Rob Iliffe is Professor of History of Science at Oxford, Co-Director of the Oxford Centre for the History of Science, Medicine and Technology, and a General Editor of the Newton Project. He is the author of A Very Short Introduction to Newton (OUP 2007) and Priest of Nature: the Religious Worlds of Isaac Newton, (OUP 2017), and co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to Isaac Newton, 2nd ed. (CUP, 2016). He was editor of History of Science from 2001-8 and is currently co-editor of Annals of Science. He has published widely on topics in the history of early modern and Enlightenment science, and particularly on historical interactions between science and religion, scientific voyages of discovery, the life and work of Isaac Newton, the development of ideas about scientific genius and scientific creativity, and the role of scientific instruments in scientific innovation.
At Oxford he teaches general Undergraduate course on history of science and technology courses as well as more specialized courses on the Scientific Revolution, the history of modern physics, and the history of scientific racism and eugenics. At Postgraduate level he teaches courses on the Scientific Revolution and on Evolution and Neo-Malthusianism from 1840 to 1970.
Topics being studied by Professor Iliffe's current DPhil students include the circulation of utopian ideas within Europe from 1500-1700; Samuel Hartlib and English colonialism; the chronological research of Isaac Newton; the scientific and religious thought of Kang Youwei; the geological and ceramic projects of Alexandre Brongniart; the development of Virtual Reality technology in the United States 1965-2005.
My research interests lie within the following headings:
“Newtonian biographies” in S. Mandelbrote and H. Pulte eds, The Reception of Newton in Eighteenth Century Europe, 3 vols, 3: 581-96 (Bloomsbury, 2019)
The Reception of Isaac Newton in Europe
The essays in these volumes consider the impact of Newton;s ideas from three distinct but interlocking perspectives: their reception in particular geographical areas and language communities; their importance for particular fields of ...
Priest of Nature: The Religious Worlds of Isaac Newton
Newton's unusual — or even downright heretical — religious opinions were well known to a number of his contemporaries. For over two centuries the exact nature of his religious beliefs was a matter of intense debate, but by the middle of the nineteenth century it was public knowledge that he had held highly unorthodox conceptions of the Trinity. Until the early 1970s, very few of Newton's private theological researches had been made publicly available, and scholars did not determine his views with any precision. However, in the last few years millions of words from his previously unpublished religious writings have become publicly available, making it possible to offer a considered account of their content, and to assess what they tell us about the man.
"Saint Isaac: Newtonian hagiography and the creation of genius," in M. Beretta et al., eds, Savant Relics. Brains and Remains of Scientists, (Sagamore Beach, Ca., 2016), 93-132
Savant Relics Brains and Remains of Scientists
“Newton’s religion” in Iliffe, R and G. Smith eds, The Cambridge Companion to Newton, 2nd ed., (Cambridge 2016), 485-523