CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State University professor Mary Jo Nye has been awarded the prestigious Sarton Medal from the History of Science Society.

The Sarton Medal is the highest honor that the History of Science Society gives scholars in the discipline. The award recognizes a lifetime of scholarly achievement and is presented annually.

Nye is the Horning Professor of the Humanities and professor of history at OSU. She was presented the award of the History of Science Society's meeting on Nov. 3 in Vancouver, B.C.

In presenting the award, Alan Rocke, a professor with Case Western Reserve University, cited Nye's productivity in a number of specialty fields within the history of science as one of the reasons she was honored. Nye has written a number of books, including "Molecular Reality: A Perspective on the Scientific Work of Jean Perrin" (Elsevier, 1972), "Science in the Provinces" (University of California Press, 1986), and "From Chemical Philosophy to Theoretical Chemistry: Dynamics of Matter and Dynamics of Disciplines, 1800-1950 (University of California Press, 1993). Her latest, "Blackett: Physics, War, and Politics in the Twentieth Century" (Harvard University Press), came out in 2004.

"Mary Jo's work has brilliantly illuminated important areas of the history of modern European and American physics and chemistry, with significant additional contributions to institutional and disciplinary history, philosophy of science, and the social and political relations of science," Rocke said.

"Her elegant writing is always a joy to read, her research as deep as it is broad and her historical arguments are judicious and convincing."

Nye attended the event with her husband and OSU professor Bob Nye, as well as other faculty and graduate students from the history department.

"It's somewhat daunting to receive a 'lifetime achievement' award, since I'm not ready to call it a day," Nye said. "However, I know of Sarton medalists who have done even more research and writing after they received the award than beforehand."

For information about the Sarton Medal, go to


Mary Jo Nye,

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