European Pysical Society

Prof. James Arthur Bennett
Former Board Member (2007 - 2018)
(2 April 1947 - 28 October 2023)

  1. Jim Bennett was educated at Grosvenor High School, a grammar school in Belfast, Northern Ireland

  2. He studied at Clare College, Cambridge, graduating with Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in 1969

  3. He became a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge (1974) with doctoral thesis "Studies in the life and work of Sir Christopher Wren"

  1. He works as a museum curator

  2. Jim Bennett was director of the History of Science Museum in the University of Oxford, UK (1994-2012)


    In the area of history of science he investigated

  1. History of practical mathematics from the 16th century to the 18th century

  2. Scientific instruments

  3. History of Astronomy

  4. Navigation and travel

  1. 2020 Sarton Medal, History of Science Society

  2. The PhysicsEstoire prize has awarded to Jim Bennett on 19 October 2018. The ceremony took place during the Joint 3rd International Conference on the History of Physics, organised under the auspices of the European Physical Society in Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain

  1. J. Bennett, The First Nautical Almanac and Astronomical Ephemeris’, C. Hohenkerk and K. Seidelmann, eds, The History of Celestial Navigation, Cham, pp.145-56 (2020)

  2. J. Bennett, Rebekah Higgitt, London 1600-1800: Communities of Natural Knowledge and Artificial Practice, British Journal for the History of Science (52) 183-196 (2019)

  3. J. Bennett, Mathematicians on Board: Introducing Lunar Distances to Life at Sea, British Journal for the History of Science (52) 65-83 (2019)

  4. J. Bennett, Thomas Tompion, Robert Hooke and Christopher Wren, The Clive Collection of Exceptional Clocks and Watches, Bonhams, London (2019), pp. 23-25

  5. J. Bennett, That incomparable instrument maker: the reputation of Henry Sutton, in J. Nall, L. Taub and F. Willmoth, eds, The Whipple Museum of the History of Science, Cambridge (2019) pp. 83-100

  6. J. Bennett, Adventures with Instruments: Science and Seafaring in the Precarious Career of Christopher Middleton, Notes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science (73) 303-327 (2019)

  7. J. Bennett, Sylvia Sumira, Were Globes Used in the Practice of Early Modern Astrology?, in Richard Dunn, Silke Ackermann and Giorgio Strano, eds, Heaven and Earth United: Instruments in Astrological Contexts, Leiden, Brill (2018) pp. 210-229

  8. J. Bennett, Mathematical Instruments in Florence: a Cataloguing Project and its Relevance for Historians of the Sixteenth Century, Oberwolfach Reports (14) 3477-3480 (2017)

  9. J. Bennett, Instruments and Practical Mathematics in the Commonwealth of Richard Hakluyt, in Anthony Payne, ed., Hakluyt & Oxford. Essays and Exhibitions Marking the Quartercentenary of the Death of Richard Hakluyt (London, The Hakluyt Society (2017) pp. 35-52

  10. J. Bennett, Prenten en de prentkunst in het werk van Robert Hooke, in Esther van Gelder, et al, Dingen die ergens toe dienen: Verhalen over materiële cultuur van wetenschap, Hilversum (2017), pp.12-15

  11. J. Bennett, Navigation: a very short introduction, Oxford University Press (2017)

  12. J. Bennett, S. Talas, Cabinets of experimental philosophy in eighteenth-century Europe, Leiden, Brill (2013)

  13. J. Bennett, London's Leonardo: the life and work of Robert Hooke, Oxford University Press (2003)

  14. J. Bennett, Knowing and doing in the sixteenth century: What were instruments for? BJHS (36) 129-150 (2002)

  15. J. Bennett, S. Mandelbrote, The garden, the ark, the tower, the temple : biblical metaphors of knowledge in early modern Europe, Oxford (1998)

  16. J A Bennett; S. Johnston, The geometry of war, 1500-1750 : catalogue of the exhibition, Oxford Museum of the History of Science (1996)

  17. J. Bennett, D. Meli, Sphaera mundi : astronomy books in the Whipple Museum, 1478-1600 (1994)

  18. R. Anderson, J. Bennett, W. Ryan, Making instruments count : essays on historical scientific instruments presented to Gerard L'Estrange Turner (1993)

  19. J. Bennett, Empires of physics: a guide to the exhibition, Cambridge (1993)

  20. J. Bennett, Church, state, and astronomy in Ireland: 200 years of Armagh Observatory, the Queen's University of Belfast (1990)

  21. J. Bennett, The divided circle: a history of instruments for astronomy, navigation, and surveying, Oxford University Press (1987)

  22. J. Bennett, The mechanics’ philosophy and mechanical philosophy, History of Science (24) 1-28 (1986)

  23. J. Bennett, The mathematical science of Christopher Wren, Cambridge University Press (1982)


  1. Personal website

  2. Personal website

  3. Professor Jim Bennett Keeper Emeritus, Science Museum, London

  4. P. M. Schuster, 3rd International Conference of History of Physics, e-EPS, 20 November 2018; Europhysics news (2018)

  5. History of Science Society Awards Sarton Medal to James Bennett

  6. History of Science Society (HSS) Sarton Medal 2020: James Bennett, HPS&ST Newsletter, July 2020, p. 6

  7. Professor Jim Bennett the Museum’s Director from 1994-2012, died on 28 October 2023

Created: 24 February 2017
Updated: 18 November 2020