BSHS Singer Prize 2020 – Submissions Closed!

The British Society for the History of Science is delighted to invite submissions for the Singer Prize 2020.  The prize, of up to £500, is awarded every two years to the writer of an essay outstanding in research, novelty and expression, based on original research into any aspect of the history of science, technology or medicine. The prize is intended for recent entrants into the profession. Candidates must be registered for a postgraduate degree or have been awarded such in the five years prior to the closing date (30 April 2020).  All nationalities are welcome.

Essays must not exceed 8,000 words and should be submitted in English.  They should adhere to BJHS guidance to authors in all respects. The prize may be awarded to the writer of one outstanding essay, or may be awarded to two or more entrants. Publication in the British Journal for the History of Science will be at the discretion of the Editor. Essays under consideration elsewhere or in press are not eligible.

An announcement of the winning essay will be made in a future issue of this Newsletter then posted on the BSHS website. The author may well be asked to give a lecture based on its contents at the BSHS Annual Conference or on another mutually convenient occasion. The deadine was 30 April 2020.

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Previous Winners of the BSHS Singer Prize

  • 2018: Pierre Verschueren (Collège de France), ‘“Great things are done when (Wo)Men & Mountains meet”: The Summer School for Theoretical Physics at Les Houches (1950s-1960s), or How Girl Scouts, the Corps des Mines and NATO helped rebuild French physics’. Runner-up: Matthew Holmes (University of Leeds) for ‘Fungi and Houseflies: The Septic Fringe and the Emergence of Edwardian Biotechnology’.
  • 2016: Kit Heintzman (Harvard University) for “A cabinet of the ordinary:  Revolutionizing veterinary education, 1766-1795”.
  • 2014: Joint Award to Jenny Bulstrode (Cambridge) for “The Industrial Archaeology of Deep Time” and Sarah Swenson (Oxford) for “’Morals can not be drawn from facts but guidance may be’: The early life of W.D. Hamilton’s theory of inclusive fitness.” Michael Barany (Princeton) was given a Special Commendation for “Integration by Parts: Wordplay, Metaphor, and the Creation of an Intercontinental Mathematical Theory in the Early Cold War.”
  • 2012: Iain Watts (Princeton University) for ‘”We want no authors”: William Nicholson and the contested role of the scientific journal in Britain, 1797-1813.  The prize was given to Iain in person at the ICHSTM congress in Manchester in July 2013.
  • 2010: Don Leggett (University of Kent) for “Replication and replacing: comparative contexts of naval science, 1868-1903”. Special Commendations were awarded to: Jenny Bangham, University of Cambridge for ‘The Rhesus controversy: scientific notations, paper tools and their articulation’; Michael Barany, Princeton University for ’Savage numbers: counting, race and the evolution of civilization in Victorian prehistory’; Susannah Gibson, University of Cambridge for’ Newtonian vegetables and perceptive plants’
  • 2008: Melissa Smith (CHSTM, University of Manchester) for “Architects of Armageddon: Scientific advisers and civil defence in Britain, 1945-68”. The Prize was presented at the Society’s Annual Conference at the University of Leicester in July 2009.
  • 2006: In the absence of a clearly outstanding essay, the Singer Prize was not awarded in this year. Please note that the decision not to award the Prize rests entirely with the judges, and is final.
  • 2004: Claire Brock (now at the University of Leicester) for “The Public Worth of Mary Somerville.” Special Commendations were awarded to Néstor Herran (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona), for “Spreading Nucleonics: the Isotope School at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment, 1951-1967” and Prakash Kumar (Yale University) for “Improving Indigo: the Dynamics of Science at the Colonial and Imperial Laboratories, 1898-1913.”
  • 2002: Simone Turchetti (University of Manchester), ‘Atomic secrets and government lies: nuclear science, politics and security in the Pontecorvo case’. Special commendations: Christopher Chilvers (University of Oxford) ‘The dilemmas of seditious men: the Crowther-Hessen correspondence in the 1930s’; Rebekah Higgitt, (Imperial College London), ‘”Newton dispossede!”: the British response to the Pascal forgeries of 1867’
  • 2000: James Sumner (University of Leeds), ‘John Richardson, saccharometry and the pounds-per-barrel extract: the construction of a quantity’
  • 1998: Gregory Radick (University of Cambridge), ‘Morgan’s Canon, Garnerís Phonograph, and the Evolutionary Origins of Language and Reason’
  • 1996: Frances Dawbarn (University of Lancaster), ‘Patronage and Power: the College of Physicians and the Jacobean court’
  • 1994: Joint Award. David Wright, ‘John Fryer and the Shanghai Polytechnic: making space for science in nineteenth-century China’; Paul Lucier (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), ‘Court and Controversy: patenting science in the nineteenth century’
  • 1992: Jon Agar (University of Kent at Canterbury), ‘Making a Meal of a Big Dish: the construction of the Jodrell Bank Mark 1 radio telescope as a stable edifice, 1946-57’
  • 1990: Joint Award. Jon Topham (University of Cambridge), ‘Science and Popular Education in the 1830s: the role of the Bridgewater Treatises‘; Mark Harrison (Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, London), ‘Tropical Medicine in Nineteenth-Century India’
  • 1988: Joint Award. Graeme Gooday, University of Kent; Michael Ben-Chaim, University of Cambridge
  • 1986: First Prize: Michael Shortland; Second Prize Andrew Warwick; Commendation: Steve Sturdy
  • 1984: No Award
  • 1982: Joint Award. Simon Schaffer; Mari Williams
  • 1980: M Ridley