Oregon State University

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Biography and the History of Science

Center Guest Lecture at the Autzen House

Monday, February 17, 2014 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Center guest lecture by Mary Jo Nye, Professor Emerita of History, School of History, Philosophy, and Religion, OSU

A British poll reported biography to be the most popular form of nonfiction writing and more popular than contemporary fiction. As a genre at the intersection of history and literature, biography challenges its writer to decide on organizational rules and elements of plot that are faithful to the subject and attractive to the reader. Mary Jo Nye suggests that there are three principal forms of biography in which the subject is a scientist: the life of the scientist, the scientific life, and the life of scientific collaboration. She explains the meaning of these terms by drawing upon a range of recent biographies in modern science, including her own work.

Mary Jo Nye is Professor Emerita of History at Oregon State University.
Among her books are biographical studies that focus on the scientists Jean Perrin (1972), P.M.S. Blackett (2004), and Michael Polanyi (2011). She has contributed biographies to the New Dictionary of National Biography, the Dictionary of Scientific Biography, and the New Dictionary of Scientific Biography.

Autzen House (campus map)
811 SW Jefferson Ave.
Joy Futrell
1 541 737 2450
joy.futrell at oregonstate.edu
Center for the Humanities