Would it not be better if a historical event were to be analyzed under the lens of a discipline that is most to related to it? Take, for example, the splitting of the atom. Surely, a physicist would be the best person to explain how profoundly such discovery influenced the 20th century science. A historian could definitely share something valuable regarding the subject, but it would not be as in-depth as that of a scientist.

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    Can you unpack this a little further? Is there something specifically about the philosophy of history that you're reading or studying that made this an important or interesting question in your mind? – Joseph Weissman May 8 '16 at 13:36
  • History of science is a discipline with its methods and tools. – Mauro ALLEGRANZA May 8 '16 at 19:17
  • I disagree with the premise: we often do. See for example: Art History, History of Science. Also, often in subjects themselves we study their history. For example: Bio 101 courses usually cover Watson + Crick, the development of the "central dogma" etc. – James Kingsbery May 9 '16 at 18:11

A physicist may be better qualified to explain the conceptual structures of various theories and how they are related, but that is not history, it's analysis.

The physicist is just about the last person I would ask to explain the influence of physics outside of physics, or even within physics, really. Things happen, in physics as elsewhere, for all sorts of weird reasons. Jealousy within a lab could have profound impact on what happens the lab, for example. Unless I wanted a profoundly biased opinion. Surely you do not think that science is somehow isolated from the rest of the world. Power is everywhere the same - the obvious example is nuclear physics: no WW2, no atom bomb, at least not for a while. History is in its way just as scientific as physics; the only difference is historians don't get to conduct experiments, and contrary to popular opinion, history never repeats itself, so no replicability. But good historians are just as conscientious and as intellectually disciined as physicists.

Take the example of the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary. It only took about 70 years to produce.

Personally I think it's actually harder to be a good historian than to be a good physicist. The physicist must learn lots of arcane math, among other things. The historian may have to learn a half dozen dead languages some of which have relatively little surviving evidence. Doing that kind of history is incredibly complex. That's why in some fields of history nobody makes a mark until well into middle age.

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