Levere, Trevor H(arvey) 1944-

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LEVERE, Trevor H(arvey) 1944-

PERSONAL: Born March 21, 1944, in London, England; son of Godfrey and Vicki (Mendes da Costa) Levere; married Jennifer Tiesing (a teacher), July 30, 1966; children: Kevin Christopher, Rebecca Catherine. Education: New College, Oxford, B.A., 1966, D.Phil., 1969. Religion: Jewish. Hobbies and other interests: Bird watching, music, reading.

ADDRESSES: Home—Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Office—Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, Victoria College, University of Toronto, 91 Charles Street West, Toronto M5S 1K7, Ontario, Canada. E-mail—[email protected].

CAREER: University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, assistant professor, 1969-74, associate professor, 1974-81, professor of the history of science, 1981—, director, Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, 1981-86, 1993-98, director, Museum Studies Program, 1982. Fellow, Victoria College, 1982. Visiting fellow, Clare Hall, Cambridge University, 1983; resident fellow, Dibner Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1995. Visiting scholar, Scott Polar Research Institute, 1983-84

MEMBER: International Academy of the History of Science (corresponding member), Royal Society of Canada (fellow), Canadian Society for the History of Science, History of Science Society, Royal Geographical Society (fellow), British Society for the History of Science, Royal Dutch Society of Sciences (foreign member), Académie Internationale d'Histoire des Sciences (Paris).

AWARDS, HONORS: Killam fellow, 1975-77; Guggenheim fellow, 1983-84; D.Litt., Oxford University, 1999.


Affinity and Matter: Elements of Chemical Philosophy, 1800-1865, Clarendon Press (Oxford, England),1971.

(With G. L'E. Turner) Martinus Van Marum, Volume 4, Noordhoff International, 1973.

Poetry Realized in Nature: Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Early Nineteenth-Century Science, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 1981.

Science and the Canadian Arctic: A Century of Exploration, 1818-1918, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 1993.

Chemists and Chemistry in Science and Society, 1770-1878, Variorum (Brookfield, VT), 1994.

Transforming Matter: A History of Chemistry from Alchemy to the Buckyball, John Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 2001.

(With Gerard L'E. Turner) Discussing Chemistry and Steam: The Minutes of a Coffee House Philosophical Society, 1780-1787, Oxford university Press (Oxford, England), 2002.


(With R. Jarrell) A Curious Field-Book: Science and Society in Canadian History, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1973.

Editing Texts in the History of Science and Medicine, Garland Publishing (New York, NY), 1982.

(With W. Shea) Nature, Experiment, and the Sciences: Essays on Galileo and the History of Science, Kluwer (Boston, MA), 1990.

(With N. M. Swerdlow) Stillman Drake, Essays on Galileo and the History and Philosophy of Science, University of Toronto Press (Buffalo, NY), 1999.

(With F. L. Holmes) Instruments and Experimentation in the History of Chemistry, MIT Press (Cambridge, MA), 2000.

Also editor of the Annals of Science, 1999—.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Research on the history of chemistry from the eighteenth through the nineteenth centuries; research on late eighteenth-century scientific society in England.

SIDELIGHTS: Trevor H. Levere is a scholar pursuing research in the history of chemistry. Levere's particular interests include the history of items of chemical apparatus, and he has used archeological discoveries to dispute some of the written records of instrument use through the Middle Ages and early Renaissance. He has also written about the gradual transformation of chemical research from a matter of speculative alchemy to a science of cumulative, research-based conclusions. Instruments and Experimentation in the History of Chemistry, which Levere edited with Frederic L. Holmes, drew praise from American Scientist contributor Arthur Greenberg, who felt that the chapters "are uniformly well-written and well edited.... They are written both for chemical historians and for a more general readership, since unfamiliar terms are defined, and often the workings of unfamiliar apparatus are explained. Each chapter ends with an extremely useful summary." Thomas L. Hankins in the Times Literary Supplement found the book to contain "important additions and corrections to the history of science."

Transforming Matter: A History of Chemistry from Alchemy to the Buckyball is a survey textbook based on Levere's lectures to his students at the University of Toronto. Anthony R. Butler in American Scientist maintained that the topic "is explained with precision and clarity." The critic concluded: "The general reader with more than a passing interest in the development of modern science would find much of interest."

Levere once told CA: "My first degree was in chemistry, but I had a lively historical interest and was delighted to find that history of science enabled me to combine my interests. I have been fortunate in working at a university that encourages me to pursue research and writing. My principal current project involves looking at historical chemical apparatus, as well as manuscripts and publications from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, to gain some understanding of the practice of science and the interplay between ideas and instruments."



American Scientist, July, 2001, Arthur Greenberg, "Apparatus and Acumen," p. 372; September, 2001, Anthony R. Butler, "Chemistry's Coming of Age," p. 473.

Times Literary Supplement, January 11, 2002, Thomas L. Hankins, review of Instruments and Experimentation in the History of Chemistry, p. 7.

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