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History of Science: Abraham Pais Prize awarded to Dr Patricia Fara

14 March 2022 Life Members

Dr Patricia Fara, a Life Member of Clare Hall and Emeritus Fellow of Clare College, has been awarded the 2022 Abraham Pais Prize for History of Physics by the American Physical Society.

The citation reads: ‘For outstanding and wide-ranging scholarship on the History of Science, especially regarding the Physical Sciences in the 17th through the 20th centuries, and for bringing attention to neglected contributors to the Physical Sciences, including female physicists and practical workers such as navigators and instrument-makers.’

On receiving the prize, Dr Fara comments:

When the email came, I was so stunned that I almost deleted it as spam. I hope it will inspire others to recognise that life can indeed begin at 40 – my age when I became a postgraduate student and began my second career.

Dr Fara has a degree in Physics from Oxford University, and after running a small company publishing educational audio-visual material about computing and statistics, she studied History of Science at Imperial College London. Dr Fara was Senior Tutor of Clare College for ten years, and President of the British Society for the History of Science from 2016-18. A regular contributor to popular journals as well as In our Time and other radio/TV programmes, she has published a range of academic and popular books on the History of Science, including Science: A Four Thousand Year History (2009), translated into nine languages; An Entertainment for Angels: Electricity in the Enlightenment (2002); Pandora’s Breeches: Women, Science and Power in the Enlightenment (2004); A Lab of One’s Own: Science and Suffrage in the First World War (2018); and Life after Gravity: Isaac Newton’s London Career (2021).