Never Pure: Historical Studies of Science as If It Was Produced by People with Bodies, Situated in Time, Space, Culture, and Socie

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Product Details

Johns Hopkins University Press
Publish Date
6.1 X 9.3 X 1.5 inches | 1.95 pounds

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About the Author

Steven Shapin is the Franklin L. Ford Professor of the History of Science at Harvard, and his books include Leviathan and the Air-Pump: Hobbes, Boyle, and the Experimental Life (with Simon Schaffer), A Social History of Truth: Civility and Science in Seventeenth-Century England, and The Scientific Revolution. He has written for the New Yorker and writes regularly for the London Review of Books.


What makes his essays so enjoyable and alive . . . is their leaping range of reference, always running one step ahead and urging us to catch up.

--Jenny Uglow "New York Review of Books"

An impressive work and one that scientists will benefit from reading. Shapin reminds us that . . . neither scientists nor science itself can be separated from the context of peoples' minds, bodies, cultures, societies. Expectations based on any other understanding are simply unrealistic.

--Sam Lemonick "Chemical and Engineering News"

He is a graceful and engaging essayist, and the ample selection of essays in Never Pure . . . affords an excellent basis for reflecting on what he has had to say about the life of science.

--Robert E. Kohler "Science"

Never Pure will enrich the bookshelf of any historian of science.

--Katy Barrett "Endeavour"

Professor Shapin has a sense of humor, a good eye for an anecdote and the ability to turn a phrase.

--Katherine Bouton "New York Times"

While it might not be for novices, anyone who is interested in how and why science enjoys a privileged position as a source of knowledge should read Shapin's take on the authority given to it vis-à-vis religion and morality, why it is compliment to be both a gentleman and a scholar, and why it matters whether Newton ate chicken or Darwin farted.

--Katherine Bouton "Seed Magazine"

A highly labored style of writing is deployed to perform scholarly virtues that go by names like 'careful, ' 'accurate, ' and 'rich.'

--Steve Fuller "Aestimatio: Critical Reviews in the History of Science"