Photo by Tony RinaldoPhoto by Tony Rinaldo
PeterGalison
2009–2010
Walter Jackson Bate Fellow
Harvard University
History of Science, Technology, or Medicine
Building Crashing Thinking

Peter Galison is the Joseph Pellegrino University Professor and the director of the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments at Harvard University. He is interested in the intersection of philosophical and historical questions such as what, at a given time, convinces people that an experiment is correct and how scientific subcultures form interlanguages of theory. More broadly, Galison’s work explores the complex interaction among the three principal subcultures of twentieth- and twenty-first-century physics: experimentation, instrumentation, and theory.

During his fellowship year, Galison will complete “Building Crashing Thinking,” a book about technologies that reform the self, and begin a feature documentary film, Wastelands. He has published How Experiments End (University of Chicago Press, 1987), Image and Logic: A Material Culture of Microphysics (University of Chicago Press, 1997), Einstein’s Clocks, Poincaré’s Maps: Empires of Time (Norton, 2003), and, with Lorraine Daston, Objectivity (Zone Books, 2007). Galison has also launched several projects examining the powerful crosscurrents between physics and other fields, including coedited volumes on the relationships among science, art, architecture, philosophy, and authorship. He cowrote and coproduced his first documentary film, Ultimate Weapon: The H-bomb Dilemma (2000), about the politics of science, with Pamela Hogan. His second, Secrecy (2008), with Robb Moss, about national security and democracy, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

Galison earned his PhD in 1983 from Harvard University. In 1997, he was named a MacArthur Fellow, and he is a 2009 Guggenheim Fellow. Together with Robb Moss, he is also a Harvard Film Study Center Fellow for 2009–2010. In 1999, he won a Max Planck Research Award.

This information is accurate as of the fellowship year indicated for each fellow.
Photo by Tony Rinaldo