Price/Webster Prize

The Price/Webster prize is given in recognition of excellence in a research article published in Isis. Eligible articles are those published in issues of Isis three years prior to the year in which the award is given (i.e., the calendar year in which the award is given is not included). The prize may not be split between two articles. Deadline is 1 April of each year.

History of the Prize

The Price/Webster prize began life as Zeitlin-Ver Brugge Prize in 1979. The announcement on the inside back cover of Isis, March 1979, vol. 70. stated, “The History of Science Society announces the establishment of a new prize to encourage the publication in Isis of original research of the highest standard… to the author of the best article in Isis….” The announcement included the information that the first prize would be awarded in 1981, which was incorrect. June 1979 issue of Isis corrected the announcement and gave further information on the prize, as follows.

Zeitlin-Ver Brugge Prize
The History of Science Society announces the sponsorship, through the generosity of Jacob Zeitlin and Josephine Ver Brugge of Los Angeles [booksellers who were big supporters of the HSS], of its new prize to encourage the publication in Isis of original research of the highest standard. Consisting of $250 and a certificate, this prize will be given annually, on the recommendation of the Committee on Isis, to the author of the best article in Isis in the three years prior to the year of the award. It is expected that the first award will take place in 1979, and articles published in Isis between March 1976 and December 1978, inclusive, will be eligible for the prize.

The first prize was awarded in 1979 to Robert Nye for “Heredity or Milieu: The Foundations of European Criminological Theory,” published in Isis in 1976. The prize was later renamed the Derek Price Award and the announcement of the change appeared in the March 1989 issue of Isis.

Derek Price Award
1979-1987: Zeitlin-Ver Brugge Prize
The History of Science Society announces the sponsorship, through the generosity of an anonymous donor, of its prize to encourage the publication in Isis of original research of the highest standard. Consisting of $250 and a certificate, this prize is given annually to the author of an outstanding article in Isis in the three years prior to the award.

The anonymous donors turned out to be Rod and Marjorie Webster. Marjorie Webster further endowed the prize in 2002 after Rod Webster died, asking that it be named in part for him, thus the change to the Derek Price/Rod Webster Prize.

All eligible articles are automatically nominated for this prize.

Past Winners of the Derek Price/Rod Webster Prize

1979 Robert Nye, “Heredity or Milieu: The Foundations of European Criminological Theory,” Isis, 1976, 67: 335-55.
1980 Thomas L. Hankins, “Triplets and Triads: Sir William Rowan Hamilton on the Metaphysics of Mathematics,” Isis, 1977, 68: 175-93.
1981 Linda E. Voigts, “Anglo-Saxon Plant Remedies and the Anglo-Saxons,” Isis, 1979, 70: 250-68.
1982 Timothy Lenoir, “Kant, Blumenbach, and Vital Materialism in German Biology,” Isis, 1980, 71: 77-108.
1983 Alexander Vucinich, “Soviet Physicists and Philosophers in the 1930s: Dynamics of a Conflict,” Isis, 1980, 71: 236-50.
1984 James Secord, “Nature’s Fancy: Charles Darwin and the Breeding of Pigeons,” Isis, 1981, 72: 163-86.
1985 Keith Hutchison, “What Happened to Occult Qualities in the Scientific Revolution?” Isis, 1982, 73: 233-53.
1986 Mara Beller, “Matrix Theory Before Schrödinger: Philosophy, Problems, Consequences,” Isis, 1983, 74: 469-91.
1987 Richard S. Westfall, “Scientific Patronage: Galileo and the Telescope,” Isis, 1985, 76: 11-30.
1988 Owen Hannaway, “Laboratory Design and the Aim of Science: Andreas Libavius versus Tycho Brahe,” Isis, 1986, 77: 585-610.
1989 David C. Lindberg, “Science as Handmaiden: Roger Bacon and the Patristic Tradition,” Isis, 1987, 78: 511-36.
1990 Steven Shapin, “The House of Experiment in Seventeenth-Century England,” Isis, 1988, 79: 373-404.
1991 Mario Biagioli, “Galileo the Emblem Maker,” Isis, 1990, 81: 230-58.
1992 Sharon Kingsland, “The Battling Botanist: Daniel Trembly MacDougal, Mutation Theory, and the Rise of Experimental Evolutionary Biology in America 1900-1912,” Isis, 1991, 82: 479-509.
1993 John Harley Warner, “Ideals of Science and Their Discontents in late Nineteenth-century American Medicine,” Isis, 1991, 82: 454-78.
1994 Mary Terrall, “Representing the Earth’s Shape: The Polemics Surrounding Maupertuis’s Expedition to Lapland,” Isis, 1992, 83: 218-37.
1995 Paula Findlen, “Science as a Career in Enlightenment Italy: The Strategies of Laura Bassi,” Isis, 1993, 84: 441-69.
1996 John Carson, “Army Alpha, Army Brass, and the Search for Army Intelligence,” Isis, 1993, 84: 278-309.
1997 William J. Ashworth, “Memory, Efficiency, and Symbolic Analysis: Charles Babbage, John Herschel, and the Industrial Mind,” Isis, 1996, 87: 629-53.
1998 Deborah E. Harkness, “Managing an Experimental Household: The Dees of Mortlake and the Practice of Natural Philosophy,” Isis, 1997, 88: 247-62.
1999 Lynn K. Nyhart, “Civic and Economic Zoology in Nineteenth-Century Germany: The ‘Living Communities’ of Karl Möbius,” Isis, 1998, 89: 605-30.
2000 Emily Thompson, “Dead Rooms and Live Wires: Harvard, Hollywood, and the Deconstruction of Architectural Acoustics, 1900-1930,” Isis, 1997, 88: 597-626.
2001 Mary Henninger-Voss, “Working Machines and Noble Mechanics: Guidobaldo del Monte and the Translation of Knowledge,” Isis, 2000, 91: 232-59.
2002 Daniel Schneider, “Local Knowledge, Environmental Politics, and the Founding of Ecology in the United States: Stephen Forbes and ‘The Lake as Microcosm’ (1887),” Isis, 2000, 91: 681-705.
2003 Peter Neushul and Zuoyue Wang, “Between the Devil and the Deep Sea: C.K. Tseng, Mariculture and the Politics of Science in Modern China,” Isis, 2000, 91: 59-88.
2004 Scott Knowles & Stuart W. Leslie, “‘Industrial Versailles”: Eero Saarinen’s Corporate Campuses for GM, IBM, and AT&T,” Isis, 2001, 92: 1-33.
2005 Marc J. Ratcliffe, “Abraham Trembley’s Strategy of Generosity and the Scope of Celebrity in the Mid-Eighteenth Century,” Isis, 2004, 95: 555-75.
2006 Maria D. Lane, “Geographers of Mars: Cartographic Inscription and Exploration Narrative in Late Victorian Representatives of the Red Planet,” Isis, 2005, 96: 477-506.


Thomas L. Hankins, “A ‘Large and Graceful Sinuosity’: John Herschel’s Graphical Method,” Isis, 2006, 97: 605-33.


Daryn Lehoux, “Observers, Objects, and the Embedded Eye: or, Seeing and Knowing in Ptolemy and Galen,” Isis, 2007, 98: 447-67.


Angela N. H. Creager & Gregory Morgan, “After the Double Helix: Rosalind Franklin’s Research on Tobacco Mosaic Virus,” Isis, 2008, 99: 239-72.


Elizabeth A. Williams, “Neuroses of the Stomach: Eating, Gender, and Psychopathology in French Medicine, 1800–1870,” Isis, 2007, 98: 54–79.


Nuria Valverde Pérez, “Small Parts: Crisóstomo Martínez (1638-1694), Bone Histology, and the Visual Making of Body Wholeness,” Isis2009, 100: 505-36.


Peter Pesic, “Hearing the Irrational: Music and the Development of the Modern Concept of Number,” Isis, Vol. 101, No. 3, (September 2010): 501-530.


Richard Bellon, “Inspiration in the Harness of Daily Labor: Darwin, Botany, and the Triumph of Evolution,” Isis, Vol. 102, No. 3, (September 2011): 393-420.


Warwick Anderson, “Hybridity, Race, and Science: The Voyage of the Zaca, 1934-1935,” Isis, Vol. 103, No. 2, (June 2012): 229-253.


Christopher Crenner, “Race and Laboratory Norms: The Critical Insights of Julian Herman Lewis (1891-1989),” Isis 105, no. 3 (September 2014): 477-507.


Megan Raby, “Ark and Archive: Making a Place for Long-Term Research on Barro Colorado Island, Panama,”Isis 106, no. 4 (2015): 798-824.