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Schaffer at a pub in Cambridge, UK, 2015
1 January 1955|
Trinity College, Cambridge (B.A., Ph.D.)|
University of Cambridge|
Darwin College, Cambridge
Imperial College London
University of California, Los Angeles
|Thesis||Newtonian cosmology and the steady state (1980)|
Simon J. Schaffer (born 1 January 1955) is a professor of the history and philosophy of science at the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge and was editor of The British Journal for the History of Science from 2004 to 2009.
Early life and education
Schaffer was born in Southampton in 1955. His family moved to Brisbane, Australia that same year, returning to the UK in 1965 to live in Brighton. His father, Bernard, was an academic social scientist who was a professorial fellow at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex from 1966 until his death in 1984. Simon's mother, Sheila, who died in 2010, was a university librarian and Labour councillor who was Mayor of Brighton in 1995.
Schaffer attended Varndean Grammar School for Boys in Brighton before studying Natural Sciences at Trinity College, Cambridge, specialising in the history and philosophy of science in his final year. While at Trinity, he captained the winning college team in the 1974 University Challenge. After completing his BA, Schaffer went to Harvard University for a year as a Kennedy Scholar to study the history of science. He returned to Cambridge in 1976, and gained his PhD in 1980 with the thesis Newtonian cosmology and the steady state. He is Jewish.
Schaffer has taught at Imperial College London and the University of California, Los Angeles. Since 1985, he has been a Fellow of Darwin College, Cambridge. He has authored or co-authored numerous books, including Leviathan and the Air-Pump: Hobbes, Boyle, and the Experimental Life with Steven Shapin. In addition to his work at Cambridge, he has been a presenter on the BBC, in particular the series Light Fantastic broadcast on BBC Four in 2004.
Awards and honours
In 2005, Schaffer shared the Erasmus Prize with Steven Shapin for Leviathan and the Air-Pump. In 2013, he received the Sarton Medal, the most prestigious honor awarded by the History of Science Society, in recognition of his "lifetime of scholarly achievement". In 2018, he received the Dan David Prize.
- Schaffer, Simon; Pinch, Trevor; Gooding, David (1989). The uses of experiment: studies in the natural sciences. Cambridge England New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521337687.
- "Schaffer, Simon, 1955-". Library of Congress Name Authority File. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
- "Past editors' favourite papers published during their time in office". The British Journal for the History of Science. 50 (2): 173–179. June 2017. doi:10.1017/S0007087417000061. ISSN 0007-0874.
- Macfarlane, Alan (2008-11-17), Harrison, Sarah, ed., Interview of Simon Schaffer, University of Cambridge
- "Bernard Schaffer Collection". University of Bath. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
- Avis, Peter (18 March 2010). "Sheila Schaffer obituary". The Guardian.
- Schaffer, Simon (1980). Newtonian cosmology and the steady state (PhD thesis). University of Cambridge.
- "Simon Schaffer". www.alanmacfarlane.com. Retrieved 2016-11-02.
- Schaffer, Simon; Shapin, Steven (2011). Leviathan and the Air-Pump: Hobbes, Boyle, and the Experimental Life (New in Paper). Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-15020-6.
- "BBC Four - Mechanical Marvels: Clockwork Dreams".
- "BBC - Press Office - Light Fantastic Simon Schaffer interview". Archived from the original on 4 June 2013.
- Light Fantastic on IMDb
- Simon Schaffer on IMDb
- Schaffer's page on the Department of History and Philosophy of Science website at the University of Cambridge
- CBC interview—Ideas: How to Think about Science
- Simon Schaffer interviewed by Alan Macfarlane 27 June, continued 1 and 2 July 2008 (film)
- Simon Schaffer's 2010 Tarner Lectures "When the stars threw down their spears": Histories of Astronomy and Empire
- Simon Schaffer's Videos at Imperial College