Margaret C. Jacob

(and friends, Reilly and Barnaby)


Southern California Colloquium in the History of Science Technology and Medicine

Dorothée Sturkenboom's Homepage

UCLA-Utrecht Exchange Program

Dutch Studies at UCLA

UCLA Center for the Interdisciplinary Study and Treatment of Pain





Born in New York City, Margaret Jacob took her B.A. from St. Joseph's College in 1964. She then happily turned to secular education at Cornell where she earned her Ph.D. in 1968. In the course of writing her dissertation she lived in Britain and one of her first teaching positions was at the University of East Anglia in Norwich. Caught in the job crisis in history during the early 1970s, she found herself lucky to be able to return to New York and the City University. There she experienced open admissions first hand, and managed to survive the city's bankruptcy crisis of 1975-76. She went on to become Dean of the College and a member of the Graduate Faculty at the New School for Social Research. She was recruited to UCLA from the University of Pennsylvania. Her interests lie in the history of science, and in intellectual history more broadly, and she has worked in British, Dutch, French and Belgian history. Her archival research has taken her to London, Birmingham, Manchester, and to Amsterdam, The Hague, Brussels, Paris and various French provincial towns. In 2002 she was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Utrecht and made a member of the American Philosophical Society and the Hollandse Maatschappij der Wetenschappen. She has been visiting faculty at l'Ecole des hautes etudes and, recently, the University of Ulster. Currently she holds a grant from the NEH for Collaborative Research on scientific application and early industrialization in Britain.

Her overriding intellectual concern has been with the meaning and impact of the Newtonian synthesis on religion, political ideology, industrial development and cultural practices. She has worked extensively on Newton's immediate followers, on freethinkers, freemasons, Dutch and French Newtonians, and has recently published a book with Larry Stewart on the impact of Newton's science from the publication of the Principia in 1687 to the Great Exhibition in 1851. She also, along with Lynn Hunt, has an active interest in British radicals and romantics of the 1790s. She has commented on issues in the so-called "science wars" and has written on historical methods and practices. Along with Spencer Weart she edits a series aimed at making the history of science more accessible and it is published by Harvard University Press. When not researching she enjoys cooking. She also reviews for The Los Angeles Times and actually enjoys book reviews. She is also Principal Investigator for a NIMH project on chronic pain in children in collaboration with UCLA's Pediatric Pain Clinic. She has worked on the cultural resources at play in economic decision making and the role of science in industrial development. In 2004 she was University Research Lecturer.


Recent and Selected Publications

Strangers Nowhere in the World: The Rise of Cosmopolitanism in Early Modern Europe, now published by the University of
Pennsylvania Press
, 2006. Click here to view this book @ OpinionJournal

The Origins of Freemasonry. Facts and Fictions, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005.

“Mechanical Science on the Factory Floor: The Early Industrial Revolution in Leeds,” to appear in History of Science.

Bernard Picart and the Turn to Modernity," De Achttiende eeuw, vol. 37, 2005, pp. 1-16.

With Larry Stewart, Practical Matter. The Impact of Newton's Science from 1687 to 1851, Harvard University Press, November 2004.

With M. Kadane, "Missing now Found in the Eighteenth Century. Weber's Protestant Capitalist," American Historical Review, February, 2003, vol 2008, pp. 20-49.

With D. Sturkenboom, "A Women's Scientific Society in the West:The Late Eighteenth Century Assimilation of Science" Isis, June, 2003, vol. 94, pp. 217-252

With Michael Sauter “Why did Humphrey Davy not apply nitrous oxide to the relief of pain?”, The Journal of the History of Medicine, vol. 57, April 2002, pp. 161-176.

With Lynn Hunt “The Affective Revolution in 1790s Britain,” Eighteenth Century Studies, vol. 34, 2001, pp. 491-521.

With David Reid “Technical Knowledge and the Mental Universe of Manchester’s Cotton Manufacturers,”Canadian Journal of History, vol. 36, 2001, pp. 283-304. French translation appeared in Revue d'histoire moderne et contemporaine vol. 50-52, 2003.

“Thinking Unfashionable Thoughts, Asking Unfashionable Questions,” American Historical Review, April 2000, vol. 105, pp. 494-500.

“Commerce, Industry and Newtonian Science: Weber Revisited and Revised,” Canadian Journal of History, v. 35, Fall, 2000, pp. 236-51.

The Enlightenment: A Brief History, Bedford Books, 2001.

Scientific Culture and the Making of the Industrial West, published by Oxford University Press; 1997, a sequel to The Cultural Meaning

Telling the Truth about History with Lynn Hunt and Joyce Appleby, New York, W.W.Norton, 1994. Reviewed New York Times Book Review, March 25, 1994. TLS, June 10, 1994; The New Republic, Oct. 24, 1994; editions in Spanish, Polish, Lithuanian and Chinese under contract. A selection of the History Book Club. Forums on the book in History and Theory and the Journal of the History of Ideas.

Newton and the Culture of Newtonianism, with Betty Jo Teeter Dobbs. My half discusses Newtonian mechanics and European industrial culture throughout the 18th century. Humanity Press, 1995. Winner of the Watson-Davis Award, History of Science Society

Living the Enlightenment: Freemasonry and Politics in Eighteenth Century Europe, 1991, 350pp. Oxford University Press; reviewed TLS, June 12, 1992; AHR, 1993; JMH, 1994; Italian rights bought by Laterza. Also available from Temple Books. French translation appeared in 2004 with L'Orient, Paris.

The Cultural Meaning of the Scientific Revolution, Alfred Knopf, sold to McGraw-Hill, New York, 1988, 273 pp. Reviewed New York Review of Books, April 28,1988; Italian translation, Einaudi Editore, 1992.

The Radical Enlightenment: Pantheists, Freemasons and Republicans, published by George Allen & Unwin, London and Boston, 1981; Italian translation, L'Illuminismo Radicale, published by Societa Editrice Il Mulino,1983. Second edition, revised, Temple Books, 2003

The Newtonians and the English Revolution, 1689-1720, Cornell University Press and Harvester Press, Ltd., 1976. Awarded the Louis Gottschalk Prize by the American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies. Reviewed in New York Review of Books, December 7, 1978. Italian translation, I Newtoniani e la rivoluzione inglese, 1689-I720, 1980 by Feltrinelli Editore, Milan. Reprinted, 1983; Japanese translation, 1990. Available from Gordon and Breach, "Classics in the History of Science." 



The Opening of the Great Industrial Exhibition of All Nations, May 1st 1851





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