Nancy Nersessian Awarded Inaugural Patrick Suppes Prize
Nancy Nersessian, Regents' Professor and Professor of Cognitive Science at the Georgia Institute of Technology and member of the Governing Board of Philosophy of Science Association, has been named by the American Philosophical Society as the first recipient of its Patrick Suppes Prize in Philosophy of Science for her book Creating Scientific Concepts (MIT Press, 2008). The prize carries a $10,000 stipend.
Dr. Nersessian's research focuses on creativity, innovation, and conceptual change in science. To this end, she works to bring together methodologies and conceptual frameworks from cognitive science, philosophy of science, and history of science, exploring both the cognitive and cultural mechanisms that lead to scientific innovation.
In her first book Faraday to Einstein: Constructing Meaning in Scientific Theories (Kluwer Press, 1984/1990), Dr. Nersessian emphasized the need for a better way to talk about the meaning of scientific concepts but did not introduce systematic ideas from cognitive science and developmental psychology to understand scientific change. This she has done in Creating Scientific Concepts. Her analysis of Maxwell's complicated departure from a mechanical conception of electromagnetic phenomena and the discovery of his fundamental electromagnetic equations was described by the American Philosophical Association as "probably the best work of this kind to be found in the recent literature." Dr. Nersessian's work in this field draws from an incredible array of sources, from concepts and analyses in cognitive science to the extensive body of literature on scientific practices available in the social science field, and from her own theoretical analyses of problems to historical documents and interviews with scholars.
The Patrick Suppes Prize was established and funded five years ago by Patrick Suppes, the Lucie Stern Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Stanford University and long-standing member of the American Philosophical Society. The prize will be awarded annually, recognizing one of three areas -- philosophy with special consideration for the philosophy of science, psychology, and the history of science -- every third year. The selection of the inaugural recipient of the Patrick Suppes Prize was made by Pat Suppes, in consultation with Jordi Cat (Indiana University), Thomas Ryckman (Stanford University), Michael Friedman (Stanford University), Helen Longino (Stanford University), George Smith (Tufts University), and Nancy Cartwright (University of California—San Diego/London School of Economics).
The American Philosophical Society (www.amphilsoc.org) is the country's first learned society, playing an important role in American cultural and intellectual life for over 250 years by promoting useful knowledge in the sciences and humanities through excellence in scholarly research, professional meetings, publications, library resources, and community outreach.