Arnold Thackray received his Ph.D. from Cambridge University in 1966. He has held faculty appointments in Oxford (visiting fellow, All Souls College), Cambridge (fellow, Churchill College) and at the LSE, Harvard, the Institute for Advanced Study, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (Stanford) and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He was the founding Chairman of the Department of History and Sociology of Science, and today is the Joseph Priestley Professor Emeritus. Dr. Thackray is the former president of the Chemical Heritage Foundation.
Dr. Thackray’s interests lie in the historiography of science, and in understanding technology, medicine, and science as elements of modern culture. His first investigations were into European intellectual history and resulted in Atoms and Powers: An Essay on Newtonian Matter-Theory and the Development of Chemistry (1970). That work led on to John Dalton: Critical Assessments of His Life and Science (1972) and--indirectly--to Gentlemen of Science: The Early Years of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (two volumes, 1981 and 1985, co-authored with Jack Morrell). A second train of research concerns the American chemical and chemical engineering community in the past century, especially within a context of quantitative history and policy concerns. The co-edited volume Toward a Metric of Science: The Advent of Science Indicators (1974) was followed by Chemistry in America, 1876-1976: An Historical Application of Science Indicators (1985, co-authored with R.F. Bud, P.T. Carroll and J.L. Sturchio) an edited series of volumes on The Chemical Sciences in Society and, most recently, by Arnold Beckman (2000). A third, more occasional line of enquiry has resulted in various articles on the development of the history and sociology of science as a field of scholarly endeavor, and in edited volumes on Science and Values: Patterns of Tradition and Change (1974), and on Science After Forty (1994). Dr. Thackray served as editor of Isis, the official journal of the History of Science Society, for seven years, and as editor of the Society’s newer journal, Osiris, for ten years.
Dr. Thackray has been active in the public life of scholarship, serving on a number of boards, including that of the American Council on Education. He is a former President of the Society for Social Studies of Science, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Historical Society and the Royal Society of Chemistry. Dr. Thackray was the Treasurer of the American Council of Learned Societies from 1985 to 1996, and is currently a Trustee of the University of Pennsylvania Press. He has twice been awarded fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, has served as George Sarton lecturer of AAAS, and is a recipient of the Dexter Award of the American Chemical Society.