W. Patrick McCray, professor of history at UC Santa Barbara, has received the 2014 Watson Davis and Helen Miles Davis Prize from the History of Science Society for his book “The Visioneers: How a Group of Elite Scientists Pursued Space Colonies, Nanotechnologies, and a Limitless Future” (Princeton University Press). The annual prize is awarded “to the author of a book useful in undergraduate teaching or which promotes public understanding of the history of science.”
In “The Visioneers,” McCray explores how forward-looking scientists and engineers in the 1970s and 1980s strove to make exploration and colonization of outer space and the micro-world a reality. The prize committee described McCray’s book as “deeply researched, written in lucid prose, and deftly weaving together science, technology, business, politics, and popular culture.”
The award was presented to McCray on Saturday, November 8th at the annual meeting of the History of Science Society in Chicago, IL.
The Davis prize is named in honor of the longtime director of Science Service and his wife, and was established in 1985 through a long-term pledge from Miles and Audrey Davis.
The History of Science Society is the world’s largest society dedicated to understanding science, technology, medicine, and their interactions with society in historical context. Over 3,000 individual and institutional members across the world support the Society’s mission to foster interest in the history of science and its social and cultural relations.