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The Way We Trust Now: The Authority of Science and the Character of the Scientist
MONDAY, MARCH 27, 2006

As cultural debates over the meaning and importance of science increasingly filter into the realm of political discourse, it is more important than ever to recognize the unbreakable bonds between scientific thought and modern society. As the Franklin L. Ford Professor of the History of Science at Harvard University, Professor Steven Shapin has brilliantly traced the interaction between science and civilization as they continue to move, erratically but inexorably, into the present era. He is the author of several books regarding the subject of science within a broader societal framework, including Leviathan and the Air-Pump: Hobbes, Boyle and the Experimental Life (1986); A Social History of Truth: Civility and Science in Seventeenth-Century England (1994); and The Scientific Revolution (1996). He is also a frequent contributor to the London Review of Books, and has written for the New Yorker.
Professor Shapin graduated from Reed College in 1966 and earned his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1971. Before joining the faculty at Harvard in 2004 he taught at the University of California,San Diego and at the Science Studies Unit of Edinburgh University. He has received numerous awards during his career, including the J.D. Bernal Prize of the Society for Social Studies of Science, the Robert K. Merton Prize of the American Sociological Association, and the Herbert Dingle Prize of the British Society for the History of Science. In 2005 he was presented with the Erasmus Prize, awarded to those who make exceptional contributions to European culture, society, or social science.