The International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology awards the David L. Hull Prize biennially to honor the life and legacy of David L. Hull (1935–2010). It is awarded to an individual who has made extraordinary contributions to scholarship and service in ways that promote interdisciplinary connections between history, philosophy, social studies, and biology and that foster the careers of younger scholars. These are strengths that reflect the contributions of David Hull to our professions and to our Society.

The inaugural recipient of the David L. Hull prize in 2011 was William B. Provine, the Andrew H. and James L. Tisch Distinguished University Professor at Cornell University. The 2013 recipient was William C. Wimsatt, Winton Professor in the College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota, a fellow of the Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science, and the Peter B. Ritzma Professor of Philosophy and Evolutionary Biology (Emeritus) at the University of Chicago. The 2015 recipient was Jane Maienschein, Regents’ Professor, President’s Professor, and Parents Association Professor, in the Center for Biology and Society, School of Life Sciences, at Arizona State University. On behalf of the Society and the 2017 David L. Hull Prize Committee, comprised of Ana Barahona, Paul Griffiths, Alex Levine, Roberta Millstein, Anya Plutynski, Sarah Richardson, and James Griesemer (Chair), we award this year’s prize to Richard M. Burian, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy and Science Studies at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Burian Richard

Dick Burian trained originally in mathematics, but shifted fields to study philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh. His move into philosophy of biology just as it was emerging as a specialty has been a benefit to all of us. Indeed, it is substantially because of Dick Burian that philosophy of biology is “a thing” and that the integration of philosophy of science with both history and social studies of science has been the agenda of ISHPSSB since its beginning.

A hallmark of Dick’s work is that he listens to what the scientists are saying and doing. He tailors philosophical investigations to the practice of working biologists rather than trying to force biological science into some preconceived, philosophical mold. More than that, the way Dick works to generate intersections of philosophy and biology, together with a strong contextualization in history and social sciences, have helped make his work a model for the field, and have made Dick one of the most accomplished and admired interdisciplinary scholars of his generation.

Dick was a central contributor to debates in the 1980s about the units of selection and sociobiology and in subsequent decades on defining the gene, on characterizing the contributions of development to evolutionary theory, and he pioneered in examining the use and role of model organisms, as well as many other topics. The nominators, in addition to many authors who continue to cite it in the literature, recognize Dick’s paper, “How the Choice of Experimental Organism Matters: Epistemological Reflections on an Aspect of Biological Practice” (Journal of the History of Biology, 1993), as a pioneering study of science in practice and one of the very first to recognize the emerging phenomenon and problems of model-organism-based biology. Others remarked on the general excellence of his 2005 collection of essays with Cambridge University Press, The Epistemology of Development, Evolution, and Genetics.

Dick’s papers on the history of French genetics have served as an important voice amid narratives that too often have been dominated by Anglo-American and German histories. The result is an appreciation of genetic traditions that integrated molecular biology and developmental biology earlier than was done in the United States. Dick was also one of the first science studies scholars to appreciate the importance of the rise of Evo-Devo and he continues to contribute significant work in this area.

In addition to his leadership as an interdisciplinary scholar, Dick has played a key role through the decades in building interdisciplinarity among historians, philosophers and biologists by organizing conferences that brought people from different disciplines together. Just to mention three:

  1. The 1984 Mountain Lake Research Conference on Evolution and Development led to a paper one nominator called “legendary.” This was, of course, “Developmental Constraints and Evolution,” by Burian, together with a who’s who of innovative scientists: Maynard Smith, Kauffman, Alberch, Campbell, Goodwin, Lande, and Wolpert (Quarterly Review of Biology, September 1985).
  2. The Conference “Foundations of Developmental Biology” held at the Santa Fe Institute, 1989, and organized by Burian, S. Kauffman, and W. Wimsatt. If I may offer a personal anecdote, this was a pivotal workshop for me as a junior scholar, as it was the place I met both Stu Kauffman and Leo Buss, which completely changed the course of my own career.
  3. The symposium “The Right Organism for the Job” at ISHPSSB 1991 in Brandeis, led to Burian’s already mentioned 1993 keystone paper in Journal for the History of Biology on “Choice of Experimental Organism.”

In additional to his own scholarship, Dick has played a critical role as an editor, especially of volumes that integrate contributions from history, philosophy, social studies, and biology. For example, among the numerous special issues of journals with an interdisciplinary focus he has edited are a special issue of Synthese on historical and cultural contexts for philosophy of biology, a special issue of Biology and Philosophy on integration, the special issue of the Journal of the History of Biology on selecting appropriate organisms for research, and a special issue of History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences on the transition from embryology to developmental biology. Nominators expressed appreciation for the many special issues of journals and volumes Dick edited or co-edited that have become canonical texts, introducing students to the field at the same time they summarized the state of the art.

Dick Burian is the consummate academic citizen. He is a tireless advocate of bringing together people from very different backgrounds. He has always acted with an exceptional sense of friendship, of superb organizing ability and sense, and with a rather unusual awareness of the importance of interdisciplinary work for both the biological sciences, and the humanities and social sciences. He played a key role in the early 1980s, organizing a number of conferences, workshops, and meetings that led to the ISHPSSB. Along with Marjorie Grene, Dick ran the Cornell Summer Institute on Philosophy of Biology in 1982, which ultimately gave rise to ISHPSSB, from the pilot “pre-meeting” at Denison in 1983 to the first “conference” in 1985 at Saint Mary’s, and on to a full-fledged “Society” by the time of the Blacksburg meeting in 1997, hosted by Burian himself, which has become increasingly international with every subsequent meeting. Dick and others set the tone for our Society being very welcoming to student presentations, encouraging mentorship of students and junior faculty, and for encouraging informal gatherings for professionals and students during the meetings.

Dick has worked tirelessly for the Society, as well as for many of its members personally, especially those among us who may not have had jobs at prominent universities or been the most centrally located, or who may just have been shy or awkward in the presence of distinguished leaders in the field. He has also worked to ensure that meetings are as inclusive, gender balanced, and properly interdisciplinary as they ought to be. His graciousness, competence, and generosity are renowned. It is no surprise that Dick has been an incredible mentor to many students and young faculty members.

Dick crafted the ISHPSSB by-laws and worked through the legal process of incorporating the Society (which is why we are incorporated in the State of Virginia). This was a tremendously time-consuming job that was both essential and seldom acknowledged. He served as informal president for the time before there was a formal ISH or an elected president to lead it. It is for that reason that he was immediately elected as “honorary past president” during the very first ISH business meeting.

For many years, Dick volunteered Virginia Tech as a last minute fall back should local arrangements for ISH meetings falter elsewhere. As President and as Chairperson of many committees, Dick’s care and thoroughness led to the guidelines and procedures for ISHPSSB that have served us so well for decades, including most recently the procedure for soliciting and evaluating nominations for the Hull Prize. Indeed, he leaves most of us in the dust when it comes to service on ISH committees.

Dick has been equally active in promoting interdisciplinary biology studies beyond ISHPSSB. He served as Chair of the History and Philosophy of Biology Division of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, contributing alongside Jane Maienschein and Gar Allen to make SICB an important meeting ground for historians and philosophers on biologists’ turf. He built STS at Virginia Tech (under challenging circumstances) and sustained its momentum when it might well have failed rather than become an important department for training STS scholars. As a true workhorse behind ISHPSSB, tireless promoter of interdisciplinarity, mentor to young scholars across the board, and first rate interdisciplinary scholar of history and philosophy of biology, Dick Burian truly meets the high expectations of the David L. Hull Prize in the spirit of David himself. On behalf of the 2015–2017 David L. Hull Prize Committee and the Society, I am delighted to present the David L. Hull Prize and medal to Richard M. Burian.

James Griesemer, on behalf of the David L. Hull Prize Committee 2015–2017: Ana Barahona, James Griesemer (Chair), Paul Griffiths, Alex Levine, Roberta Millstein, Anya Plutynski, and Sarah Richardson.

2015 Maienschein photoThe International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology awards the David L. Hull Prize biennially to honor the life and legacy of David L. Hull (1935–2010). It is awarded to an individual who has made extraordinary contributions to scholarship and service in ways that promote interdisciplinary connections between history, philosophy, social studies, and biology and that foster the careers of younger scholars. These are strengths that reflect the contributions of David Hull to our professions and to our society.

The inaugural recipient of the David L. Hull prize in 2011 was William B. Provine, the Andrew H. and James L. Tisch Distinguished University Professor at Cornell University. The 2013 recipient was William C. Wimsatt, Winton Professor in the College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota, a fellow of the Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science, and the Peter B. Ritzma Professor of Philosophy and Evolutionary Biology (Emeritus) at the University of Chicago. This year’s recipient is Jane Maienschein, Regents’ Professor, President’s Professor, and Parents Association Professor, in the Center for Biology and Society, School of Life Sciences, at Arizona State University.

Jane Maienschein has been a leader throughout her career. Throughout that career, she has dedicated much of her energy to improving collaboration, mentorship, and public engagement in the history and philosophy of biology. She has done so by example, and with a special genius for devising organizational forms that harbor and extend these values—including the ISHPSSB, which she helped found and for which she served as its first president.

Professor Maienschein has made an important scholarly mark on the history and philosophy of biology. She has written or edited over a dozen books and produced dozens of articles and reviews that have addressed a variety of issues related to biology, focusing especially on development in the period from 1890 to the present. Her research explores the key assumptions and competing values that have shaped the development of biology. Her early articles on E.B. Wilson, Ross Harrison and T.H. Morgan as embryologists have greatly influenced many historians, philosophers, and sociologists of biology, as have her studies on the development of the chromosome theory and sex determination. Her research articles and books integrate biology, history, philosophy, and social studies in ways that make exceptional contributions to advancing our understanding of the complex societal, institutional, and historical forces that shape biology as a discipline.

Her more recent work, including two books, Whose View of Life? Embryos, Cloning, and Stem Cells (2003) and Biology under the Microscope (2013), both from Harvard University Press, extends her long-standing interest in the intersection of biology and social-ethical issues, particularly cloning, stem cell therapy, abortion and others related to new technological innovations in the area of developmental biology. These works are written in a clear, sophisticated yet accessible, and engaging style intended to be of interest for the general reader as well as for professional biologists, teachers and students. It has long been a part of Jane’s mission to encourage bringing scholarship in our fields to a much wider audience, and she has contributed significant examples of this, putting theory into practice in her own writing.

Maienschein also has excelled as an editor. The collections she co-edited in the early 1990s, The American Development of Biology and The Expansion of American Biology have become models for collective work, and not only for historians of American science. Her most recent collection, From Embryology to Evo-Devo, co-edited with Manfred Laubichler, extends her record of top-flight collaborative works, bringing together outstanding chapters by historians, philosophers, and active biologists. Her service as co-editor of the Journal of the History of Biology helped to foster extremely diverse and high quality scholarship.

Maienschein was among the first of the generation who trained in history and philosophy of science that took seriously the integration of the previously two quite separate fields. As a philosopher, she grounded philosophical issues in concrete historical examples, making the cases relevant to more theoretical questions in philosophy that for many historians had previously seemed rather disparate. The work of Maienschein and many of her contemporaries and colleagues with similar viewpoints helped historians appreciate that philosophy of science could contribute to a fuller understanding of history (as was also a mark of David Hull’s achievements). This integrative approach has greatly influenced many scholars.

The breadth and depth of Jane Maienschein’s professional service as an institution-builder and supporter of young scholars is unmatched. Perhaps Maienschein’s most outstanding contribution to graduate teaching is her role in co-organizing more than 25 years of seminars in history and philosophy of science at the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, initially supported by The Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology and now funded by ASU. Leading students and senior researchers from across the world participate. These meetings have contributed to the development of generations of young scholars in the history and philosophy of biology. Her mentorship at ASU has led to numerous awards, Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships for her students, and millions of dollars in external funds for ASU’s Undergraduate Biology Program. She has been a central intellectual force at ASU for reforming biology education so that research and teaching are integrated as one activity. The NSF-funded Embryo Project is an exceptional example of this union and an exemplar of the innovative scholarship and education initiatives that Maienschein has fostered. She has received numerous prominent education and teaching awards, including the Arizona Professor of the Year in 2010.

Jane Maienschein is founding Director of the Biology and Society major, recognized by many as one of the best programs of its kind. She is also founding director of ASU’s Center for Biology and Society. She has served as President of the History of Science Society and has been extremely active in the American Association for the Advancement of Science, of which she is a Fellow. Most recently, she has put new energy into the union of history and philosophy of science and broader community engagement by co-founding the Joint Caucus for Socially Engaged Philosophers and Historians of Science, a unique joint venture of the Philosophy of Science Association and the History of Science Society. This caucus is just the latest in a long personal history of public engagement. Maienschein served for 18 months as Special Advisor for Science and Science Education to an Arizona Representative in Washington, D.C. She provided advice in areas related to biology, contributed to hearings of the House of Representatives’ Committee for Science and Technology, and helped shape our national agenda in science education. Professor Maienschein served on a special committee for Arizona’s Superintendent of Schools to revise Arizona’s science standards.

Jane Maienschein’s imprint on the history, philosophy, and social studies of science is everywhere — as scholar, editor, mentor, organizer, and role model. NSF, NEH, Fulbright, and AAAS panels have benefitted from her advice and leadership. She chaired the external Advisory Committee for NSF’s Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences. In addition to these activities, Jane has been instrumental in creating the Digital History and Philosophy of Science Consortium, which “brings together historians and philosophers of science, with informaticians, computer scientists, and reference librarians with the goal of thinking of new ways to integrate traditional scholarship with digital tools and resources”.

As one nominator wrote, “There are many deserving scholars in the field, many successful institution-builders, many great networkers, many great teachers and mentors, but there is only one Jane! She combines all of these features (and more) in such a remarkable way that to me she more than fulfills the characteristics of nominees for the Hull Prize. I endorse her nomination with the greatest enthusiasm possible.” The David L. Hull Prize Committee for 2015 heartily agrees.

2015 David L. Hull Prize Committee: Rachel Ankeny, Ana Barahona, Michael Dietrich, James Griesemer (Chair), Paul Griffiths, Lynn Nyhart