Selected Fields

PAST - History of Science


History of Science


Since the birth of civilization, human beings have sought to understand the natural, social and human world in which they live; historians of science study the history of this major undertaking. Like science itself, history of science does not aim to justify or judge, or merely chart what is being studied, but to understand it – the scientific theories of the past, its practices, its applications, its practitioners and institutions, and its dynamics of change. To understand science at any given moment, is to understand how human rationality was conceived at the time, the standards of epistemic reliability employed, what was deemed to be a reasonable explanation, a viable image, and an effective methodology.

To properly understand the science of the past is to account not only for the internal unfolding of its theories, methods and techniques, and their subtle interrelations, but also for the complex ways in which this knowledge simultaneously both reflected and effected the social, cultural and political settings of that time.

The 2018 Dan David Prize in the Past Time Dimension will be awarded to an outstanding individual or organization whose ongoing, groundbreaking research is making a significant contribution to the field of History of Science.