What makes his essays so enjoyable and alive... is their leaping range of reference, always running one step ahead and urging us to catch up.
(Jenny Uglow New York Review of Books
Professor Shapin has a sense of humor, a good eye for an anecdote and the ability to turn a phrase.
(Katherine Bouton New York Times
While it might not be for novices, anyone who is interested in how and why science enjoys a privileged position as a source of knowledge should read Shapin’s take on the authority given to it vis-à-vis religion and morality, why it is compliment to be both a gentleman and a scholar, and why it matters whether Newton ate chicken or Darwin farted.
An impressive work and one that scientists will benefit from reading. Shapin reminds us that... neither scientists nor science itself can be separated from the context of peoples’ minds, bodies, cultures, societies. Expectations based on any other understanding are simply unrealistic.
(Sam Lemonick Chemical and Engineering News
He is a graceful and engaging essayist, and the ample selection of essays in Never Pure ... affords an excellent basis for reflecting on what he has had to say about the life of science.
(Robert E. Kohler Science
Never Pure will enrich the bookshelf of any historian of science.
(Katy Barrett Endeavour
A highly labored style of writing is deployed to perform scholarly virtues that go by names like 'careful,' 'accurate,' and 'rich.'
(Steve Fuller Aestimatio: Critical Reviews in the History of Science
About the Author
Steven Shapin is the Franklin L. Ford Professor of the History of Science at Harvard, and his books include Leviathan and the Air-Pump: Hobbes, Boyle, and the Experimental Life (with Simon Schaffer), A Social History of Truth: Civility and Science in Seventeenth-Century England, and The Scientific Revolution. He has written for the New Yorker and writes regularly for the London Review of Books.