Charles Gillispie

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Charles Coulston Gillispie (born August 6, 1918 in Harrisburg , Pennsylvania - † October 6, 2015 ) was an American historian of science . His main area of ​​work was the development of the French scientific system in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

During his academic career, he worked at Princeton University and the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) in Paris .

Scientific career

Gillispie grew up in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and studied at Wesleyan University (degree in 1940). From 1946 to 1947 he taught history as a teaching fellow and tutor at Harvard University , where he received his doctorate in 1949. From 1947 he taught at Princeton University ; There he worked from 1947 to 1950 as an "Instructor in History", from 1950 to 1956 he was an assistant professor of history, and then until 1959 as an Associate Professor of History . From 1959 to 1987 he was Professor of the History of Science (and founder of a corresponding program within the History Faculty) at Princeton University (Dayton-Stockton Professor for the History of Science). In addition, from 1980 to 1982 and 1985 to 1987 he was Directeur d'Etudes Associé at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris.

Gillispie is known as the editor of the monumental, multi-volume Dictionary of Scientific Biography (Charles Scribners, New York) , published between 1970 and 1980 . His contribution to this dictionary also gave rise to his biography of Pierre Simon de Laplace . He also wrote mainly about French history of science. He edited , among other things, the graphics of the French encyclopedia on trade and industry by Denis Diderot and others and dealt with Napoleon's Egypt expedition, where he re-edited the report of the expedition.

In 1963, Gillispie was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 1972 to the American Philosophical Society . In 1986 he became a corresponding member (fellow) of the British Academy . In 1984 he received the George Sarton Medal for the History of Science and in 1986 the Koyré Medal . In 1997 he was awarded the Balzan Prize "for the extraordinary contribution that he has made with his imaginative and precise works as well as the publication of his great reference work on the history and philosophy of science".


  • as editor: Dictionary of Scientific Biography , 16 volumes, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York 1970–1980, ISBN 0-684-10114-9 , Supplement II. Ed. by Frederic Lawrence Holmes, 2 volumes, 1990, ISBN 0-684 -16962-2 (ISBN of the complete edition).
  • Pierre Simon de Laplace 1749–1827 - a life in exact science , Princeton University Press 1997
  • The Montgolfier Brothers and the Invention of Aviation 1783–1784 , with a word on the importance of ballooning for the science of heat and the art of building railroads, Princeton University Press 1983 (French edition 1989)
  • Science and polity in France at the end of the old regime , Princeton University Press 1980 (for which he received the Pfizer Award from the History of Science Society)
  • Science and polity in France: the revolutionary and Napoleonic years , Princeton University Press 2004
  • Lazare Carnot Savant - a monograph treating Carnot's scientific work , with facsimile reproduction of his unpublished writings on mechanics and on the calculus, Princeton University Press 1971 (with an essay by Adolf Juschkewitsch )
  • with Raffaele Pisano: Lazare and Sadi Carnot. A scientific and filial relationship , Springer, 2nd edition 2014
  • Genesis and Geology - a study of the relation of scientific thought, natural theology and social opinion in Great Britain 1790–1850 , Harvard University Press 1951, Harper 1959, 2nd edition Harvard UP, 1969
  • Edge of objectivity - an essay on the history of scientific ideas , Princeton University Press 1960, 1990
  • Essays and reviews in history and history of science 2007


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Charles Coulston Gillispie dies
  2. ^ Two supplement volumes appeared in 1990
  3. ^ A Diderot Pictorial Encyclopedia of Trades and Industry: Manufacturing and the Technical Arts in Plates Selected from L'Encyclopédie of Denis Diderot . 2 volumes, Dover Publications, New York, 1959
  4. ^ Gillispie “The scientific importance of Napoleon's Egyptian Expedition”, Scientific American, September 1994
  5. ^ Gillespie: Monuments of Egypt: The Napoleonic edition: The complete archeological plates from "La description de l´Egypte" , Princeton Architectural Press 1987, 1994
  6. ^ Member History: Charles C. Gillispie. American Philosophical Society, accessed August 20, 2018 (English, with a short biography).
  7. ^ Fellows: Charles Gillispie. British Academy, accessed August 20, 2018 .