Dibner Library Resident Scholar Program in the History of Science and Technology

The Dibner Library Resident Scholar Program awards stipends of $3,500.00 per month for up to six months for individuals working on a topic relating to the history of science and technology who can make substantial use of the Dibner Library’s Special Collections. Doctoral students and post-doctoral scholars are welcome to apply. 

The core of the holdings of the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology consists of approximately 10,000 rare books and manuscripts that were generously donated to the nation by the Burndy Library (founded by Bern Dibner) on the occasion of the nation's Bicentennial (1976). The collection has since grown to 35,000 rare books and 2,000 manuscript groups. The strengths of the Dibner Library’s holdings are in the fields of mathematics, astronomy, classical natural philosophy, theoretical physics (up to the early twentieth century), experimental physics (especially electricity and magnetism), engineering technology (from the Renaissance to the late nineteenth century), and scientific apparatus and instruments.

Scholars wanting to do research in other areas of SI Libraries' Special Collections should apply for the Baird Society Resident Scholar Program.

About the Award

To be competitive, the applicant should describe in detail how he/she intends to use the Special Collections of the Dibner Library. While the Libraries' extensive general collections may be used to support scholars' research, the proposed project must center on use of the Dibner Library's Special Collections.

The selection of scholars is based on:

  • the need to consult specific Dibner Library holdings (application must include a bibliography of specific titles or a description of specific collections to be used). 
  • evidence of the applicant’s ability to carry out the proposed research (as outlined in letters of reference, reviews of previous work, publication record, etc.). 
  • the quality of the proposal (importance of topic, its originality and sophistication of approach, the feasibility of research objectives, and relevance to the collections).

We welcome international scholars. Applicants whose native language is not English must be able to demonstrate the ability to write and converse fluently in English. In addition, depending on the topic and specific research materials required, applicants should have an understanding of Latin or other foreign languages sufficient to make substantive use of Special Collections materials. English translations are not always available.

The residency must occur between September 1, 2017 and August 31, 2018, but does not have to be taken all at one time. Scholars are expected to be in residence at the Smithsonian full-time during their award tenures (plans to be away should be discussed in advance, if possible), to devote full-time effort to the research proposed, and to be regular users of the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology. The scholar will have access to the Smithsonian Libraries’ other collections and patron privileges such as interlibrary loan services. Scholars will be invited to address an informal colloquium of Smithsonian Institution staff and fellows on the topic of his or her research.

Stipends are not disbursed until after the scholar’s arrival but can be used for any purpose, including travel. No additional allowances are available. The Smithsonian Office of Fellowships and Internships (OFI) manages the award procedures.

Application date
15 Jan 2017
Up to 6 months
America United States Mid-Atlantic
Humanities History & Philosophy of Science
Required post-doc experience: 
between 0 and 99 years
Award granted
US$ 3.500/month