Anita Guerrini winning Pfizer Prize at HHS 2018. From Left: Bernie Lightman, HHS President; Anita Guerrini; and a Pfizer Representative.

Oregon State University Horning Professor in the Humanities and History of Science Professor, Dr. Anita Guerrini, won the prestigious Pfizer Prize for her latest book, The Courtiers’ Anatomists: Animals and Humans in Louis XIV’s Paris.

Dr. Guerrini was awarded the prize at the 2018 History of Science Society Meeting that took place November 1-4, 2018 in Seattle, Washington.

The Pfizer Prize is awarded each year to an “outstanding book in the history of science.”

The prize had been awarded each year to one author since 1958  through the History of Science Society, and has been generously funded by the Pfizer Pharmaceutical Company. The Pfizer Prize is highly competitive and Dr. Guerrini’s winning book is amongst other groundbreaking and outstanding books in the field.

A brief synopsis of The Courtiers’ Anatomists from Dr. Guerrini’s website can be found below:

The Courtiers’ Anatomists explores the role of dissection and of animals in the development of experimental methods in seventeenth-century science in the city of Paris between 1643 and 1715.  Science was embedded in other cultural pursuits because the same people practiced science, architecture, art, music, and literature simultaneously and Paris contributed to the birth of many of these cultural markers of modernity.  The royal court of Louis XIV exercised control of cultural production by means of its patronage, but this was never total. The courtiers and anatomists who depended on the crown were not simply those in attendance at court, and they cannot easily be labelled as “ancients” or “moderns.” The other individuals in this book are animals. This study documents the enormous role of animals in the birth of the experimental method as well as in natural history and the reconfiguration of the human and animal body.  Dissection can claim to be the most widespread and significant scientific activity of the era, and Paris became its epicenter. Anatomy and natural history formed two sides of the same coin: one could not take place without the other. Dissection evolved into a practice distinct both from medicine and from ancient philosophies, and natural history increasingly emphasized direct observation, while maintaining earlier emphases on textual knowledge. Both were driven, moreover, by a curiosity that would not easily be satisfied until everything possible was known about the human and animal body.

-Written by Miriam Breaugh

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