Rosengarten Professor of Modern and Contemporary History at Princeton University
Today the name of Max Talmey (1867-1941) is essentially entirely forgotten, even among specialists in the rather obscure field of the constructed languages. Talmey, an ophthalmologist by trade, was one of the most significant grammarians of Esperanto, before defecting to its renegade schismatic movement of Ido and then, in the 1920s constructing his own language, which he called “Arulo” or “Gloro”. At the same time, he was one of the more successful popularizers of relativity theory; in fact, he believed that relativity theory could be best understood through a language specifically designed with the principles and results of modern science in mind. Talmey’s career can serve as a guiding line through the history of these projects to create a universal, perfect, and/or scientific language in the first half of the twentieth century, one of the least explored regions of the fethisization of science.
Michael Gordin is Rosengarten Professor of Modern and Contemporary History at Princeton University, where he specializes in the history of modern science. In 2013-4 he served as the inaugural director of the Fung Global Fellows Program. He came to Princeton in 2003 after earning his A.B. (1996) and his Ph.D. (2001) from Harvard University, and serving a term at the Harvard Society of Fellows. In 2011 he was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship and was named a Guggenheim Fellow. He has published widely on the history of science, Russian history, and the history of nuclear weapons, most recently: Scientific Babel: How Science Was Done Before and After Global English (2015).