Department of History and Philosophy of Science

Teaching Officers

Liba Taub

Liba Taub

Director and Curator of the Whipple Museum

Research interests: History of scientific instruments and the preservation of material relating to scientific heritage; early science and mathematics, particularly physics, meteorology and astronomy

Liba Taub is a co-investigator on the AHRC-funded project Diagrams, Figures and the Transformation of Astronomy, 1450–1650.

Taub has been awarded an Einstein Foundation Visiting Fellowship to support her work with the Berlin-based excellence cluster TOPOI: The Formation and Transformation of Space and Knowledge in Ancient Civilizations.

Selected publications

  • '"Problematising" the Problems: The Problemata in relation to other question-and-answer texts', in R. Mayhew (ed.), The Aristotelian Problemata: Philosophical and Scientific Investigations, Leiden: Brill, 2015, 413–36
  • '"Perhaps irrelevant": the iconography of Tycho Brahe's small brass quadrant' (with Emma Perkins), Iconography of Scientific Instruments, thematic issue of Nuncius: Journal of the Material and Visual History of Science 30 (2015), 9–36
  • 'On the Variety of "Genres" of Greek Mathematical Writing: Thinking about Mathematical Texts and Modes of Mathematical Discourse', in M. Asper (ed.), Writing Science: Medical and Mathematical Authorship in Ancient Greece (De Gruyter, 2013), 333–366
  • 'Physiological analogies and metaphors in explanations of the earth and the cosmos', in Blood, Sweat and Tears – The Changing Concepts of Physiology from Antiquity into Early Modern Europe, eds. M. Horstmanshoff, H. King, C. Zittel, Leiden: Brill, 2012, pp. 41–63
  • Structures and strategies in ancient Greek and Roman technical writing (edited and introduced with Aude Doody and Sabine Föllinger), special issue of Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 43 (2012) ('Structures and strategies in ancient Greek and Roman technical writing: An Introduction', 233–236)
  • 'Reengaging with Instruments', introduction to commissioned Focus section: The History of Scientific Instruments (with articles by Jim Bennett, Simon Schaffer, Ken Arnold and Thomas Søderqvist), for which I served as editor, Isis 102 (December 2011): 689–696
  • 'Greco-Roman Meteorology and Navigation', in Maritime Technology in the Ancient Economy: Ship-Design and Navigation, eds. W.V. Harris and I. Kara, Journal of Roman Archaeology, supplementary series no. 84, 2011, 133–146
  • 'Translating the Phainomena across genre, language and culture', in Writings of early scholars in the ancient Near East, Egypt and Greece: Zur Übersetzbarkeit von Wissenschaftssprachen des Altertums, eds. Annette Imhausen und Tanja Pommerening, Berlin: De Gruyter, 2010, pp. 109–127
  • 'Das Lebewesen und die Erde: Analogie oder Metapher in physikalischen Erklärungen der Antike?', AKAN (Antike Naturwissenschaft und ihre Rezeption) XX, ed. Jochen Althoff, Sabine Föllinger, Georg Wöhrle, Trier, 2010, 1–14
  • On Scientific Instruments (edited and introduced), special issue of Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Volume 40, Issue 4, pages 337–438 (December 2009) ('On Scientific Instruments', 337–343)
  • Authorial Voices in Greco-Roman Technical Writing (edited and introduced with Aude Doody, Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag, AKAN-Einzelschriften Band 7, 2009)
  • 'Cosmology and Meteorology', in Cambridge Companion to Epicureanism, ed. James Warren (Cambridge University Press, 2009), 105–124
  • Aetna and the Moon: Explaining Nature in Ancient Greece and Rome (Oregon State University Press, 2008)
  • '"Eratosthenes sends greetings to King Ptolemy": Reading the contents of a "mathematical" letter', Mathematics Celestial and Terrestial. Festschrift für Menso Folkerts zum 65. Geburtstag. Eds. Joseph W. Dauben, Stefan Kirschner, Paul Kunitzsch und Richard Lorch. Halle (Saale): Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina, Acta Historica Leopoldina 54 (2008): 285–302
  • 'Presenting a "Life" as a Guide to Living: Ancient Accounts of the Life of Pythagoras', in The History and Poetics of Scientific Biography, ed. Thomas Söderqvist, Ashgate (2007), pp. 17–36
  • The Whipple Museum of the History of Science: Instruments and Interpretations, to Celebrate the 60th Anniversary of R.S. Whipple's Gift to the University of Cambridge (edited and introduced with Frances Willmoth, Cambridge University Press, September 2006)
  • 'Are orreries "Newtonian"? A consideration of the material, textual and pictorial evidence', in The Whipple Museum of the History of Science: Instruments and Interpretations (Cambridge University Press, 2006), pp. 403–426
  • 'Preserving nature? Ecology, tourism and other themes in the national parks', Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C; Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 37, 3 (September 2006): 602–611
  • Ancient Meteorology (Routledge, 2003; Greek translation, Enalios, 2008)
  • 'Instruments of Alexandrian Astronomy: The Uses of the Equinoctial Rings', in Science and Mathematics in Ancient Greek Culture, ed. C.J. Tuplin and T.E. Rihll (Oxford University Press, 2002), pp. 133–149
  • 'On the Role of Museums in History of Science, Technology and Medicine', Endeavour 22 (2), (1998): 41–43
  • 'Heroes of Microscopy and Museology', Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 30, 4 (1999): 729–44
  • 'Evolutionary Ideas and "Empirical" Methods: The Analogy between Language and Species in Works by Lyell and Schleicher', British Journal for the History of Science 26 (June 1993): 171–193
  • 'The Historical Function of the Forma Urbis Romae', Imago Mundi 45 (1993): 9–19
  • Ptolemy's Universe: The Natural Philosophical and Ethical Foundations of Ptolemy's Astronomy (Chicago: Open Court, 1993)

Selected broadcasts