Associate Professor Ofer Gal

F07 - Carslaw Building
The University of Sydney


Biographical details

Ofer Gal received his PhD from the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University Pittsburgh and his MA from Tel Aviv. He joined Sydney Unit for HPS in 2004, and spent research periods at The Max Planck Institute for History of Science in Berlin, The Dibner Institute at MIT, The Princeton Institute of Advanced Studies and the Program of History of Science at Princeton University. He served as the director of the Unit for HPS 2005-2011 and is currently the director of the Sydney Centre for the Foundations of Science.

Research interests

Ofer Gal works on the coming into being of science as practice and culture during the 17th century and on the historical and philosophical foundations of its success since. He has written on the history of celestial mechanics and optics, on realism and constructivism, on Galileo, Kepler, Descartes, Hooke and Newton.Most of Ofer's publications in recent years come from his Baroque Science project, which explores the anxieties, dilemmas and paradoxical compromises that shaped the New Science in the 17th century' and allowed its spectacular success.

Currently he is working on two main projects. The first, 'Passionate Knowledge', studies the ethical and political ramifications of this success, concentrating on the place assigned to the passions - anger, fear, desire, wonder Ð as a basis for a naturalized conception of knowledge, from which emerged an ethics that reduced 'good' to 'good for Man' and political thought that stressed the primacy of sovereignty over law. The other, 'global knowledge', is a collaborative study of the ways in which the unprecedented global economic and cultural network developing during the 16-17th centuries brought about fundamental changes in practices and modes of knowledge in Asia and Europe.

Selected grants

2012

  • Putting Periodisation to Use: Exploring the Limits of Early Modernity; Gagne J, Gal O, Gaukroger S, Griffiths H, Maddox A, McIlvenna U, Parsons N, Semler L; Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences/FASS Collaborative Research Scheme.

2010

  • From Scientific Revolutions to crises in science: Reappraising the rise of modern chemistry; Boantza V, Gal O; DVC Research/Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Scheme.

2007

  • The origins of scientific experimental practices: from the anatomical theater to the conversations of the Royal Society; Gal O, Wolfe C; Australian Research Council (ARC)/Discovery Projects (DP).

2006

  • The imperfection of the Universe: Music Mathematics, Technology and the dis-(order) of Nature in Baroque Science; Gal O; Australian Research Council (ARC)/Discovery Projects (DP).

Selected publications

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Books

  • Gal, O., Chen-Morris, R. (2013). Baroque Science. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.
  • Gal, O. (2002). Meanest Foundations and Nobler Superstructures: Hooke, Newton and the "Compounding of the Celestiall Motions of the Planetts". United States: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Edited Books

  • Gal, O., Chen-Morris, R. (2013). Science in the Age of Baroque. Dordrecht: Springer Science + Business Media.
  • Wolfe, C., Gal, O. (2010). The Body as Object and Instrument of Knowledge: Embodied Empiricism in Early Modern Science. Dordrecht: Springer Science + Business Media.

Book Chapters

  • Gal, O., Chen-Morris, R. (2013). Baroque Modes and the Production of Knowledge. In Ofer Gal, Raz Chen-Morris (Eds.), Science in the Age of Baroque, (pp. 1-9). Dordrecht: Springer Science + Business Media.
  • Gal, O. (2013). From Divine Order to Human Approximation: Mathematics in Baroque Science. In Ofer Gal, Raz Chen-Morris (Eds.), Science in the Age of Baroque, (pp. 77-96). Dordrecht: Springer Science + Business Media.
  • Gal, O., Chen-Morris, R. (2011). Galileo, the Jesuits, and the controversy over the comets: What was The Assayer really about? In Marcelo Dascal & Victor D. Boantza (Eds.), Controversies Within the Scientific Revolution, (pp. 33-52). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
  • Wolfe, C., Gal, O. (2010). Embodied Empiricism. In Charles T. Wolf & Ofer Gal (Eds.), The Body as Object and Instrument of Knowledge: Embodied Empiricism in Early Modern Science, (pp. 1-5). Dordrecht: Springer Science + Business Media.
  • Gal, O., Chen-Morris, R. (2010). Empiricism Without the Senses: How the Instrument Replaced the Eye. In Charles T. Wolf & Ofer Gal (Eds.), The Body as Object and Instrument of Knowledge: Embodied Empiricism in Early Modern Science, (pp. 121-147). Dordrecht: Springer Science + Business Media.
  • Gal, O. (2007). Controversies over controversies: An ontological perspective on the place of controversy in current historiography. In Marcelo Dascal and Han-liang Chang (Eds.), Traditions of Controversy, (pp. 267-279). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
  • Gal, O. (2006). Hooke's Programme: Final Thoughts. In Michael Cooper & Michael Hunter (Eds.), Robert Hooke: Tercentennial Studies, (pp. 33-48). Aldershot, England: Ashgate.
  • Gal, O. (2002). Nature's Grammar: Robert Hooke's Intellectual Persona. In Wessely, Anna (Eds.), Intellectuals and the Politics of the Humanities, (pp. 43-58). Budapest: Collegium Budapest Workshop.

Journals

  • Gal, O., Zheng, Y. (2014). Global Motion and the Production of Knowledge. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 30, 1-12. [More Information]
  • Gal, O. (2014). Two Bohemian Journeys: Real, Imaginary and Idealized Voyages at the Turn of the Seventeenth Century. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 30, 15-30.
  • Gal, O., Chen-Morris, R. (2012). Nature's drawing: problems and resolutions in the mathematization of motion. Synthese: an international journal for epistemology, methodology and philosophy of science, 185, 429-466. [More Information]
  • Boantza, V., Gal, O. (2011). The 'absolute existence' of phlogiston: the losing party's point of view. British Society for the History of Science, 44(3), 317-342. [More Information]
  • Gal, O., Chen-Morris, R. (2010). Baroque Optics and the Disappearance of the Observer: From Kepler's Optics to Descartes' Doubt. Journal of the History of Ideas: an international quarterly devoted to intellectual history, 71(2), 191-217.
  • Gal, O., Chen-Morris, R. (2006). The Archaeology of the Inverse Square Law: (2) The use and non-use of mathematics. History of Science, 44(143), 49-67.
  • Gal, O., Chen-Morris, R. (2005). The archaeology of the inverse square law: (1) metaphysical images and mathematical practices. History of Science, 43(4), 391-414.
  • Gal, O. (2005). The invention of celestial mechanics (part of "Open Forum: Newton vs Hooke on Gravitation"). Early Science and Medicine, 10(4), 529-534.
  • Gal, O. (2004). Hooke, Newton, And The Trials Of Historical Examination. Physics Today, 57(8), 19-20.
  • Gal, O. (2002). Constructivism for Philosophers (Be it a Remark on Realism). Perspectives on Science: historical, philosophical, social, 10(4), 523-549.

2014

  • Gal, O., Zheng, Y. (2014). Global Motion and the Production of Knowledge. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 30, 1-12. [More Information]
  • Gal, O. (2014). Two Bohemian Journeys: Real, Imaginary and Idealized Voyages at the Turn of the Seventeenth Century. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 30, 15-30.

2013

  • Gal, O., Chen-Morris, R. (2013). Baroque Modes and the Production of Knowledge. In Ofer Gal, Raz Chen-Morris (Eds.), Science in the Age of Baroque, (pp. 1-9). Dordrecht: Springer Science + Business Media.
  • Gal, O., Chen-Morris, R. (2013). Baroque Science. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.
  • Gal, O. (2013). From Divine Order to Human Approximation: Mathematics in Baroque Science. In Ofer Gal, Raz Chen-Morris (Eds.), Science in the Age of Baroque, (pp. 77-96). Dordrecht: Springer Science + Business Media.
  • Gal, O., Chen-Morris, R. (2013). Science in the Age of Baroque. Dordrecht: Springer Science + Business Media.

2012

  • Gal, O., Chen-Morris, R. (2012). Nature's drawing: problems and resolutions in the mathematization of motion. Synthese: an international journal for epistemology, methodology and philosophy of science, 185, 429-466. [More Information]

2011

  • Gal, O., Chen-Morris, R. (2011). Galileo, the Jesuits, and the controversy over the comets: What was The Assayer really about? In Marcelo Dascal & Victor D. Boantza (Eds.), Controversies Within the Scientific Revolution, (pp. 33-52). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
  • Boantza, V., Gal, O. (2011). The 'absolute existence' of phlogiston: the losing party's point of view. British Society for the History of Science, 44(3), 317-342. [More Information]

2010

  • Gal, O., Chen-Morris, R. (2010). Baroque Optics and the Disappearance of the Observer: From Kepler's Optics to Descartes' Doubt. Journal of the History of Ideas: an international quarterly devoted to intellectual history, 71(2), 191-217.
  • Wolfe, C., Gal, O. (2010). Embodied Empiricism. In Charles T. Wolf & Ofer Gal (Eds.), The Body as Object and Instrument of Knowledge: Embodied Empiricism in Early Modern Science, (pp. 1-5). Dordrecht: Springer Science + Business Media.
  • Gal, O., Chen-Morris, R. (2010). Empiricism Without the Senses: How the Instrument Replaced the Eye. In Charles T. Wolf & Ofer Gal (Eds.), The Body as Object and Instrument of Knowledge: Embodied Empiricism in Early Modern Science, (pp. 121-147). Dordrecht: Springer Science + Business Media.
  • Wolfe, C., Gal, O. (2010). The Body as Object and Instrument of Knowledge: Embodied Empiricism in Early Modern Science. Dordrecht: Springer Science + Business Media.

2007

  • Gal, O. (2007). Controversies over controversies: An ontological perspective on the place of controversy in current historiography. In Marcelo Dascal and Han-liang Chang (Eds.), Traditions of Controversy, (pp. 267-279). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

2006

  • Gal, O. (2006). Hooke's Programme: Final Thoughts. In Michael Cooper & Michael Hunter (Eds.), Robert Hooke: Tercentennial Studies, (pp. 33-48). Aldershot, England: Ashgate.
  • Gal, O., Chen-Morris, R. (2006). The Archaeology of the Inverse Square Law: (2) The use and non-use of mathematics. History of Science, 44(143), 49-67.

2005

  • Gal, O., Chen-Morris, R. (2005). The archaeology of the inverse square law: (1) metaphysical images and mathematical practices. History of Science, 43(4), 391-414.
  • Gal, O. (2005). The invention of celestial mechanics (part of "Open Forum: Newton vs Hooke on Gravitation"). Early Science and Medicine, 10(4), 529-534.

2004

  • Gal, O. (2004). Hooke, Newton, And The Trials Of Historical Examination. Physics Today, 57(8), 19-20.

2002

  • Gal, O. (2002). Constructivism for Philosophers (Be it a Remark on Realism). Perspectives on Science: historical, philosophical, social, 10(4), 523-549.
  • Gal, O. (2002). Meanest Foundations and Nobler Superstructures: Hooke, Newton and the "Compounding of the Celestiall Motions of the Planetts". United States: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
  • Gal, O. (2002). Nature's Grammar: Robert Hooke's Intellectual Persona. In Wessely, Anna (Eds.), Intellectuals and the Politics of the Humanities, (pp. 43-58). Budapest: Collegium Budapest Workshop.

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