2015 David L. Hull Prize Citation for Jane Maienschein
The International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology awards the David L. Hull Prize biennially to honor the life and legacy of David L. Hull (1935-2010). It is awarded to an individual who has made extraordinary contributions to scholarship and service in ways that promote interdisciplinary connections between history, philosophy, social studies, and biology and that foster the careers of younger scholars. These are strengths that reflect the contributions of David Hull to our professions and to our society.
The inaugural recipient of the David L. Hull prize in 2011 was William B. Provine, the Andrew H. and James L. Tisch Distinguished University Professor at Cornell University. The 2013 recipient was William C. Wimsatt, Winton Professor in the College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota, a fellow of the Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science, and the Peter B. Ritzma Professor of Philosophy and Evolutionary Biology (Emeritus) at the University of Chicago. This year’s recipient is Jane Maienschein, Regents’ Professor, President’s Professor, and Parents Association Professor, in the Center for Biology and Society, School of Life Sciences, at Arizona State University.
Jane Maienschein has been a leader throughout her career. Throughout that career, she has dedicated much of her energy to improving collaboration, mentorship, and public engagement in the history and philosophy of biology. She has done so by example, and with a special genius for devising organizational forms that harbor and extend these values—including the ISHPSSB, which she helped found and for which she served as its first president.
Professor Maienschein has made an important scholarly mark on the history and philosophy of biology. She has written or edited over a dozen books and produced dozens of articles and reviews that have addressed a variety of issues related to biology, focusing especially on development in the period from 1890 to the present. Her research explores the key assumptions and competing values that have shaped the development of biology. Her early articles on E.B. Wilson, Ross Harrison and T.H. Morgan as embryologists have greatly influenced many historians, philosophers, and sociologists of biology, as have her studies on the development of the chromosome theory and sex determination. Her research articles and books integrate biology, history, philosophy, and social studies in ways that make exceptional contributions to advancing our understanding of the complex societal, institutional, and historical forces that shape biology as a discipline.
Her more recent work, including two books, Whose View of Life? Embryos, Cloning, and Stem Cells (2003) and Biology under the Microscope (2013), both from Harvard University Press, extends her long-standing interest in the intersection of biology and social-ethical issues, particularly cloning, stem cell therapy, abortion and others related to new technological innovations in the area of developmental biology. These works are written in a clear, sophisticated yet accessible, and engaging style intended to be of interest for the general reader as well as for professional biologists, teachers and students. It has long been a part of Jane’s mission to encourage bringing scholarship in our fields to a much wider audience, and she has contributed significant examples of this, putting theory into practice in her own writing.
Maienschein also has excelled as an editor. The collections she co-edited in the early 1990s, The American Development of Biology and The Expansion of American Biology have become models for collective work, and not only for historians of American science. Her most recent collection, From Embryology to Evo-Devo, co-edited with Manfred Laubichler, extends her record of top-flight collaborative works, bringing together outstanding chapters by historians, philosophers, and active biologists. Her service as co-editor of the Journal of the History of Biology helped to foster extremely diverse and high quality scholarship.
Maienschein was among the first of the generation who trained in history and philosophy of science that took seriously the integration of the previously two quite separate fields. As a philosopher, she grounded philosophical issues in concrete historical examples, making the cases relevant to more theoretical questions in philosophy that for many historians had previously seemed rather disparate. The work of Maienschein and many of her contemporaries and colleagues with similar viewpoints helped historians appreciate that philosophy of science could contribute to a fuller understanding of history (as was also a mark of David Hull’s achievements). This integrative approach has greatly influenced many scholars.
The breadth and depth of Jane Maienschein’s professional service as an institution-builder and supporter of young scholars is unmatched. Perhaps Maienschein’s most outstanding contribution to graduate teaching is her role in co-organizing more than 25 years of seminars in history and philosophy of science at the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, initially supported by The Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology and now funded by ASU. Leading students and senior researchers from across the world participate. These meetings have contributed to the development of generations of young scholars in the history and philosophy of biology. Her mentorship at ASU has led to numerous awards, Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships for her students, and millions of dollars in external funds for ASU’s Undergraduate Biology Program. She has been a central intellectual force at ASU for reforming biology education so that research and teaching are integrated as one activity. The NSF-funded Embryo Project is an exceptional example of this union and an exemplar of the innovative scholarship and education initiatives that Maienschein has fostered. She has received numerous prominent education and teaching awards, including the Arizona Professor of the Year in 2010.
Jane Maienschein is founding Director of the Biology and Society major, recognized by many as one of the best programs of its kind. She is also founding director of ASU’s Center for Biology and Society. She has served as President of the History of Science Society and has been extremely active in the American Association for the Advancement of Science, of which she is a Fellow. Most recently, she has put new energy into the union of history and philosophy of science and broader community engagement by co-founding the Joint Caucus for Socially Engaged Philosophers and Historians of Science, a unique joint venture of the Philosophy of Science Association and the History of Science Society. This caucus is just the latest in a long personal history of public engagement. Maienschein served for 18 months as Special Advisor for Science and Science Education to an Arizona Representative in Washington, D.C. She provided advice in areas related to biology, contributed to hearings of the House of Representatives’ Committee for Science and Technology, and helped shape our national agenda in science education. Professor Maienschein served on a special committee for Arizona’s Superintendent of Schools to revise Arizona’s science standards.
Jane Maienschein’s imprint on the history, philosophy, and social studies of science is everywhere—as scholar, editor, mentor, organizer, and role model. NSF, NEH, Fulbright, and AAAS panels have benefitted from her advice and leadership. She chaired the external Advisory Committee for NSF’s Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences. In addition to these activities, Jane has been instrumental in creating the Digital History and Philosophy of Science Consortium, which “brings together historians and philosophers of science, with informaticians, computer scientists, and reference librarians with the goal of thinking of new ways to integrate traditional scholarship with digital tools and resources” (http://digitalhps.org/).
As one nominator wrote, “There are many deserving scholars in the field, many successful institution-builders, many great networkers, many great teachers and mentors, but there is only one Jane! She combines all of these features (and more) in such a remarkable way that to me she more than fulfills the characteristics of nominees for the Hull Prize. I endorse her nomination with the greatest enthusiasm possible.” The David L. Hull Prize Committee for 2015 heartily agrees.
2015 David L. Hull Prize Committee: Rachel Ankeny, Ana Barahona, Michael Dietrich, James Griesemer (Chair), Paul Griffiths, Lynn Nyhart