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Institute of Advanced Study

Professor Leonid Zhmud

COFUND Senior Research Fellow at Van Mildert College (April - June 2016)

Prof Zhmud is a highly distinguished scholar at the Institute for the History of Science and Technology, Russian Academy of the Sciences, St. Petersburg, specialising in the fields of ancient science and philosophy.

Social Analysis of Hellenistic Science. The history of Greek science is studied as a rule in its internal, cognitive aspects, focusing on the methods, techniques, discoveries, theories and results while paying very little attention to its social organization and environment. This is determined predominantly by two factors: first, by the fact that the social institutions of Greek science were poorly developed compared to modern and even to medieval science; and secondly, by the lack of empirical evidence on ancient Greek scientists, which hindered any valid quantitative analysis and generalization as practiced in social history and sociology of science. But even if Greek science did not possess its own developed social institutions, that does not mean that it was unaffected by social factors. The project deals first and foremost not with the content or techniques of Greek science, but with scientists and their relationships between themselves and their social environment during the Hellenistic period. It might be expected that the collected and quantified data on the Hellenistic scientists will help us to draw an averaged social portrait of a scientist of this period, to analyse various social cells and institutions existing in the scientific milieu and to give a more precise picture of the social climate scientists worked in.