Three Historians of Science Share the Dan David Prize of One Million Dollars for Their Contributions to Humanity

Prof. Lorraine Daston of the Max Planck Institute, Prof. Simon Schaffer of the University of Cambridge, and Prof. Evelyn Fox Keller of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology received the Dan David Prize for their outstanding contributions in the field of History of Science. The Laureates are sharing in the prize of US $1 million.

Pictured from left: Prof. Josef Klafter (president of TAU), Prof. Lorraine Daston, Prof. Evelyn Fox Keller, Prof. Simon Schaffer and Mr. Ariel David (Dan David Prize). Picture Credit – Israel Hadari

The internationally renowned Dan David Prize annually awards three prizes of one million USD per prize to outstanding figures for a remarkable achievement in selected fields within the three dimensions of time—Past, Present and Future. “Past” usually relates to fields including history, archaeology, paleontology, and biography; “Present” includes fields such as arts, media, policy, and economics; and “Future” recognizes one of the exact or natural sciences and technology.

This year, the “Past” category focused on history of science and was awarded to Prof. Lorraine Daston (Germany) for her groundbreaking historical work on “Ideals and Practices of Rationality”; Prof. Evelyn Fox Keller (US) for her pioneering work on language, gender, and science; and Prof. Simon Schaffer (UK) for the way his work has transformed our understanding of the intricate role of science in history. Both professors Daston and Schaffer have won the HSS’s Sarton Medal for outstanding scholarly achievement in the history of science.

In her Award acceptance speech, Prof. Fox Keller said, “I want to express my gratitude to be joined by Prof. Daston and Prof. Schaffer who are the leading lights of the History of Science, and to the impressive list of past Dan David Laureates, providing abundant testimony to the innovation that the foundation has been so committed to.”

During the ceremony Mr. Ariel David, Dan David Prize board member, announced the selected fields for the 2019 Dan David Prize. The “Past” category will be dedicated to Macro History, the “Present” to Defending Democracy, and the “Future” to Combating Climate Change. Explaining the choice, Mr. David said: “We live in times when the place of education and reason is being questioned. Science and its most basic conclusions are being challenged, while around the world, in different ways and to different degrees, freedom of the press, free elections and the very foundations of democracy and liberalism are under attack. The fields for next year’s prize reflect this troubling turn.”