs. We’re crossing our fingers — hard!

Harvesting mice organs for computer users

By Biomedicine in museums

Museum displays are not just about the exhibitions. The museum shop often gets as much, and sometimes more, attention (and usually has more effect on overall income than the entrance fees). We don’t have a museum shop yet, unfortunately, but when we get one I’ll vote for a full series of computer mice in the shape of organs, like this cute little brain mouse from the Swiss mouseware company Pat Says Now (it was used to advertise a pretty stupid movie called “Zoolander” some years ago):

(Nice colour too! Looks like the brain has been dipped in some fluorescent stain)

Now we’re just waiting for a series of mice in the shape of hearts, kidneys, testicles, fibroblasts, T-cells, ribosomes and double-stranded DNA. Send suggestions to the manufacturer.


By Biomedicine in museums

Progress in biomedicine is not all about new methodologies, new empirical findings and new patents. It is also about new metaphors that guide and connect research efforts, technological innovation, investment activities, public opinion, and health political initiatives.

Some metaphors are pushed over and over again, but never seem to take off — like the notion of “biosemiotics” which continuous to be a largely unsuccesful philosophical favourite within a small circle of devout believers (for some reason there are quite a few of them here in Denmark).

Other metaphors are extremely succesful, at least for the time being — like the notion of “high throughput analysis” which seems to be all over the place: in scientific papers, in applications for funding, in advertisements, and so forth. Together with the word “robust”, the phrase “high throughput analysis” is like an open sesame which, in careful dosage, gives you a competetive advantage in the race for funding and fame. Probably because it is a connecting metaphor between the spheres of bioscience and economy. “High throughput” is a word that both venture capitalists, biotech CEOs and lab bench workers can understand.

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CFP: "Engineering European Bodies: When Biomedical Technologies Challenge European Governance, Bioethics and Identities"

By Biomedicine in museums

The final conference of the EU project “Challenges of Biomedicine: Socio-Cultural Contexts, European Governance and Bioethics” will be held at the University of Vienna, June 14-16, 2007 under the title “Engineering European Bodies: When Biomedical Technologies Challenge European Governance, Bioethics and Identities” Read More

Too efficient spam filter?

By Biomedicine in museums

Looks like our spam filter is too efficient — in other words, it also blocks bona fide comments. Since we get about a thousand spam comments a day, we cannot spend time on sorting out which are sham and which are authentic. [Added 27 Dec.: now we’ve manually moderated all bona fide comments: excuses to Isabelle Dussauge, Mette Kia Krabbe Meyer and David Wootton for being late with this]. When Benny (the new WordPress wizard) returns after New Year, we will ask him to install another filter.

PS: there are so many kinds of filters. E.g., my old friend Alex Pang has one which tells you that “The language of your comment does not match the preferred language of this user”, and then you are invited to do one of those recognize-six-distorted-letters-tests which I always find so humiliating (pattern recognition is not in my primary intelligence repertoire). I mean, what on earth is Alex’s “preferred language”?


By Biomedicine in museums

I’ve just bought Michael Crichton’s new bioengineering thriller Next — about venture capitalists and biotech companies. The flap promises a blend of “fact and fiction into a breathless tale of a new world where NOTHING IS WHAT IT SEEMS”; a genetic world which is “fast, furious, and out of control”. I’m not a Crichton fan (he’s just such a BAD writer) so I’m expecting yet another poor read. But what doesn’t one do for the sake of biomedicine and humanities! Will be back with a review after the holidays.

Added: see also 5 January 2007