Steven Shapin

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Steven Shapin
Steven Shapin, HSS 2008.jpg
Shapin in 2008
Born New York, United States
Education BA in Biology
MA in History & Sociology of Science
PhD in History and Sociology of Science
Alma mater University of Pennsylvania
Reed College
Occupation Academic
Employer Keele University
Stanford University
University of California, San Diego
Harvard University
Known for Research on the sociology of science
Title Franklin L. Ford Professor of the History of Science at Harvard University

Steven Shapin (born 1943, New York) is a historian and sociologist of science. He is the Franklin L. Ford Professor of the History of Science at Harvard University. Before that, he was a professor of sociology at University of California, San Diego, and at the Science Studies Unit, Edinburgh University.

He has written broadly on the history and sociology of science, and is known as a key contributor to the sociology of scientific knowledge. He is probably best known for his influential 1985 book with Simon Schaffer, Leviathan and the Air-Pump: Hobbes, Boyle, and the Experimental Life, for which they received the prestigious Erasmus Prize in 2005. His 1996 book, The Scientific Revolution, has been translated into fourteen languages.

His other honors include the J.D. Bernal Prize and the Ludwik Fleck Prize of the Society for Social Studies of Science, the Robert K. Merton Prize of the American Sociological Association, the Herbert Dingle Prize of the British Society for the History of Science, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.

He is a regular contributor to the London Review of Books and The New Yorker.

Academic Career[edit]

Shapin earned a Biology at Reed College in 1966. He completed a subsequent year of study in genetics at the University of Wisconsin. From 1968 to 1971 he studied the history and sociology of science at the University of Pennsylvania earning a PhD for a dissertation titled "The Royal Society of Edinburgh: A Study of the Social Context of Hanoverian Science.”


  • With Barry Barnes (ed.), Natural order : historical studies of scientific culture, Beverly Hills, Calif. : Sage Publications, 1979.
  • With Simon Schaffer, Leviathan and the air-pump : Hobbes, Boyle, and the experimental life ; including a translation of Thomas Hobbes, Dialogus physicus de natura aeris by Simon Schaffer, Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, 1985 ; 1989.
  • A social history of truth : civility and science in seventeenth-century England, Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1994.
  • The scientific revolution, Chicago, IL : University of Chicago Press, 1996.
  • With Christoher Lawrence (ed.), Science incarnate : historical embodiments of natural knowledge, Chicago, Ill. : The University of Chicago Press, 1998.
  • The Scientific Life: A Moral History of a Late Modern Vocation, Chicago, Ill. : The University of Chicago Press, 2008.
  • Never Pure: Historical Studies of Science as if It Was Produced by People with Bodies, Situated in Time, Space, Culture, and Society, and Struggling for Credibility and Authority, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010, 568 pages (ISBN 978-0801894213).

External links[edit]