Garland E. Allen, professor emeritus of biology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, will receive the History of Science Society’s 2017 Sarton Medal for lifetime scholarly achievement Nov. 10 at the society’s annual meeting in Toronto.
Allen’s research explores the history and philosophy of biology with particular emphasis on the interrelationships between genetics, embryology and evolution. The co-author of several college textbooks, he has made important contributions to the history of genetics and its relationship to eugenics and agriculture in the United States. He is writing a history of genetics in the 20th century, situating the field’s explosive development in its socio-economic context.
Named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2010, Allen has held advisory and leadership roles with the National Science Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution, the Hastings Center, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He has been active in the History of Science Society, serving on its Pfizer Prize Committee and its council from 1994-96.
At the AAAS meeting in 1998, Allen delivered the Sarton Lecture, an annual tradition established in 1960 to bridge the gap between the history of science and the contemporary scientific community. George Sarton was a Belgian chemist-turned-mathematician who moved to the United States at the beginning of World War I. He is credited with founding the field of history of science in the 1930s while he was a professor at Harvard University.