Charles Coulston Gillispie

1997 Balzan Prize for History and Philosophy of Science

For the extraordinary contribution he has made to the history and philosophy of science by his intellectually vigorous, precise works, as well as his editing of a great reference work.

Charles Coulston Gillispie, born on August 6, 1918. in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, is a U.S. citizen.

He taught at Harvard University from 1946 to 1947 as a Teaching Fellow and Tutor in History. From 1947 onwards, he has taught at Princeton University, where he has assumed the following duties: Instructor in History (1947- 50), Assistant Professor of History (1950-56), John Witherspoon Preceptor (1953-56), Associate Professor of History (1956-59), Professor of the History of Science (1959- 87); Professor Emeritus since 1987.

He was ‘Directeur d’Etudes Associé’ at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris (1980-82, 1985-87).

He is a member of numerous American academies and international institutions, among them The History of Science Society, The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, The American Philosophical Society, the Académie Internationale d’Histoire des Sciences, The American Association for the Advancement of Science, The New York Academy of Sciences, The British Academy. He is an Officer of the ‘Palmes Académiques’.

He was the editor of the Dictionary of Scientific Biography (16 volumes, 1970-80) and has also published a great number of books. Among his most important works, we mention:

– Genesis and Geology, 1951, 1969 and 1996;
– The Edge of Objectivity: An Essay in the History of Scientific Ideas, 1960 and 1990 (translated into Japanese, 1966, Greek, 1975, Korean, 1981, Italian, 1981, and Polish, 1991);
– Lcizare Carnot, Savant, 1971 (translated into French, 1976);
– Science and Polity in France at The End of the Old Regime, 1980 (translated into Italian, 1983);
– The Montgolfier Brothers and the Invention of Aviation, 1783-84, with a word on The importance of ballooning for the science of heat and the art of building railroads, 1983 (translated into French, 1989);
– Pierre-Simon Laplace, 1749-1827, a Life in Exact Science, 1997.

(October 1997)

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