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Night and Day

Night and Day
Reported by
Jill Pope

Posted October 19, 2009


On the evening of May 17, 2006, Gerald Holton, Mallinckrodt Research Professor of Physics and research professor of the history of science at Harvard University, presented a lecture on the art of scientific investigation. Holton noted that in every area of human endeavor, people go through a period of groping before they arrive at what they really want to say. Holton explored this early period of discovery in the work of Karl Alexander Müller, Albert Einstein, and Robert A. Millikan.

Use the tabs above to find a meeting report and multimedia from this event.

Web Sites

Albert Einstein: Image and Impact
Created by the American Institute of Physics.

The Art of Science
An exhibit featuring images produced in the course of scientific work at Princeton University.

Draft of Wilfred Owen's World War I poem, "Dulce et Decorum est"

Gerald Holton's Harvard University page
Includes links to several recent articles.

History of Science Society
This society, founded to foster interest in the history of science, cosponsored Gerald Holton's lecture at the Academy.
Read biographies, Nobel lectures, and more information about Nobel Prize-winners, including Robert A. Millikan, Peter Medawar, and Wolfgang Pauli.


Holton, G., H. Chang & E. Jurkowitz. 1996. How a scientific discovery is made: a case history. American Scientist 84: 364-375.

Holton, G. 2002. Einstein's third paradise. Daedalus (Fall). FULL TEXT

Niaz, M. 2005. An appraisal of the controversial nature of the oil drop experiment: Is closure possible? Br. J. Philos. Sci. 56: 681-702.


Arnheim, R. 1981. Genesis of a Painting: Picasso's Guernica. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.

Franklin, A. 2002. Selectivity and Discord: Two Problems of Experiment. University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA.

Galison, P. 2003. Einstein's Clocks, Poincare's Maps: Empires of Time. W. W. Norton, New York.

Holton, G. 1998. The Scientific Imagination. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.

Holton, G. 1988. The Thematic Origins of Scientific Thought: Kepler to Einstein. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.

Holton, G. 2005. Victory and Vexation in Science: Einstein, Bohr, Heisenberg, and Others. Harvard University Press, Cambrige, MA.

Jacob, F. 1988. The Statue Within: An Autobiography. Basic Books, New York.

Lindsay, K. & P. Vergo, Eds. 1994. Kandinsky: Complete Writings on Art. DaCapo Press, Boston.

Watson, J. 1968. The Double-Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA. Simon & Schuster, New York.


Gerald Holton, PhD

Harvard University
email | web site

Gerald Holton is the Mallinckrodt Research Professor of Physics and research professor of the history of science at Harvard University. His chief interests are the history and philosophy of science, the physics of matter at high pressure, and the study of career paths of young scientists.

Holton obtained his PhD from Harvard University and was then appointed to the faculty there. He also served as visiting professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was one of the founding faculty members of the Program on Science, Technology, and Society. Holton is the founding editor of the quarterly journal, Daedalus. He has received numerous honors for his work, including the Presidency of the History of Science Society, the Sarton Medal, the Robert A. Millikan medal, the Oersted medal, the Andrew Gemant Award of the American Institute of Physics, the Joseph Priestley Award, and eight honorary degrees.

Jill Pope

Jill Pope is a science writer and editor who lives in Brooklyn, NY.