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Roy G. Neville Prize in Bibliography or Biography

The Science History Institute is proud not only to honor history-making scientists through its awards program but to honor authors whose work has preserved those stories for generations to come.

Named for chemist and bibliophile Roy G. Neville, the Neville Prize recognizes outstanding works of biography or bibliography. In order to be considered for nomination the work must have been published during a period of five calendar years immediately preceding the year of competition.

2019 Awardee: Helge Kragh

Helge Kragh

Helge Kragh

Helge Kragh

The Science History Institute is pleased to honor Helge Kragh’s book Julius Thomsen: A Life in Chemistry and Beyond with the eighth Roy G. Neville Prize in Bibliography or Biography. The prize was awarded on Thursday, October 17, 2019, during the Science History Institute’s Board Dinner.

Helge Kragh is a historian of science who examines the development of physics, chemistry, and astronomy in the 19th century. His biographical study Julius Thomsen: A Life in Chemistry and Beyond was published by the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters in 2016. In this book Kragh covers Thomsen’s important contributions to thermochemistry, chemical industry, and atomic theory, which he relates to the international development of chemistry between 1850 and 1905. The book also provides an account of Thomsen’s personal life and the period in which he lived.

More recently Kragh has written a scientific biography of another Danish scientist from the same period, Ludvig Lorenz: A Nineteenth-Century Theoretical Physicist (2018). Thomsen and Lorenz were acquainted and shared some scientific interests.

Kragh holds doctorates in physics and philosophy. He has served as a professor of the history of science at Cornell University, the University of Oslo, and Aarhus University in Denmark, and is currently emeritus professor at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen. His latest book, coedited with Malcolm Longair, is The Oxford Handbook of the History of Modern Cosmology (2019).


Previous Winners of the Neville Prize

  • John C. Powers (2017)
    Inventing Chemistry: Herman Boerhaave and the Reform of the Chemical Arts

  • Melvyn Usselman (2016)
    Pure Intelligence: The Life of William Hyde Wollaston

  • Mary Jo Nye (2013)
    Michael Polanyi and His Generation: Origins of the Social Construction of Science

  • Michael Hunter (2011)
    Boyle: Between God and Science

  • William H. Brock (2009)
    William Crookes (1832–1919) and the Commercialization of Science

  • Michael D. Gordin (2007)
    A Well-Ordered Thing: Dmitrii Mendeleev and the Shadow of the Periodic Table

  • Robert E. Schofield (2006)
    The Enlightened Joseph Priestley: A Study of His Life and Works from 1773 to 1804