Past Recipients of the Neville Prize in Bibliography or Biography

Robert Schofield

Robert Schofield, winner of the 2006 Neville Prize, stands by a portrait of Joseph Priestley, who inspired his prizewinning book.

Michael Hunter, 2011

Boyle: Between God and Science (2009)

Educated at Jesus College, Cambridge, and Worcester College, Oxford, Michael Hunter has spent virtually his entire career at Birkbeck College, University of London. His research has focused on the intellectual history of 17th- and early 18th-century England. His first monograph was on the biographer and virtuoso John Aubrey, and he has also written extensively on the early history of the Royal Society; but his main scholarly effort has been devoted to the aristocrat and natural philosopher Robert Boyle. After cataloging Boyle’s vast archive Hunter was chiefly responsible for the definitive editions of Boyle’s Works, Correspondence, and work diaries. He has also published various books and articles reinterpreting Boyle, reaching a climax with his biography Boyle: Between God and Science (Yale University Press, 2009), which was awarded the 2011 Roy G. Neville Prize.

William H. Brock, 2009

William Crookes (1832–1919) and the Commercialization of Science (2008)

William Hodson Brock was born in Brighton, England, in 1936. He graduated from University College London in 1959; he then took a graduate course in the history and philosophy of science at the University of Leicester and was appointed a lecturer in the subject a year later. Brock was awarded a doctorate for a study of the chemical career of William Prout in 1966, which was subsequently expanded into the book Protyle to Proton (1985). 

In the 1960s Leicester developed an interdisciplinary graduate-studies program in Victorian Studies and, in addition to teaching and researching in history of science, Brock directed the Victorian Studies Center between 1966 and 1990. He retired in 1998 and moved back to the south coast of England, where he continues to write.

In 12 books and over 100 papers Brock has concentrated on four principal areas of research: the history of chemistry, the social history of Victorian science and mathematics, the development of scientific education, and the development of scientific periodicals. 

An early interest in 19th-century skeptical attitudes toward atomism led to a collection of essays with D. M. Knight and D. Dallas, The Atomic Debates (1967). Following a visit to Germany in 1973 Brock became interested in the careers of Justus Liebig and his pupil August Wilhelm Hofmann. The edition of their correspondence, Liebig und Hofmann in ihren Briefen (1841–1873), was published in German in 1984, and the biography Justus von Liebig: The Chemical Gatekeeper appeared in English in 1998 and in German two years later. 

Brock’s best-known work, The Norton History of Chemistry (1992/1993), has been translated into Spanish, Polish, German, and Japanese. Brock has had a long association with the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry, both as editor of its journal Ambix (1968–83) and as its chairman (1993 to 2006). He was awarded the ACS’s Dexter Prize for the History of Chemistry in 1995.

Michael D. Gordin, 2007

A Well-Ordered Thing: Dmitrii Mendeleev and the Shadow of the Periodic Table (2004)

Gordin draws a portrait of Mendeleev in three dimensions, detailing his complex relationship with the Russian Empire, his successes and humiliations, and the ideals that shaped his work in politics, culture, and science. Gordin’s background in the history of modern physical sciences, the history of imperial Russia, and the intersection of the two areas uniquely prepared him to take on this story.

An associate professor of history in the Department of History of Science at Princeton University, Gordin earned an A.B. and a Ph.D. from Harvard University. He has published articles on a variety of topics, such as the introduction of science into Russia in the early 18th century, the history of biological warfare in the late Soviet period, the relations between Russian literature and science, and a series of studies on the life and chemistry of Mendeleev, formulator of the periodic system of chemical elements. He is also the author of Five Days in August: How World War II Became a Nuclear War, a history of the atomic bombings of Japan, and a coeditor of the four-volume Science and Society: The History of Modern Physical Sciences in the Twentieth Century.

Robert E. Schofield, 2006

The Enlightened Joseph Priestley: A Study of His Life and Works from 1773 to 1804 (2004)

The Enlightened Joseph Priestley: A Study of His Life and Works from 1773 to 1804 is the second volume of Robert E. Schofield’s definitive biography of one of chemistry’s greatest practitioners.

Schofield, professor of history emeritus at Iowa State University, is uniquely qualified to bring to life the monumental figure of Joseph Priestley. Schofield was born in Nebraska and raised in Colorado; he earned an A.B. in physics from Princeton University, an M.S. in physics from the University of Minnesota, and a Ph.D. in history of science from Harvard University. Schofield has taught at the University of Kansas in Lawrence; Case Institute of Technology, later Case Western Reserve University; and Iowa State University. He became professor emeritus in 1993. He is the editor of A Scientific Autobiography of Joseph Priestley (1773–1804) and the author or editor of numerous other books, including The Lunar Society of Birmingham. His masterworks, The Enlightenment of Joseph Priestley: A Study of His Life and Works from 1733 to 1773 and The Enlightened Joseph Priestley: A Study of His Life and Works from 1773 to 1804, are a culmination of 30 years’ work, research, and study.

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