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Portail > Offres > Offre UMR8553-GABPEY-008 - DISHAS/Diagrams postdoctoral position (H/F)

DISHAS/Diagrams postdoctoral position (H/F)

This offer is available in the following languages:
Français - Anglais

Date Limite Candidature : mercredi 28 avril 2021

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General information

Reference : UMR8553-GABPEY-008
Workplace : PARIS 05
Date of publication : Wednesday, April 07, 2021
Type of Contract : FTC Scientist
Contract Period : 12 months
Expected date of employment : 1 October 2021
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : 3000E gross salary
Desired level of education : 5-year university degree
Experience required : Indifferent


In line with DISHAS/diagrams objectives the candidate research project should enhance our understanding of the roles of diagrams in astronomy including relation to theory and tables, their production and diffusion patterns. The candidate can focus on sources in Arabic, Greek, Sanskrit, Latin or Chinese. Different approaches are possible to achieve this aim. They rely on a range of competences and we thus encourage candidates with different skills and training background to apply. For this call, we seek candidates willing to engage with the following topics
The documentary aspects of diagrams encompass issues related to:
● Diagrams context and means of production (Who is involved in the diagram production? What is the temporality of this production? What are the material and intellectual tools and resources used to produce the diagram?).
● Diagrams structure as written artefact (representation conventions, labels) and their formal relation with texts, tables, and the organisation of the manuscript of which they are part.
● Diagrams circulation (on local, regional and global scales, potential alterations, context displacement in these circulations?).
Overall, this set of issues concerns diagrams as a scientific heritage.
The epistemic aspects of diagrams encompass issues related to:
● Different types of diagrams (static or dynamic diagrams, diagrams of instruments, diagrams of models, mathematical diagrams, flowchart and computational diagrams, dichotomic tree diagrams)
● Different astronomical and mathematical topics with which they are concerned (not all astronomical topics relied on diagrams in the same ways, identifying those topics treated through these means and their evolution is important)
● Different roles for these diagrams (grounding table values, explaining table uses, representing a celestial configuration, representing geometrical/cosmological model, allowing for measures, allowing for computations)
Overall, this set of issues concerns the ways diagrams are used as a resource by historical actors to foster astral sciences.
Focusing on these kinds of issues in the context of specific case studies that will also address issues of corpus delimitation and the format of digital critical editions able to highlight appropriate clues in the sources, the research project will contribute to the definition of DISHAS/diagrams data structure and related digital tools. While preparing their application, candidates are encouraged to contact to Matthieu Husson (matthieu.husson@obspm.fr) and Samuel Gessner (samuel.gessner@gmail.com) to discuss the shape of their proposed project.


The successful candidate will work as part of the local research and engineering team -main office Paris Observatory (77 avenue Denfert Rocherau, Paris), visiting office Research center in data science of the ENS (45 rue d'Ulm, Paris). Under the supervision of Matthieu Husson (PSL-Observatoire de Paris), Gabriel Peyré (PSL-ENS), Léa Saint Raymond (PSL-ENS) and Samuel Gessner (University Ulisboa-CIUHCT, Lisboa), he/she will spend most of his/her working time on his/her research project in the context of this collective, international project. He/she is expected to participate in the publications of the project and will be encouraged to take part in the conception of scientific events relevant to his/her research (workshops and seminars). In particular, he will take an active part in the organisation of the DHAI seminar and Intensive Course fostering the interaction of Digital Humanities and Artificial Intelligence communities. He/she will have also dedicated research funds.


To qualify for the position, candidates are required to have completed their PhD in either history of sciences, medieval history or scientific disciplines such as astronomy and exact sciences. Acquired competences in philology, codicology, palaeography, history of astronomy and history of mathematics will be appreciated. The will to learn about, work with and contribute to the development of digital humanities (DH) tools (in particular AI applied to manuscript studies) is a central point. A reasonable command of spoken and written English is important for fruitfully interacting with the international team of the project.

Work Context

Based at Paris Observatory (77 avenue Denfert Rocherau, Paris) in the History of Astronomical Sciences team of SYRTE (UMR 8630), the candidate will work within the DISHAS project. This position will be administered at the ENS in the Department of Mathematics and its Applications (DMA) and funded by the French government under the direction of the National Research Agency in the framework of the program "Investissements d'avenir", reference ANR19-P3IA-0001 (Institut PRAIRIE 3IA).
In the Astral sciences, texts and genres of text, diagrams, table formats, models and parameters, have, at least from the eighth century onward, a shared history in Eurasia for sources found in Arabic, Persian, Hebrew, Sanskrit and Chinese corpora. In order to improve the understanding of the interactions and influences between the different astronomical traditions, a sufficiently large and encompassing corpus must therefore be constituted; similarly, tools and methods capable of analysing this great variety of sources must be implemented. Digital humanities transform the availability of historical sources gradually, along with the means to analyse, edit, and relate them. DISHAS (Digital Information System for the History of Astral Sciences) is an international enterprise that addresses these changes in the field of the history of the astral sciences.
After a successful pilot platform for treatment of tables DISHAS is now opening a new facet. Diagrams, and more broadly the visual dimensions of astronomical sources, is going to be the next area in which DISHAS develops new tools in the next four years. DISHAS/diagrams will benefit from the lively and ongoing scholarly discussions around visualisation in the history of science. Its originality and contribution in this context rely on two correlated decisions: its focus on manuscript sources and its aim to design collaborative digital tools for the edition and analysis of diagrams found in those sources. Relying on approaches from the history of astronomy and digital humanities DISHAS/diagrams will build tools to assess the documentary and epistemic aspects of diagrams in the astral sciences. Artificial Intelligence based tools will be central in this enterprise to harvest, explore and analyse diagrams corpuses.

Constraints and risks


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