In Memoriam: Trevor H. Levere (1944-2022)

December 15, 2022 by Adriana Leviston

It is with deep sadness that the IHPST announces the passing of our colleague Professor Emeritus Trevor Levere on November 1, 2022. He will be missed by his many colleagues, friends, and former students at the IHPST and beyond.

Trevor was born on March 21, 1944, in London, England. He studied chemistry, modern history, and the history of science at the University of Oxford, before joining IHPST in 1968, where he taught for 39 years until his retirement. In 2006, recognizing his outstanding scholarly achievements, the University of Toronto appointed him University Professor, its highest research honour.

Trevor was a world-renowned historian of chemistry with wide-ranging interests that included the relations between science and Romanticism, and the histories of science and Arctic exploration. Little escaped his historical gaze. The range of Trevor’ scholarly pursuits notwithstanding, his writings embodied a core set of scholarly values — thorough research, meticulous documentation, and accessible and elegant writing. His many books are exemplars of the writer’s craft. Over a long and immensely productive career, he supervised 19 doctoral candidates and held visiting fellowships in Paris (CNRS), Cambridge (Clare Hall), MIT (the Dibner Institute), and Barcelona (Universitat Pompeu Fabra). He also served as the editor of Annals of Science for fourteen years and co-editor, with David Knight, of the Ashgate Series “Science, Technology and Culture 1700-1945”. 

As a senior member of IHPST’s faculty, with a wealth of administrative experience through two terms as Director, Trevor was generous in mentoring junior faculty on balancing their dedication to research with the rewards of teaching and administrative duties. In his role as Director, he proved instrumental in stewarding IHPST’s transition from a graduate unit in the School of Graduate Studies to a department in the Faculty of Arts & Science. The university-wide student interest in IHPST’s vibrant undergraduate programs, and vibrant and interdisciplinary graduate program are an important part of his leadership and legacy at IHPST.

Trevor will be deeply missed by the IHPST community. A memorial service is being planned for Spring 2023 where we will have the opportunity to celebrate his legacy. The Institute extends its condolences to Trevor’s family: his wife, Jennifer; his children, Kevin and Rebecca; his grandchildren, Kate, Besu, Abenu, Naomi and Milo; and his brother, Kenneth.