Former IHPST Director Honored with the Koyré Medal in Science History

April 2, 2024 by Dr. Pamela Fuentes Peralta

In a ceremony held in Paris on March 18, Jed Buchwald, professor of history at CalTech and a former director of the IHPST, was honoured with the 2023 Alexandre Koyré Medal. This honour, presented by the International Academy of the History of Science, celebrates a scholar's career contributions and achievements.  



Buchwald's illustrious career, spanning several decades, has been marked by profound contributions to the understanding of the history of physics. Before his tenure at CalTech, where he holds the title of Doris and Henry Dreyfuss Professor of History, Buchwald was a key faculty member at the IHPST from 1973 to 1992, significantly promoting the study and appreciation of the history of science.  



In a recent interview in which he expressed his feelings on receiving the Alexandre Koyré Medal, Buchwald revealed both surprise and honor. Despite of the fact that the accolade might be associated with the culmination of a scholar's long-lasting career, Buchwald noted that he remains actively engaged in research. He is currently working on different projects, one of them is a book tentatively titled "The Replication of an Effect: Discovering and Manipulating Electric Waves," with Chen-Pang Yeang, his last graduate student from MIT and now a professor at the IHPSTThe book investigates Heinrich Hertz's claimed discovery of electric waves in 1887-88 and its subsequent research in Europe until the 20th century. The researchers focus on the transformation of the electric wave from a challenging laboratory phenomenon to a stable scientific object used for practical applications. Their research includes reviewing texts, examining historical instruments, and the replication of historical experiments.    


Buchwald's ongoing projects underline his commitment to advancing the field. This recognition is another a landmark in his continuous journey of exploration and discovery in the history of science.