Nian-Sheng Huang

Visiting Scholar

Emeritus Professor of History, California State University Channel Islands

CSTMS Research Unit: Berkeley Program in Science and Technology Studies, Office for the History of Science and Technology, CSTMS
Affiliation period: August 2022 - May 2023
Degrees Ph.D. in History :: Cornell University (1990)
M.A. in History :: Cornell University (1987)
M.A. in History :: Tufts University (1983)

Research Areas

Trained in history, he has published extensively on the life and legacy of the colonial polymath Benjamin Franklin, including Benjamin Franklin in American Thought and Culture and Franklin's Father Josiah (both by the American Philosophical Society). As a visiting scholar at CSTMS, he will continue a research project connecting history with physics, which is titled “Einstein’s Unifying Theory Explained.” About ten years ago, a movie called “The Theory of Everything” about Stephen Hawking’s life intrigued him. Some initial studies of similar issues soon made it clear that how to merge general relativity with quantum mechanics in a single theory has long been a conundrum in theoretical physics. Many experts believe that only sophisticated field and string theorems can provide the answers, while others insist that general relativity can still accommodate both. Consider what has been underlying those diverse persuasions is not only a deep theoretical divide but also a profound philosophical and historical challenge, he adopted a different approach by exploring deeper into Einstein’s famous equation E = mc 2 , which enabled him to come up with a tentative conclusion. The strong expertise and wide-ranging crossdisciplinarity of CSTMS provide an ideal environment for him to share and continue his research.

Nian-Sheng Huang was born in Beijing, China and later went through a ten-year exile in Inner Mongolia during the Cultural Revolution. He received his doctorate in history from Cornell University in 1990 and has been a productive scholar specialized in Franklin and American society. The American Philosophical
Society in Philadelphia published his monograph Benjamin Franklin in American Thought and Culture, which was selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Book for 1994.

last updated: June 27th, 2023