The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences has awarded the Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for History 2020 to the MPIWG's Director Emerita Lorraine Daston. Daston receives the prize for her study of the development of the concept of objectivity and for the transformation she has brought about in the history of science.
The Heineken Prizes are the Netherlands’ most prestigious international science prizes, instituted in 1964 by Alfred H. Heineken in honor of his father Dr Henry P. Heineken. They are awarded to five leading researchers every two years.
Daston has published on a wide range of topics in the history of science, from miracles, monsters, and scientific virtues in early modern natural science to the history of probability theory, from the moral authority of nature to the history of scientific observation. During her time at the MPIWG (1994–2019), she turned Department II into a hallmark in the history of science. As one of the leading historians of science worldwide she laid foundations in her research that made visible the historical changeability of key scientific terminologies such as objectivity, reason, and rationality, from the early modern period to the time of the Cold War. Her current work deals with the memory of science and with the connection between science and modernity.
A sought-after commentator on current developments in the sciences, Daston also received the 2012 Sarton Medal for Scholarly Achievement—the highest honor of the American History of Science Society—and the Dan David Prize in 2018, among many other awards and honors. In addition to being Director Emerita at the MPIWG, she is a professor at the University of Chicago, a permanent fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg Berlin, and a member of major scientific academies and associations.