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Marie Boas Hall (1919–2009)

Author of The Scientific Renaissance: 1450-1630

Includes the names: Marie Boas, Marie Boas, Marie Eboass Hall

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Marie Boas was born in New England to two college professors of English. She studied chemistry at Radcliffe College and graduated in 1940. After the USA entered World War II, Marie worked on research into radio, and then on writing the history of the Radiation Laboratory at MIT. She earned her doctoral degree from Cornell with a thesis on Robert Boyle; it was published in Osiris in 1952. She had been appointed to teaching positions at the University of Massachusetts and then at Brandeis University when, in 1951, she went to England to work on Boyle's papers and met Rupert Hall. Their careers and lives became intertwined. In 1957, Marie returned to the USA and went to the University of California at Los Angeles, where Hall joined her two years later, and they married. In 1961, they went to Indiana University together. Marie Boas Hall published The Scientific Renaissance, 1450–1630. In 1963, they were invited back to London, where Marie was named senior lecturer and later reader at Imperial College, London, and her husband was appointed the first professor of the history of science. During their years at the Imperial, they worked on many important projects together, including the 13-volume edition of the correspondence of Henry Oldenburg, secretary of The Royal Society in its early days, and a collection of Isaac Newton’s unpublished scientific papers. The couple retired in 1980 and went to live in Tackley near Oxford, but continued to research and write. Marie published All Scientists Now (1984), a study of the Royal Society in the 19th century, and Promoting Experimental Learning: Experiment and the Royal Society 1660–1727 (1991). Her last book was the biography Henry Oldenburg: Shaping the Royal Society (2002). She was elected to the British Academy in 1994, and received the 1981 Sarton Medal of History of Science jointly with her husband.
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