M.A. Astronomy, Harvard University B.Sc. & B.A. Optical Engineering & Religion, University of Rochester, 1998 Ph.D. History of Science, Harvard University, 2004
Matthew Stanley teaches and researches the history and philosophy of science. He holds degrees in astronomy, religion, physics, and the history of science and is interested in the connections between science and the wider culture. He is the author of Practical Mystic: Religion, Science, and A. S. Eddington (Chicago 2007), which examines how scientists reconcile their religious beliefs and professional lives, and Huxley’s Church and Maxwell’s Demon (Chicago 2014), which explores how science changed from its historical theistic foundations to its modern naturalistic ones. His current project is a history of scientific predictions of the end of the world. Professor Stanley is also part of a nationwide National Science Foundation-funded effort to use the humanities to improve science education in the college classroom. He has held fellowships at the Institute for Advanced Study, the British Academy, and the Max Planck Institute. He currently runs the New York City History of Science Working Group. Professor Stanley was awarded a 2014-2015 Gallatin Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Teaching and Research Interests
history of science and technology; science and religion; physics and astronomy; philosophy of science; history and philosophy of religion, mind and consciousness; science education; peace and war
He delivered “The pointsman or the steam whistle: competing metaphors of consciousness in Victorian science,” at the Department of Physics of University of Texas, Austin, Texas, in February 2015. He delivered “Asteroid Apocalypse: Astronomers and the Vicissitudes of Prediction,” at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland in April 2015.
Stanley presented “Eddington, Religion, and the Roots of Information Science” at the Information and Interactions Conference at Trinity College, Cambridge, UK, in March 2014; “On Being a Religious Scientist: the Case of A.S. Eddington” at the American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Meeting in February 2014; “Scientific Sex or Biblical Sexiness: the Nickel Pamphlets of E. Haldeman-Julius” at the American Historical Association/American Society for Church History Annual Meeting in January 2014; and “How to Be a Religious Scientist: Lessons from History in Thinking about God and Nature,” at the New York Academy of Sciences in January 2014. Along with Hans Halvorson, he presented at the April 2014 NYU’s Veritas Forum on the question “Can Science and Faith CoExist?” He spoke on the March 2014 Nature Podcast “Testing Einstein.”
Professor Stanley and Professor Hallie Franks were awarded a Curriculum Development Grant for “Achilles’ Shield: Mapping the Ancient Cosmos,” a new course that they will co-teach in the spring of 2015. Stanley’s Huxley’s Church and Maxwell’s Demon: From Theistic Science to Naturalistic Science was published by University of Chicago Press in November 2014. He was a commentator for the April 29, 2014 New York Theatre Workshop production of Eureka.