Mary Jo Nye has been honored with a prestigious lifetime achievement award, but that doesn’t mean she’s done.

Mary Jo Nye
Mary Jo Nye

Mary Jo Nye has received the History of Science Society’s highest award, the 2006 Sarton Medal, for a lifetime of scholarly achievement.

“It’s somewhat daunting to receive a ‘lifetime achievement’ award, since I’m not ready to call it a day,” says Nye, Horning Professor of the Humanities and professor of history at OSU. “However, I know of Sarton medalists who have done even more research and writing after they received the award than before.”

In presenting the medal, Alan Rocke of Case Western Reserve University said “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 and her historical arguments are judicious and convincing.”

Nye has written a number of books, including Molecular Reality: A Perspective on the Scientific Work of Jean Perrin (Elsevier, 1972), Science in the Provinces (University of California Press, 1986), and From Chemical Philosophy to Theoretical Chemistry: Dynamics of Matter and Dynamics of Disciplines, 1800-1950 (University of California Press, 1993). Her latest, Blackett: Physics, War, and Politics in the Twentieth Century (Harvard University Press), came out in 2004.

The History of Science Society is the world’s largest society dedicated to understanding science, technology, medicine, and their interactions with society in historical context. Over 3,000 individual and institutional members across the world support the Society’s mission to foster interest in the history of science and its social and cultural relations.

This isn’t the first time Nye, who came to OSU in 1994 after 25 years at the University of Oklahoma, has been honored with a lifetime achievement award. In 2000, she received the Dexter Award for Outstanding Achievement in the History of Chemistry from the American Chemical Society.


Mary Jo Nye Web page

History of Science Society Web

Previous Sarton Medal winners

Sarton Medal news release

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