Mary Jo Nye

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Mary Jo Nye (December 5, 1944–) is an American historian of science and retired faculty member of the History Department at Oregon State University.


External audio
Mary Jo Nye, “There had been a national movement toward science education, and I benefited very much from that.”, Chemical Heritage Foundation

Nye completed her undergraduate studies at Vanderbilt University (B.S. Chemistry), taking her Ph.D. in History of Science at the University of Wisconsin in 1970. From 1970 she taught at the University of Oklahoma, where she was named George Lynn Cross Research Professor in the History of Science in 1991. She was appointed a Thomas Hart and Mary Jones Horning Professor of the Humanities and Professor of History at Oregon State University in 1994. Other affiliations include visiting research appointments at the University of Pittsburgh, Rutgers University, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, Churchill College at the University of Cambridge, the Max Planck Institut fur Wissenschaftsgeschichte in Berlin, and as a visiting professor at Harvard University. She retired from Oregon State University in 2009.

Professor Nye received the History of Science Society's George Sarton Medal for Lifetime Scholarly Achievement awarded in 2006. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a Corresponding Member of the Académie Internationale d'Histoire des Sciences. In 1999 she received the Dexter Award for outstanding achievement in the history of chemistry of the American Chemical Society.

Publications (selections)[edit]

As author[edit]

  • Molecular reality ; A perspective on the scientific work of Jean Perrin, London [usw.]: MacDonald [usw.], 1972
  • Science in the Provinces: Scientific Communities and Provincial Leadership in France, 1860-1930, University of California Press, 1986, ISBN 0-520-05561-6
  • From chemical philosophy to theoretical chemistry : dynamics of matter and dynamics of disciplines, 1800 - 1950, Berkeley [u.a.] : Univ. of California Press, 1993
  • Before Big Science: The Pursuit of Modern Chemistry and Physics, 1800-1940, Harvard University Press, Reprint 1999, ISBN 0-674-06382-1
  • Was Linus Pauling a Revolutionary Chemist? (Award Address - Dexter Award) in: Bull. Hist. Chem. 25 ( 2000), 73-82.
  • Blackett. Physics, War, and Politics in the Twentieth Century, Harvard University Press, 2004 - ISBN 0-674-01548-7 - about the English physicist Patrick Maynard Stuart Blackett

As editor[edit]

  • The invention of physical science : intersections of mathematics, theology and natural philosophy since the seventeenth century ; essays in honor of Erwin N. Hiebert, Dordrecht [u.a.] : Kluwer, 1992
  • The Cambridge History of Science, Vol. 5: The Modern Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Cambridge University Press, 2002, ISBN 0-521-57199-5

Research interests[edit]

  • The history of chemistry and physics since the eighteenth century in Western Europe, Great Britain and the United States
  • The social and cultural history of science, including laboratory science, university education, and the political activities of scientists
  • The philosophy of science, especially relations between theory and evidence

Current Research: studies of the Hungarian-born physical chemist Michael Polanyi and the British physicist and Nobel laureate P.M.S. Blackett

Personal life[edit]

Mary Jo Nye is married to historian of sexuality Robert A. Nye and they have one daughter, Lesley. Mary Jo lives with her husband in Oregon.

External links[edit]