Winner of the 2018 Nathan Reingold Prize for best essay by a graduate student
Ohad Reiss Sorokin (Princeton University)
This year the Reingold Prize Committee received a record number of nominations, with abundant evidence of the many diverse strengths among the rising cohort of historians of science. From the moment it began comparing notes, however, the committee soon singled out the essay of Ohad Reiss Sorokin, “The Early Biography of ‘Intelligence’ as a Scientific Object: Alfred Binet’s Experiments on his Daughters.” In a masterful synthesis of the experimental practices, concepts, and research objects the French psychologist employed to create an ontological framework for intelligence,” Sorokin has crafted an essay that combines meticulous source work and superb argumentation with a flair for writing that will draw in non-specialists. By carefully delineating two distinct stages in Binet’s concept of intelligence, Sorokin reinvigorates our understanding of the canonical aspect of his research, yet he goes beyond this to demonstrate the subtler consistencies that ultimately linked them, but have been lost to view in the interim. Though biographical in focus, Sorokin’s essay traces important connections with British and German experimental psychology, not least in the explication of Binet’s use of time-measurement devices. Binet’s eclecticism thereby becomes, not the thing that made him singular, but in Sorokin’s deft handling, the locus for a compelling new method borrowing from multiple disciplinary sources.
Daniel Margócsy, Simon Werrett, Karl Hall (Chair)
See Reiss Sorokin’s profile at Princeton University.
See Reiss Sorokin’s profile at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science.