UCL News


Rave reviews for dictionary of scientific quotations

9 March 2005

The Oxford Dictionary of Scientific Quotations has been published to rave reviews.

The Oxford Dictionary of Scientific Quotations A labour of love for the UCL team who created it, the publication was 15 years in the making.

The publication was edited by Professor Bill Bynum and the late Professor Roy Porter with assistant editing by Dr Sharon Messenger and Ms Caroline Overy from UCL's Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine and contributions from a 10-strong team of distinguished specialist advisors, including UCL's Dr Hasok Chang (Science & Technology Studies) and Professor Robert Sharples (Greek & Latin).

Charting the progress of the great ideas of science, the dictionary includes quotations not just by scientists, but also by non-scientists about science, offering a wider picture of the metaphysical, social, cultural and artistic standing of science down the ages.

Professor Bynum said: "This project was born in the heyday of what was sometimes called the Bynum and Porter Industry. We wanted the dictionary to reflect the richness of the history of science: scientists reflecting on their craft, and reporting key moments they had had on nature and nature's laws. We wanted, too, a generous representation of other voices - poets, novelists, critics, theologians - who had things of substance to say about science and its ambitions. The dictionary redresses the balance for quotations dictionaries, most of which give little coverage to science and scientists. Fortunately for us, there is a lot of scientific writing that is neither average nor tedious."

The volume also offers insight into the thoughts of some of the great figures associated with UCL from its founding to the present day, including UCL's spiritual founder Jeremy Bentham, UCL alumnus Francis Crick and current UCL Professor of Genetics, Steve Jones.

To find out more about the dictionary or the centre use the links below.

UCL's Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine