Laureates 2018

2018 Past - History of Science

Prof. Simon Schaffer

Prof. Simon SchafferUniversity of Cambridge
Cambridge, United Kingdom 

Simon J. Schaffer is a Professor of the History of Science at the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at University of Cambridge. Prof. Schaffer’s work has transformed our understanding of science in history by consistently targeting key issues, and probing the limits of current debate. His work spans a remarkable chronological and geographical range, from seventeenth to the twentieth century, and from London and Beijing to Parramatta and Paris. Prof. Schaffer’s impressive body of work demonstrates how experiment can no longer be seen as the mere testing of theories, but is located in witnessing, trust and acquired skill. His work exposes how major junctures in the history of science are firmly fixed in the localities of commercial exchange, political negotiation, and the activities of everyday life.

Prof. Schaffer authored numerous books, including Leviathan and the Air-Pump: Hobbes, Boyle, and the Experimental Life with Steven Shapin. He was editor of The British Journal for the History of Science. In addition to his work at Cambridge, he has been a presenter on the BBC, in particular the series Light Fantastic broadcast on BBC Four in 2004.

Among his awards and prizes, in 2005 he shared the prestigious Erasmus Prize with Steven Shapin for Leviathan and the Air-Pump. In 2013 he received the most prestigious honor awarded by the History of Science Society, the Sarton Medal, in recognition of his "lifetime of scholarly achievement," and in 2015 the Caird Medal of the National Maritime Museum. He received the Paul Bunge Award from the German Chemical Society in 2017. Prof. Schaffer is a fellow of the British Academy.