Mary Jo Nye's research interests include the history of chemistry and physics since the eighteenth century in western Europe, the UK, and the United States; the social and cultural history of science, including laboratory science, university education, and the political activities of scientists; and the philosophy of science, especially relations between theory and evidence. She is the recipient of the 2017 Abraham Pais Prize for History of Physics. The Pais Prize is given annually by the American Physical Society and the American Institute of Physics to recognize outstanding scholarly achievements in the history of physics.
(Photo Right: Mary Jo Nye in Special Collections Valley Library OSU. Photo by Jim Folts)
Research and Activities
Michael Polanyi and His Generation: Origins of the Social Construction of Science
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011.
*** 2013 Winner of the Chemical Heritage
Foundation’s Roy G. Neville Prize ***
Blackett: Physics, War, and Politics in the 20th Century
Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2004.
Before Big Science: The Pursuit of Modern Chemistry and Physics, 1800-1940
New York: Simon & Schuster / Twayne, 1996 .
Paperback edition, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999.
From Chemical Philosophy to Theoretical Chemistry:
Dynamics of Matter and Dynamics of Disciplines, 1800-1950
Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993.
Science in the Provinces: Scientific Communities and Provincial Leadership in France, 1860-1930
Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986.
A Perspective on the Scientific Work of Jean Perrin
London: Macdonald / New York: American Elsevier, 1972.
Ed. The Question of the Atom: From the Karlsruhe Congress to the First Solvay Conference. 1860-1911. A Selection of Primary Sources. Los Angeles: Tomash and New York: American Institute of Physics, 1984.
Ed., with Joan Richards and Roger Stuewer. The Invention of Physical Science: Intersections of Mathematics, Theology and Natural Philosophy since the Seventeenth Century. Essays in Honor of Erwin N. Hiebert. Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science. Volume 139. Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1992.
Associate Editor. The Pauling Symposium: A Discourse on the Art of Biography. Proceedings of the Conference on the Life and Work of Linus Pauling (1901-1994), ed. Ramesh S. Krishnamurthy with Clifford Mead, Mary Jo Nye, Sean C. Goodlett, and Marvin E. Kirk. Corvallis: Oregon State University Libraries Special Collections, 1996.
Ed. Modern Physical and Mathematical Sciences. Volume 5 (2003) of The Cambridge History of Science, eds. David C. Lindberg and Ronald L. Numbers. 8 volumes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003- .
“Shifting Trends in Modern Physics, Nobel Recognition, and the Histories That We Write,” Physics in Perspective, 21 (2019): 3-22.
“Boundaries, Transformations, Historiography: Physics in Chemistry in the 1920s to 1960s,” Isis, 109, #3 (2018): 587-596.
“Michael Polanyi: Science as Personal Knowledge and Social Practice,” Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 56 (2017): 3426-3433.
“The Republic vs. The Collective: Two Histories of Collaboration and Competition in Modern Science,” NTM (Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Wissenschaften, Technik und Medizin), 24, #2 (2016): 169-194.
"Foreword" to Michael Polanyi, Personal Knowledge: Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy, enlarged edition with a new foreword by Mary Jo Nye (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015): xi-xxv.
"Biography and the History of Science," in Relocating the History of Science: Essays in Honor of Kostas Gavroglu, eds. Theodore Arabatzis, Jürgen Renn and Ana Simões. Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science, Volume 312 (New York: Springer, 2015): 218-296.
“Reaction Intermediates and Transition States: States of Matter or States of Mind.” In Objects of Chemical Inquiry, eds. Ursula Klein and Carsten Reinhardt. Sagamore Beach, MA: Science History Publications/USA, 2014: 237-258.