BSHS announces 2020 prize for best monograph in history of science

The BSHS (British Society for the History of Science) is delighted to announce the winner of the Pickstone prize, awarded once every two years for the best English-language scholarly book in the history of science, technology and medicine. The 2020 prize is awarded to:

  • Shinjini Das, Vernacular Medicine in Colonial India: Family, Market and Homoeopathy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019)

The panel commented:

‘This outstanding book uncovers the archives that tell the story about how homeopathy was brought to Bengal in the 1930s. It is a highly sophisticated work and its development of the concept of the vernacular potentially transforms old debates about lay and professional discourses of science. It blends questions of nationalism, regionalism, modernity and tradition with great aplomb, and develops the nexus of family and state as a site for science. Das’s research exemplifies how much the discipline has to gain from research on the global south as a means to understand the nature of our own knowledge as well as that of science.’

The panel agreed that due to the strength of all the other books on the shortlist, and their diversity of character, it would not award a runner-up prize. Instead, it highlights the excellence of all three remaining shortlistees:

  • Sarah Dry, Waters of the World: The Story of the Scientists who Unravelled the Mysteries of our Seas, Glaciers, and Atmosphere – and Made the Planet Whole (London: Scribe, 2019)
  • Jacqueline Feke, Ptolemy’s Philosophy: Mathematics as a Way of Life (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2018)
  • Erika Milam, Creatures of Cain: The Hunt for Human Nature in Cold War America (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2019)

You can attend a panel discussion with the shortlisted authors on the final day of the BSHS Digital Festival: