Marie Thébaud-Sorger


Marie Thébaud Sorger is Researcher (with tenure) at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) based at the Centre Alexandre-Koyré, Paris, EHESS, and associated to the Maison française in Oxford where she oversaw the History of Science programme (2017-2020).

She published extensively on the reception of the lighter-than-air machines in French and European societies in her first monograph, “Ballooning in the Age of Enlightenment” (L’aérostation au temps des Lumières, 2009, 2010 Académie française Louise Castex’s award), and later on about the public sphere of technology in Eighteenth century Europe.

She focuses especially on a long-term knowledge of matter and air (and pneumatic chemistry), and especially in 18th century urban context, on the management of ‘stale/noxious/foul air,’ the identification and uses of artificial gases (such as oxygen and hydrogen), as well as on fire-fighting (fire-proofing) processes, through the staging of technical inventions in various social settings. Her aim is to draw out a research path directed towards materialities and mediations, which intend to articulate a material history of knowledge with the history of material knowledge, at the crossroads of technical and chemical operations.

Between 2015 and 2017 she ran the research seminar at the EHESS “Operative knowledges of matter, from Renaissance to industrialization”, and co-organized the international interdisciplinary conference held at the MFO Biographies of Materials at the crossroads between the Natural Sciences and Humanities, 4-5th March 2019.

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