Paula Findlen is Ubaldo Pierotti Professor in Italian History and the Chair of the History Department at Stanford University. She has co-directed the Science, Technology and Society Program and the Program in the History and Philosophy of Science and is currently Co-Director of the Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies. Prior to coming to Stanford in 1996, she taught at the University of California, Davis. Professor Findlen’s visiting appointments include Harvard University and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales. She has most recently been a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.
Professor Findlen’s research focuses on the history of science and medicine in the Renaissance and the Scientific Revolution. She has published extensively on natural history museums and scientific collecting, scientific culture in the age of Galileo, the relations between science and religion, and the history of women in science, and the social and cultural history of Italy since the Renaissance. Major publications include Possessing Nature: Museums, Collecting and Scientific Culture in Early Modern Italy (1994); (with Pamela Smith, ed.), Merchants and Marvels: Commerce, Science, and Art in Early Modern Europe (New York: Routledge, 2001); (ed.) The Italian Renaissance: The Essential Readings (2002); (with Michelle Fontaine and Duane Osheim, eds.), Beyond Florence: The Contours of Medieval and Early Modern Italy (2003); (ed.) Athanasius Kircher: The Last Man Who Knew Everything (2004); (with Rebecca Messbarger, eds. and trans.) Maria Gaetana Agnesi et. al., The Contest for Knowledge: Debates about Women’s Education in Eighteenth-Century Italy (2005); and (with Wendy Wassying Roworth and Catherine Sama, eds., Italy’s Eighteenth Century: Gender and Culture in the Age of the Grand Tour (2008).
For her fellowship, Professor Findlen completed a major work on women and science in eighteenth-century Italy: In the Shadow of Newton: Laura Bassi and Her World. She is in the final stages of writing this book, the culmination of many years of archival research into the unusual history of Italy’s eighteenth-century women university graduates, professors, and academicians. Her research centers around the life and work of the Bolognese physicist, experimenter and university professor Laura Bassi (1711-78), exploring the circumstances that made her early and highly celebrated scientific career possible and the legacy it left behind.
Professor Findlen was a fellow at the Clayman Institute from September 2008 to June 2009.
Further information is available from her faculty profile.