Alfred Rupert Hall (he never used his first name) was a pioneer in the history of science and famed for his collaboration with his wife Marie Boas Hall. He went up to Cambridge University in 1938 to read history, but his studies were interrupted by service in World War II. He was as an officer in the Royal Corps of Signals in North Africa and Italy. After the war, he completed his degree and began postgraduate research. He chose 17th-century ballistics and the relations of science and war as the topic for his doctoral thesis, which was published as a book in 1952. In 1949, he was elected a fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge.
The history of science was then a very small field, and Hall was unusual in coming to the discipline from history, not science. With Charles White, the first president of the British Society for the History of Science, he co-wrote a five-volume History of Technology published by Oxford University Press in 1954-58.
In 1948, Hall was appointed as the first curator of the Whipple Museum of the History of Science in Cambridge, and in 1950 began lecturing in the subject. He met Marie Boas when she came to the UK to work on Robert Boyle's papers, and their professional and personal lives became intertwined. Two years later, after she returned to the USA, he joined her and they were married. Together they went to Indiana University. In 1963, they were invited back to London, where Hall was named the first professor of the history of science at Imperial College, and she a senior lecturer. There trained many graduate students and edited several important projects together, including the 13-volume correspondence of Henry Oldenburg, secretary of The Royal Society in its early days, and a collection of Newton's unpublished scientific papers. In 1980, Hall published Philosophers at War, an account of Newton's quarrel with Leibniz. That year the Halls retired from Imperial College and went to live in Tackley, near Oxford. Hall directed the Wellcome Trust program on the history of medicine for four years, and continued to do research and write books. His biography Isaac Newton: Adventurer in Thought was published in 1992. Rupert and Marie Boas Hall won the George Sarton Medal jointly in 1981. They were an inseparable and devoted couple, and died 18 days apart.