UCL News


History of Science prize for Dr Hasok Chang

25 May 2006

An essay from a book that questions the basic truths underpinning our understanding of temperature has won Dr Hasok Chang, Deputy Head of UCL Science and Technology Studies, the coveted Ivan Slade Prize from the British Society for the History of Science.

Dr Hasok Chang "Adventures of a Scientific Potter: The Rise and Fall of the Wedgwood Pyrometer" saw off 30 entries from historians in ten countries to land Dr Chang the £300 prize, which is awarded every two years for an essay that deals with an episode in the history of science from the viewpoint of conceptual innovation or scientific methodology.

A Reader in Philosophy of Science, Dr Chang investigates the invention of Wedgwood's pyrometer through the lens of complementary science: posing questions that are excluded from current specialist science for their supposed blinding obviousness to demonstrate the spectacular nature of achievements we take for granted today.

The essay forms part of Dr Chang's book 'Inventing Temperature' published by Oxford University Press, which recovers "lost" knowledge that has fallen by the wayside as scientists concentrate on increasingly narrow areas of research. Straddling philosophy, science and history, Dr Chang hopes the book will engage the public as well as specialists in the process of scientific inquiry."It is a great honour to receive the Slade Prize, especially as it is a positive recognition of the blend of historical and philosophical understanding of science that I have been trying to promote. I am proud to be continuing in UCL's pioneering tradition in the humanistic study of science. Our department, founded in 1924, was the first UK department to be established in the field," commented Dr Chang.

The prize will be presented to Dr Chang at the annual meeting of the British Society for the History of Science in Canterbury, 7-9 July 2006.

To find out more about the prize, or to buy Dr Chang's book, follow the links below.

Image: Dr Hasok Chang, winner of the 2006 Ivan Slade Prize from the British Society for the History of Science