Prizes and Awards in Science before Nobel. 5th Watson Seminar in the Material and Visual History of Science


September 5, 2016, The Nobel Museum, Stockholm

Organized by Marco Beretta, Gustav Källstrand and Ulf Larsson

Within the world wide scientific community there is be little doubt that the Nobel prize has for the last century been by far the most important recognition a scientist can get. The universal prestige of the Nobel prize has overshadowed the numerous attempts to award a varied typology of prizes to creative scientists and inventors that has existed since classical antiquity. However, it took some time before a relatively standardized prize system became widely accepted; it was only with the organization of scientific knowledge within the first European academies of sciences during second half of the seventeenth century that prizes and awards found a relatively stable institutionalisation. The 5th Watson seminar of the Material and Visual History of Science intends to explore the changing role of prizes in the history of science before the institutionalisation of the Nobel prize through a selection of significant and varied case studies.

Marco Beretta (Università di Bologna): By way of introduction, the Invention of Eponyms

Serafina Cuomo (Birkbeck College, London): Rewarding science in ancient Greece and Rome. Commentator Liba Taub (University of Cambridge)

Monica Azzolini (The University of Edinburgh): Prized Advice: Rewarding Astrologers and Physicians at Italian Renaissance Courts. Commentator Susana Gomez Lopez (Universidad Complutense de Madrid)

Patrice Bret (Centre Koyré – Paris): Funding and directing Research or rewarding Scientific Achievements? Two centuries of Prizes at the Paris Academy of Sciences. Commentator Charlotte Bigg (CNRS)

Rebekah Higgitt (University of Kent): Prizes and Medals at the Royal Society of London in the 18th and 19th centuries. Commentator Antonio Clericuzio (Università di Roma 3)

Sven Widmalm (Uppsala University): Awarding Science and Scholarship at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences before 1900. Commentator Jenny Beckman (Uppsala University)

Paolo Brenni (CNR): Prizes, Medals and honourable Mentions: How instrument Makers were rewarded in the 19th century. Commentator Olov Amelin (Nobel Museum)

Svante Lindqvist (KVA): Concluding Remarks