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UCLA professor awarded medal for editing, writing works on history of physics

UCLA distinguished professor of history M. Norton Wise was honored with the highest honor from the History of Science Society on May 22nd. He received the Sarton Medal for his work on the history of physics. (Courtesy of Norton Wise)

By Kate Nucci

May 29, 2019 12:09 a.m.

A UCLA professor won the History of Science Society’s highest honor May 22.

UCLA distinguished professor of history M. Norton Wise was awarded the Sarton Medal for his writings and editing on the history of physics, according to an HSS press release. Wise has written three books on the history of physics, including “Energy and Empire: A Biographical Study of Lord Kelvin,” for which he received the HSS’ Pfizer Award in 1990 alongside co-writer Crosbie Smith.

Wise began his career as a nuclear physicist. He decided to move into the history of science after reading “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” by Thomas Kuhn, which focused on the impact of historical events on the development of the modern field of physics, according to a university press release. He holds doctorate degrees in both physics and history.

Wise also founded the UCLA Institute for Society and Genetics in 2004. The institute researches and publishes on the moral implications of advancing bioengineering technology, according to its website.

Wise served as the director of the history of science program at Princeton from 1991 to 2000, and began teaching at UCLA in 2000.

The HSS, founded in 1924, is the largest organization dedicated to studying scientific history in the world. It offers a number of awards and honors for writing and research in the field, the most prestigious of which is the Sarton Medal, according to its website. The medal is awarded annually to one individual to honor lifetime scholarly achievement.

Wise will receive the Sarton Medal at the HSS’ annual meeting in Utrecht, the Netherlands, on July 25.

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Kate Nucci | Senior staff
Nucci was the 2019-2020 Assistant News editor for the Features & Student Life beat. She was previously a contributor for the Campus Politics beat from 2018-2019 and Copy staff from 2017-2019.
Nucci was the 2019-2020 Assistant News editor for the Features & Student Life beat. She was previously a contributor for the Campus Politics beat from 2018-2019 and Copy staff from 2017-2019.
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