Rob Iliffe is Professor of History of Science at Oxford, Co-Director of the Oxford Centre for the History of Science, Medicine and Technology, and a General Editor of the Newton Project. He is the author of A Very Short Introduction to Newton (OUP 2007) and Priest of Nature: the Religious Worlds of Isaac Newton, (OUP 2017), and co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to Isaac Newton, 2nd ed. (CUP, 2016). He was editor of History of Science from 2001-8 and is currently co-editor of Annals of Science. He has published widely on topics in the history of early modern and Enlightenment science, and particularly on historical interactions between science and religion, scientific voyages of discovery, the life and work of Isaac Newton, the development of ideas about scientific genius and scientific creativity, and the role of scientific instruments in scientific innovation.
At Oxford he teaches general Undergraduate course on history of science and technology courses as well as more specialized courses on the Scientific Revolution, the history of modern physics, and the history of scientific racism and eugenics. At Postgraduate level he teaches courses on the Scientific Revolution and on Evolution and Neo-Malthusianism from 1840 to 1970.
Topics being studied by Professor Iliffe's current DPhil students include the circulation of utopian ideas within Europe from 1500-1700; Samuel Hartlib and English colonialism; the chronological research of Isaac Newton; the scientific and religious thought of Kang Youwei; the geological and ceramic projects of Alexandre Brongniart; the development of Virtual Reality technology in the United States 1965-2005.
Newton: A Very Short Introduction (OUP March 2007)
Newton's reputation was the subject of intense debate long before his death in 1727. While alive, numerous opponents sought to topple his theories, and his views on religion were considered by many to be unorthodox. For the vast majority of scholars, however, his groundbreaking approach to science overrode all else.
This book makes use of previously unpublished private writings and manuscript sources to present a concise exploration of the internal springs of Newton's complex character. Robert Iliffe describes Newton's studies in fields ranging from alchemy, physics, and mathematics, as well as his controversial religious beliefs, and concludes with a consideration of the legacy left after his demise. Newton will gratify readers who are interested in the real history behind one of the world's most legendary scientists.
My research interests lie within the following headings:
history of religion
History of science
material culture and science
relations between science and religion
Current DPhil Students
I would be willing to hear from potential DPhil students in any areas of my research interests (see under Research)
I currently teach:
Methods and Themes in the History of Science and Technology
Tom Holland is joined by Rob Iliffe, Professor of the History of Science at the University of Oxford and Dr David Haycock the author of ‘William Stukeley: Science, Religion, and Archaeology in Eighteenth-century England.