Educated: Christ’s Hospital, 1958-67; Jesus College, Cambridge, 1968-71 (BA 1971; MA 1975; double first with distinction in part 2); Worcester College, Oxford, 1971-5 (MA, DPhil. 1975).
Awards and Honours: President, International Society for Intellectual History, 2014- ;
Fellow of the British Academy (2007); Fellow of Birkbeck College, University of London (2012); Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (1985); Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (1976).
Positions held: Research Fellow, Worcester College, Oxford, 1972-5; Research Fellow, Department of History, University of Reading, 1975-6; Lecturer and (from 1984) Reader in History, Birkbeck College, University of London, 1976-92; Professor of History at Birkbeck, 1992-2011; Emeritus Professor of History at Birkbeck, since 2011.
Main research projects: Director, Robert Boyle Project, www.bbk.ac.uk/boyle (recipient of various major grants from the Leverhulme Trust, British Academy, Wellcome Trust, AHRB and Heritage Lottery Fund, 1994-2005).
Director, British Printed Images to 1700 Project, www.bpi1700.org.uk (funded by an AHRC resource enhancement grant, 2006-9, with ancillary funding from the Bibliographical Society and Paul Mellon Foundation).
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
(a) Works relating to Robert Boyle.
Editor of Robert Boyle Reconsidered (1994); Robert Boyle by Himself and his Friends (1994); The Works of Robert Boyle (14 vols., 1999-2000) [with Edward B. Davis]; The Correspondence of Robert Boyle (6 vols., 2001) [with Antonio Clericuzio and Lawrence M. Principe]; and The Workdiaries of Robert Boyle, revised edition, 2004 [with Charles Littleton], available online at www.livesandletters.ac.uk/wd/index.html.
Author of Boyle: Between God and Science (2009) [winner of the Samuel Pepys Award and the Roy G. Neville Prize, 2011]; Boyle Studies: Aspects of the Life and Thought of Robert Boyle (1627-91) (2015); The Boyle Papers: Understanding the Manuscripts of Robert Boyle (2007); Robert Boyle (1627-91): Scrupulosity and Science (2000); and [with Iordan Avramov and Hideyuki Yoshimoto] Boyle’s Books: the Evidence of his Citations (2010).
Other edited texts: [with Edward B. Davis] Robert Boyle, A Free Enquiry into the Vulgarly Received Notion of Nature (1996); Robert Boyle’s ‘Heads’ and ‘Inquiries’ (2005); [with Harriet Knight] Unpublished Material Relating to Robert Boyle’s ‘Memoirs of the Natural History of Human Blood (2005); and [with Peter Anstey] The Text of Robert Boyle’s ‘Design about Natural History’ (2008).
(b) Other monographs and collaborative volumes: [with Jim Bennett], The Image of Restoration Science: The Frontispiece to Thomas Sprat’s ‘History of the Royal Society’ (1667) (2017); Editing Early Modern Texts: an Introduction to Principles and Practice (2007); [with Lisa Jardine, Michael Cooper and Jim Bennett] London’s Leonardo: the Life and Work of Robert Hooke (2003); Science and the Shape of Orthodoxy: Intellectual Change in late 17th-century Britain (1995); The Royal Society and its Fellows 1660-1700: the Morphology of an Early Scientific Institution (enlarged ed., 1994; originally published 1982); [with Peter J. Ucko, Alan J. Clark and Andrew David] Avebury Reconsidered: from the 1660s to the 1990s (1991); Establishing the New Science: the Experience of the Early Royal Society (1989); Science and Society in Restoration England (1981); The Victorian Villas of Hackney (1981); and John Aubrey and the Realm of Learning (1975).
(c ) Edited volumes of essays: [with Alison Walker and Arthur MacGregor] From Books to Bezoars: Sir Hans Sloane and his Collections (2012); Printed Images in Early Modern Britain: Essays in Interpretation (2010); [with Michael Cooper] Robert Hooke: Tercentennial Studies (2006); [with Laura Gowing and Miri Rubin] Love, Friendship and Faith in Europe 1300-1800 (2005); [with Frances Harris] John Evelyn and his Milieu (2003); Archives of the Scientific Revolution: the Formation and Exchange of Ideas in 17th-century Europe (1998); Preserving the Past: the Rise of Heritage in Modern Britain (1996); [with David Wootton] Atheism from the Reformation to the Enlightenment (1992); [with Robert Thorne] Change at King’s Cross: From 1800 to the Present (1990); and [with Simon Schaffer] Robert Hooke: New Studies (1989).
(d) Other editions of texts: Magic and Mental Disorder: Sir Hans Sloane’s Memoir of John Beaumont (2011); The Occult Laboratory: Magic, Science and Second Sight in late 17th-century Scotland (2001); [with Giles Mandelbrote, Richard Ovenden and Nigel Smith] A Radical’s Books: the Library Catalogue of Samuel Jeake of Rye, 1623-90 (1999); and [with Annabel Gregory] An Astrological Diary of the 17th Century: Samuel Jeake of Rye, 1652-1699 (1988).
(e) Recent articles: ‘John Webster, the Royal Society and The Displaying of Supposed Witchcraft (1677)’, Notes & Records: the Royal Society Journal of the History of Science, 71 (2017); ‘Pitcairneana: An Atheist Text by Archibald Pitcairne’, The Historical Journal, 59 (2016), 595-621; ‘Editing Early Modern Scientific Correspondence: The Way Forward’, ISIS, 107 (2016), 365-72; ‘Introduction’ to ‘Curiously Drawn: Early Modern Science as a Visual Pursuit’, special issue of Huntington Library Quarterly, 78 (2015), 141-55; ‘John Aubrey’s Brief Lives: The edition we have been waiting for’, The Seventeenth Century, 30 (2015), 339-51; ‘John Ray in Italy: Lost Manuscripts Rediscovered’, Notes & Records: the Royal Society Journal of the History of Science, 68 (2014), 93-109; ‘Life-writing in Early Modern England’, The Historical Journal, 56 (2013), 583-92; ‘The Decline of Magic: Challenge and Response in Early Enlightenment England’, The Historical Journal, 55 (2012), 399-425 (based on the Roy Porter Memorial Lecture, delivered at the Wellcome Library, 20 June 2011); and ‘The Royal Society and the Decline of Magic’, Notes & Records: the Royal Society Journal of the History of Science, 65 (2011), 103-19.
Recreations: Book- and print-collecting, motorcycling, historic buildings.