Fellow: Awarded 2009
Field of Study: History of Science and Technology
Competition: US & Canada
Peter Galison is the Joseph Pellegrino University Professor of the History of Science and of Physics at Harvard University. In 1997, he was named a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellow; in 1999, he was a winner of the Max Planck Prize given by the Max Planck Gesellschaft and Humboldt Stiftung. Mr. Galison is interested in the intersection of philosophical and historical questions such as these: What, at a given time, convinces people that an experiment is correct? How do scientific subcultures form interlanguages of theory and things at their borders?
More broadly, Peter Galison's main work explores the complex interaction between the three principal subcultures of twentieth and twenty-first century physics—experimentation, instrumentation, and theory. His books are How Experiments End (1987), Image and Logic (1997), Einstein's Clocks, Poincaré's Maps (2003) and, with L. Daston, Objectivity (2007). In addition, Mr. Galison has launched several projects examining the powerful cross-currents between physics and other fields—including co-edited volumes on the relations between science, art, architecture, philosophy, and authorship. He co-wrote and co-produced a documentary film on the politics of science, Ultimate Weapon: The H-bomb Dilemma (2000, with Pamela Hogan); his second, Secrecy (2008, with Robb Moss), is about national security secrecy and democracy, and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2008. During the period of his Guggenheim Fellowship, he will be finishing a book, Building Crashing Thinking, about technologies that reform the self, and beginning a new feature documentary film, Wastelands.