The History of Science Society
2006 Prize Winners


Special recognition was given to the late Nathan Reingold
for outstanding service to the discipline.

2006 Prize Winners








(From left to right)
Richard W. Burkhardt, Jr. (Pfizer Prize), Joy Rohde (Reingold Prize), Maria Lane (Price/Webster), Graeme Gooday (Hazen Prize), and Mary Jo Nye (Sarton Medal)


  • Sarton Medal

  • Mary Jo Nye (Oregon State University)

  • Pfizer Prize

  • Richard W. Burkhardt, "Patterns of Behavior: Konrad Lorenze, Niko Tinbergen, and the Founding of Ethology" (University of Chicago Press, 2004).

  • Watson Davis and Helen Miles Davis Prize

  • Robin Marantz Henig, "Pandora’s Baby: How the First Test Tube Babies Sparked the Reproductive Revolution" (Houghton Mifflin Press, 2004).

  • Margaret W. Rossiter History of Women in Science Prize

  • Arleen Tuchman and her book, "Situating Gender" in Isis, March 2004, Vol. 85, no.1.

  • Derek Price/Rod Webster Award

  • Maria D. Lane, "Geographers of Mars: Cartographic Inscription and Exploration Narrative in Late Victorian Representatives of the Red Planet" Isis, December 2005, Volume 96, Number 4.

  • Reingold Prize

  • Joy Rohde (University of Pennsylvania), "Gray Matters: Social Scientists, Military Patronage, and Disinterested Truth in the Cold War"

  • Joseph H. Hazen Education Prize

  • Graeme Gooday, (University of Leeds)

  • Levinson Prize

  • Sandra Herbert and her book, "Charles Darwin, Geologist" in The Naval Institute Press were recognized for the 2006 award.

    Distinguished Lecture:

    Richard Burkhardt (Emeritus, University of Illinois)


    Sarton Medal - Mary Jo Nye

    The Sarton Medal is the highest honor the History of Science Society confers upon scholars in the discipline.  It recognizes a lifetime of exceptional scholarly achievement, and is awarded annually to a historian of science selected by the Society from a distinguished international field of nominees.  It is my great honor to introduce this year's recipient of the Sarton Medal, Mary Jo Nye.

    Currently Horning Professor of the Humanities and Professor of History at Oregon State University, Professor Nye took her doctoral degree in History of Science at the University of Wisconsin, under the direction of Erwin Hiebert, after earning an undergraduate chemistry degree at Vanderbilt and Wisconsin.  Hired as visiting assistant professor at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, she rapidly ascended the ranks, eventually claiming a prestigious endowed chair, as well as serving as department chair.  Twelve years ago she accepted her current position at Oregon State.  Her roll of honors is extraordinary; a severely pruned short list includes the Dexter Award for Outstanding Achievement in the History of Chemistry, Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as visiting appointments at the University of Pittsburgh, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, Harvard University, Rutgers University, the University of Cambridge, the Dibner Institute, and the Max Planck Institute for History of Science in Berlin.

    These honors recognize Professor Nye’s truly astonishing scholarly productivity in a number of disparate specialty fields within the history of science.  Her first book, modestly entitled Molecular Reality: A Perspective on the Scientific Work of Jean Perrin (New York: Elsevier, 1972), was much more than a simple perspective, rather a revealing analysis of fin de siècle chemistry, physics, and philosophy regarding the reality of atoms and molecules.  A few years later she came out with an invaluable edited work titled The Question of the Atom (Los Angeles: Tomash, 1984).  An interest in the career of Paul Sabatier then led to the writing of Science in the Provinces (University of California Press, 1986), an examination of French communities of physical scientists that demonstrated how much deeper an understanding of the course of French science could be achieved when the circle of analysis was drawn larger than just the Paris orbit. 

    Mary Jo’s next book, From Chemical Philosophy to Theoretical Chemistry: Dynamics of Matter and Dynamics of Disciplines, 1800-1950 (University of California Press, 1993), was a rich and ambitious study of both the cognitive and disciplinary connections between nineteenth- and twentieth-century physics and chemistry.  This effort led naturally to a project that was in some ways even more challenging, a general history of physics and chemistry over approximately the same period, entitled Before Big Science (New York: Prentice Hall International, 1996 and 1999).  Unique in the literature of the history of science, the book provides a coherent, authoritative narrative that is accessible to the general reader—and, as I know from my own experience, to undergraduates in history of science survey courses.

    More recently, Mary Jo has been investigating the history of British and American chemistry and physics, especially centering on the work of Michael Polanyi and P.M.S. Blackett.  Her latest book, an engaging and provocative biography of Blackett, was recently published by Harvard University Press.

    As this simple enumeration of her books reveals (I don’t have time even to touch upon her rich legacy of journal articles), Mary Jo’s work has brilliantly illuminated important areas of the history of modern European and American physics and chemistry, with significant additional contributions to institutional and disciplinary history, philosophy of science, and the social and political relations of science.  Her elegant writing is always a joy to read, her research as deep as it is broad, her historical arguments judicious and convincing.

    A model university citizen at Oklahoma and Oregon State, Mary Jo Nye has also been exceedingly generous to the profession.  As HSS vice president in 1987, Mary Jo gracefully stepped in, when Bill Coleman suddenly became too ill to continue as president; then she served a full presidential term in 1988-89.  Seven years ago she presented the Sarton Lecture at the annual AAAS meeting, six years ago the HSS Distinguished Lecture.  And in 2003 there appeared volume 5 of the new Cambridge History of Science, covering the modern physical sciences, masterfully edited by Mary Jo Nye.

    Only occasionally is one given the fortunate opportunity to be able to say, in a very public way, important words about important people.  I speak from a personal perspective, but I know that I also speak for all those who know her, when I say that as extraordinary a scholar as Mary Jo is, she is an even finer human being, a model of unassuming modesty, intelligence, generosity, and probity.  Mary Jo Nye richly merits recognition as the 2006 Sarton Medalist of the History of Science Society.

    Citation written and presented by Alan Rocke



    Pfizer Prize: Richard W. Burkhardt, Jr


    On behalf of the selection committee, which consisted of Sally Gregory Kohlstedt, Alan J. Rocke, and John Harley Warner, I am delighted to announce the winner of the Pfizer Award for 2006.  There were many quite extraordinary books in this year’s competition, and our discussions were long and vigorous.  Our unanimous choice is Patterns of Behavior: Konrad Lorenz, Niko Tinbergen, and the Founding of Ethology, by Richard W. Burkhardt, Jr. 

    Embracing complexity while crafting a thoroughly engaging narrative, Burkhardt gives us a compelling account of how ethology took shape as a major scientific discipline.  He builds a history of ethology that is at once monumental and subtle around the interwoven biographies of the well-known and controversial Lorentz and the less publicly visible but equally important Tinbergen.  Politics and institutions, personalities and practices, national traditions and the primacy of place all are deftly introduced as indispensable categories of historical analysis.  This is a powerful book, yet modestly understated in its historiographic claims.

    His detailed analysis charts how, in the middle decades of the 20th century, evolutionary theories were reunited with both field and experimental methods—complementing but also expanding our understanding of precisely what kinds of evolutionary syntheses were happening during that period.  It is a work of extraordinary research, scholarship, and writing, consequential both for its lasting contribution to historical understanding and for the critical conversations it will inspire.  The Committee is thus proud to award the 2006 Pfizer Prize to Richard Burkhardt for Patterns of Behavior.


    Watson Davis and Helen Miles Davis Prize - Robin Marantz Henig


    The Watson Davis and Helen Miles Davis Prize honors books in the history of science that are directed to wide public audiences or to undergraduate teaching. This year’s committee, consisting of Charlotte Porter, Janet Browne, and Richard Olson, is delighted to announce that the award goes to Robin Marantz Henig for Pandora’s Baby: How the First Test Tube Babies Sparked the Reproductive Revolution, published by Houghton Mifflin in 2004. Henig tells an exciting story of the first American and British attempts to achieve in vitro fertilization and the accompanying religious opposition, political maneuvering, and courtroom drama. She explores scientific fraud, lust for fame, greed, and laboratory achievement, as well as genuine care for the suffering of infertile couples and financial generosity. More than this, she frames the story within a broad range of personal, institutional, national and local cultural concerns which shape scientific applications in the modern world. We found the book engrossing and timely, a very worthy recipient of the Society’s prize for books of wide general interest



    Margaret W. Rossiter History of Women in Science Prize: Arleen Tuchman


    In "Situating Gender," Arleen Tuchman examines the Berlin-born physician Marie Zakrzewska's advocacy of the natural sciences, rejection of sentimentality in women, and distrust of the notion of female uniqueness. Zakrzewska (1829-1902), founder of the New England Hospital for Women and Children and Professor at the New England Female Medical College, was a leader among the first generation of American women physicians.  Tuchman effectively employs theoretical literature on the situatedness of gender to illuminate Zakrzewska’s rejection of feminine virtues as the grounds for women‚s entry into the professional sphere.  Meticulously researched and argued, Tuchman's portrayal of Zakrzewska's life as a strategic series of performances of gender is as enjoyable to read as it is persuasive.



    Derek Price/ Rod Webster Prize: Maria Lane



    Schiaparelli's 1877 map of Mars in terms of 19th century geography--when "prestige inhered in putting things on the map, not taking them off."  By alerting us to the seductiveness of maps as representations of reality, to the role of visual intuition and deceptive analogy in reading maps and terrain, and to the rhetoric of placenames in an imperial age--to identify just a few contributions of this witty and thought-provoking essay--Maria Lane also shows us how much historians of science have to learn from geographers.


    Nathan Reingold Prize: Joy Rohde


    The winner of the Reingold Prize is Joy Rohde of the University of Pennsylvania for her essay, “Gray Matters: Social Scientists, Military Patronage, and Disinterested Truth in the Cold War.” Rohde’s case study of SORO, the Special Operations Research Office run by the U.S. Army, explores “the gray area between science and politics.” This essay brought a fresh perspective to enduring questions about professional/scientific autonomy and political/economic/cultural patronage and the conflicts between knowledge and power.  Historiographically sophisticated and finely composed, Rohde’s study challenges received views of Cold War science, breaking new ground in studies of science and the national security state.


    Suzanne J. Levinson Prize: Sandra Herbert


    The committee is delighted to announce that the first winner of the Suzanne J. Levinson Prize goes to Sandra Herbert for her book, Charles Darwin, Geologist.  Sandra Herbert is the Director of the Program in the Human Context of Science and Technology and Professor of History at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.  She is editor or coeditor of several important books on Charles Darwin’s notebooks.

    This book, Charles, Darwin, Geologist is meticulously researched, richly illustrated and annotated.  It shows on every page the author’s grasp and interdisciplinary engagement, not just with Darwin himself but also with the wider personal circle around him.   Herbert goes beyond Darwin to the complex and concurrent context--intellectual, social and religious that shaped science in pre-Victorian and Victorian times.

    We are extremely happy to award the Suzanne J. Levinson Prize to Sandra Herbert for Charles Darwin, Geologist.


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