Anna-Luna Post wins Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome Van Woudenberg Dissertation Award

Galileo Galilei
Galileo Galilei © Wikimedia

Anna-Luna Post recently received the Van Woudenberg Dissertation Prize from the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome. She won the prize for her PhD thesis ‘Claiming Fame for Galileo: Reputation and Scholarly Credibility in Early Modern Italy’.

Posts dissertation on scientists and fame

Posts PhD thesis focuses on the famous (and controversial) scientist Galileo Galilei. She asks: how does one become famous as a scientist, and how does this guide our knowledge? She shows that Galileo's fame was also shaped by non-scientists, and that the interference of, for example, courtiers, poets and priests was crucial to the way in which his fame was achieved.

“Some saw Galileo’s fame as a sign of quality, others saw it as a danger”, Post says. “The specific link that different groups and individuals made between his fame and his scientific credibility was largely determined by legal and religious practices and beliefs.”

“Although my doctoral research focuses specifically on the case of Galileo and the period in which he himself lived, clear parallels can be drawn with the present: for example, we also see today that the fame of scientists is largely formed through non-scientific channels”, Post indicates.

Laudatory jury report

The jury report praised the wealth of perspectives, sources consulted and penetrating analyses. “[The thesis] makes new contributions to the state of research, first of all by unfolding a connection between science, law and religion in all kinds of respects.”

“It is a multifaceted research concerning an appealing theme that offers prospects for further elaboration, internationally, interdisciplinarily and diachronically, and that can contribute to correcting the view of the practice of science in Italy.”

Van Woudenberg Dissertation Award

Every other year, the Friends of KNIR Foundation awards the Van Woudenberg Dissertation Prize to a recently graduated researcher who has used a stay at KNIR in an inspiring way for their doctoral research.

The prize is named after Gerda van Woudenberg, translator and teacher of Dutch Language and Literature at the University of Rome La Sapienza, and consists of a sum of 2,500 euros, of which 1,000 euros can be spent freely. The rest of the amount is intended to organise a workshop at KNIR. In addition, the three finalists will receive a one-year membership of the Friends of KNIR Foundation.