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Professor Robert Crease

Robert Crease

Department Chair

Ph.D. Columbia University, 1987

B.A. Amherst College, 1976

Harriman Hall 209
Stony Brook University

Stony Brook, NY 11794-3750

Tel: 631-632-7570 

Fax: 631-632-7522

Areas of Specialization:  Philosophy and History of Science, Philosophy of Technology, Aesthetics

Robert P. Crease’s latest book is The Workshop and the World: What Ten Thinkers Can Teach us about Science and Authority (Norton 2019).  His previous book, written with physicist Alfred Goldhaber, was The Quantum Moment: How Planck, Bohr, Einstein, and Heisenberg Taught us to Love Uncertainty (Norton 2014).  Crease’s interests are philosophy and history of science and technology.  In philosophy of art, Crease is interested in the phenomenology of the lived body, especially related to dance. He wrote the entry on "Jazz and Dance" for both the Oxford and Cambridge Companions to Jazz.  His edited books include Hermeneutics and the Natural Sciences (Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1997); and translations include What Things Do (Penn State Press, 2009), and, American Philosophy of Technology: The Empirical Turn (Indiana University Press, 2001) from the Dutch. Crease writes a monthly column, "Critical Point," about science and society issues, for Physics World.


Authored and Co-Authored Books

The Workshop and the World Professor Crease's book The Workshop and the World: What Ten Thinkers Can Teach Us About Science and Authority, published by W. W. Norton and Co., 2019.

Quantum Moment Book Cover

Professor Robert Crease's bookThe Quantum Moment: How Planck, Bohr, Einstein, and Heisenberg Taught Us to Love Uncertainty published by W. W. Norton and Co., 2015.
  World in the Balance: The Historic Quest for an Absolute System of Measurement Book Cover
Professor Crease's book World in the Balance: The Historic Quest for an Absolute System of  Measurement published by W. W. Norton and Co., 2012.
The Great Equations: Breakthroughs in Science from Pythagoras to Heisenberg Book Cover Professor Robert Crease's bookThe Great Equations: Breakthroughs in Science from Pythagoras to Heisenberg published by W. W. Norton and Co., 2010. J. Robert Oppenheimer: A Life Book Covrer J. Robert Oppenheimer: A Life, by Abraham Pais  and Robert Crease, published by Oxford University Press, 2006.   The Prism and the Pendulum: The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments in Science Book Cover Professor Crease's book The Prism and the Pendulum: The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments in Science published by Random House, 2004.
The Second Creation: Makers of the Revolution in Twentieth-Century Physics Book Cover Professor Robert Crease's book The Second Creation: Makers of the Revolution in Twentieth-Century Physics, published by Rutgers University Press, 1996.          

















Additional Books

  • Making Physics: A Biography of Brookhaven National Laboratory, 1946-1972. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999.
  • Peace and War: Reminiscences of a Life at the Frontiers of Science , by Robert Serber with Robert P. Crease. New York: Columbia University Press, 1998.
  • The Play of Nature: Experimentation as Performance. Indiana University Press, 1993.


Edited and Co-edited Books

  • The Philosophy of Expertise, ed. by Evan Selinger and Robert P. Crease. Columbia Univ. Press, 2006.
  • Hermeneutics and the Natural Sciences, ed. Robert P. Crease. Kluwer 1997. A reprint of Man and World 30:3, of which I was guest-editor.
  • Dialectic and Difference: Finitude in Modern Thought, by Jacques Taminiaux. Ed. and tr. from the French by Robert P. Crease and James T. Decker. Atlantic Highlands: Humanities Press, 1985.


  • What Things Do, by Peter-Paul Verbeek, trans. from the Dutch by Robert P. Crease. Penn State Press, 2005.
  • American Philosophy of Technology, by Hans Achterhuis, trans. from the Dutch by Robert P. Crease. Indiana University Press, 2001.



  • "Technique" (with John Lutterbie) in Staging Philosophy, ed. D. Saltz and D. Krasner, forthcoming, University of Michigan Press, 2006, pp. 160-179.
  • "From Workbench to Cyberstage," in Postphenomenology: A Critical Companion to Ihde, ed. E. Selinger.  Albany: SUNY Press, 2006, pp. 221-229.
  • "Philosophy of Science: How Science Moves," in The Folio: A Journal for Focusing and     Experiential Therapy, 19:1 (2004): 32-42.
  • "Inquiry and Performance: Analogies and Identities Between the Arts and the Sciences."    Interdisciplinary Science Reviews 28:4 (2003), 266-272.
  • "Exploring Animate Form: A Review Essay," Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 2: 69-83, 2003.
  • "Dreyfus on Expertise: The Limits of Phenomenological Analysis" (with Evan Selinger), Continental Philosophy Review 35:3, 2003
  • "Fallout: Issues in the Study, Treatment, and Reparations of Exposed Marshall Islanders," Exploring Diversity in the Philosophy of Science and Technology, ed. by Robert Figueroa and Sandra Harding, Routledge, 2003, pp. 106-125.
  • "The Pleasures of Popular Dance." Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 2003
  • "Experimental Life: Heelan on Quantum Mechanics." Festschrift for Patrick Heelan, Kluwer, 2002.
  • "Productive Objectivity: the Hermeneutics of Performance in Experimental Inquiry," M. Fehér, O. Kiss, and L. Ropoli, eds., Hermeneutics and Science . Kluwer, 1999, 25-34.  
  • "What is an Artifact?" Philosophy Today , SPEP Supplement 1998, 160-168.  
  • "Responsive Order: The Phenomenology of Dramatic and Scientific Performance," in Creativity  in Performance , ed. R. Keith Sawyer.  Greenwich, CT: Ablex, 1997.­
  • "Introduction" to special issue of Man and World (30:3) on "Hermeneutics and the Natural Sciences," guest ed. Robert P. Crease, 1997.
  • "The Hard Case: Science and Hermeneutics," The Very Idea of Radical Hermeneutics , ed. By Roy Martinez, pp. 96-105.   New Jersey: Humanities Press, 1997.
  • "The Play of Nature: Experimentation as Performance," in Continental and Postmodern     Perspectives in the Philosophy of Science, ed. Babette Babich, Debra Bergoffen, and Simon  Glynn, pp. 69-88. Brookfield, VT: Avebury, 1995.
  • "Vico's 'Mirror Stage': Narrative, the Scienza Nuova , and the Barbarism of Reflection," in  Studies in 18 th Century Culture 24 , pp. 107-119.   Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Pr.,1995.
  • "The Sculpture and the Electron: Hermeneutics of the Experimental Object," in Science &  Education 4, pp. 109-114, 1995.
  • "Das Spiel der Natuur: Experimentieren als Vorführung."  Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie  3 (1994): 419-437.
  • "The Improvisational Problem," in Man and World 27, pp. 181-193, 1994.
  • "Questioning Foundations in the Philosophy of Science.Continen­tal Philosophy  5, 1992.
  • "The Problem of Experimentation."  In L. Embree and L. Hardy, eds., Phenomenology of     Natural Science. Washington, D.C.: CARP and the Univer­sity Press of America, 1991.
  • "The Yogi and the Quantum" (with Charles C. Mann). In P. Grim, ed., Philosophy of Science and the Occult , 2nd ed. State Univ. of New York Press, 1989.
  • "'Narrow and not Far-reaching Footpaths': Heidegger and Modern Art."  In The Collegium   Phaenomenologicum: The First Ten Years , ed. G. Moneta, J. Sallis, and J. Taminiaux. The Hague: Nijhoff, 1988.
  • "Vico and the 'Cogito.'" In Vico: Past and Present , ed. G. Taglia­cozzo. Atlantic Highlands,  N.J.: Humanities Press, 1981, pp. 171-181.


Articles - Science History and Commentary

  • "Recombinant Science: The Birth of the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider," forthcoming.
  • "Foucault's Pendulum," in Sherry Turkle, ed. Evocative Objects . MIT Press, forthcoming  2007.
  • "The National Synchrotron Light Source," Part 1, Physics in Perspective , forthcoming.
  • "The National Synchrotron Light Source," Part 2, Physics in Perspective , forthcoming.
  • "Quenched! The ISABELLE Saga, Part 1."  Physics in Perspective 7, Sept. 2005, pp. 330-376.
  • "Quenched! The ISABELLE Saga, Part 2."  Physics in Perspective , forthcoming.            
  • "Oppenheimer and the Sense of the Tragic," in Cathryn Carson and David A Hollinger, eds, Reappraising Oppenheimer, Berkeley: Berkeley Papers in the History of Science, Vol. 21  2005), pp. 315-323.  
  • "E=mc 2 ."  School Science Review , special Einstein Edition, March 2005.
  • "Energy in the History and Philosophy of Science." Encyclopedia of Energy , Vol. 2. Elsevier (2004), 417-421.            
  • "Critical Issues in the Writing of Laboratory History." Proceedings of the Second Conference on     Laboratory History , ed. Catherine Westfall. Newport News: Jefferson Laboratory, 2002.
  • "Anxious History: The High Flux Beam Reactor and Brookhaven National Laboratory," Historical   Studies in the Physical and Biological Sciences 32:1 (2001): 41-56.
  • "The Manhattan Project: An Enduring Legacy." Physics World , Dec. 1999, pp. 59-63.
  • "Conflicting Interpretations of Risk: The Case of Brookhaven's Spent Fuel Rods." Technology: A Journal of Science Serving Legislative, Regulatory, and Judicial Systems, V 6 (1999): 495-500.
  • "40 Years After the Nobel Prize." Interview with C. N. Yang, USB Research Notes 1:1, 1997.
  • "The History of Brookhaven National Labora­tory Part Six: The Lab and the Long Island Community, 1947-1972." Long Island Histori­cal Journal , 9:1 (Fall, 1996): 4-24.
  • "The History of Brookhaven National Labora­tory Part Five: LIHJ ­ 4:2 (Spring 1995).
  • "The History of Brookhaven National Labora­tory Part Four: Problems of Transition," LIHJ 7:1 (Fall 1994): 22-41.
  • "The National Laboratories and Their Future," Forum, Winter, 1993.
  • "Discovery: The Eureka! Moment Revisited," R&D Innovator 2:8 (August 1993): 9-10.
  • "Little Science, Big Science, Multinational Science." Encyclo­paedia Britannica Yearbook of     Science and Technology 1994 (appea­red 1993).
  • Crease, Robert P., and Samios, N. P. "Managing the Unmanageable." Atlantic (January 1991), 80-8. Repr. in New Zealand Soil News (1991), and the AAAS Science and Technology Policy     Yearbook 1991, pp. 47-60.
  • "The History of Brookhaven National Labora­tory Part Three," LIJH 6:1 (Fall, 1993).
  • "The History of Brookhaven National Labora­tory Part Two: The Haworth Years," LIHJ 4:2 (Spring 1992).
  • "The History of Brookhaven National Labora­tory Part One: the Graphite Reactor and the     Cosmotron," LIJH ­ 3:2 (Spring 1991): 167-188.
  • "The Man Who Listened" (with Charles C. Mann). In Timothy Ferris, ed., The World Treasury  of Physics, Astronomy, and Mathematics (Boston: Little Brown, 1991): 60-79.   Adapted from  The Second Creation , chapter on Paul Dirac.
  • "Obituary: Robert Hofstadter." The Guardian , 22 November 1990.
  • "The Rediscovery of Experiment." Missouri Review , Autumn, 1988.                        
  • "Good Philosophy and Good Physics." Threepenny Review , Fall 1983.


Since May, 2000, I have written a monthly column called "Critical Point," for Physics World . Each column discusses a different social dimension of physics.

      "Unenlightened Thinking," May 2018
       "Equations as Icons," March 2007 
       "Physics Legends II," February 2007 
       "The Lost Art of the Letter," January 2007 
       "The Book of Nature," December 2006 
       "Physics Legends," November 2006 
       "Science as Drama," September 2006 
       "Impedance Matching," August 2006 
       "The Retirement Problem," July 2006 
       "Top Papers," May 2006 
       "F = ma," March 2006 
       "Curing Anosognosia," February 2006 
       "Pythagoras," January 2006 
       "Anosognosia," September 2005 
       "Lessons from Graduate School," July 2005 
       "Surviving Graduate School," Feb. 2005 
       "The King is Dead. Long Live the King!" January 2005 
       "The Health Effects of Radiation," December 2004 
       "The November Revolution," November 2004 
       "The Greatest Equations," October 2004, 14-15 
       "CERN, the US and the W," September 2004, 15 
       "Proteins, Art and Science," August 2004, 18 
       "Critical Reflections," July 2004, 14 
       "Dealing With Cassandras," June 2004, 16 
       "The Greatest Equations Ever," May 2004, 17 
       "The Oppenheimer Tragedy," April 2004, 15 
       "The Paradox of Trust in Science," March 2004, 18 
       "The Thing About Rainbows," February 2004, 16 
       "That's the Way Things Go," January 2004 
       "The Best Physics Humour Ever," December 2003, 14-15 
       "The Advantage of Togetherness," November 2003, 17 
       "The Press is a Foreign Country," October 2003, 18 
       "So You Think Physics is Funny?" September 2003, 19 
       "IBM Gears Up for Gene Challenge," August 17 
       "Foucault's Pendulum," July 2003, 17 
       "Numbers Count in All Amounts," June 2003, 17 
       "Deserving Better Science," May 2003, 17 
       "The Newton-Beethoven Analogy," April 2003, 16 
       "The Rosalind Franklin Question," March 2003, 17 
       "The Legend of the Leaning Tower," February 2003, 15 
       "The Many Roads to Leadership," January 2003, 16 
       "Finding the Flaw in Falsifiability," December 2002, 15

In 1986-7, I wrote a regular column, "On Science," for Columbia, the Columbia University Alumni Magazine (6 issues).


  • Review of Peter Woit, Not Even Wrong: The Failure of String Theory and the Search for Unity in Physical Law , in Skeptical Inquirer 30:6 (November/December) 2006, pp. 53-4.
  • Review of: "Perfectly Reasonable Deviations from the Beaten Path: The Letters of Richard P. Feynman," ed. by Michelle Feynman, New York: Perseus, 2005, in American Scientist 93     (July-August 2005), pp. 360-361.
  • Review of Galileo's Pendulum: Science, Sexuality, and the Body-Instrument Link, by Du?an I.Bjelic, Human Studies, 2005
  • Review of E. Brian Davies, Science in the Looking Glass: What do Scientists Really Know? New  Scientist , 13 September 2003, pp. 52-3
  • Review of Susan Haack, Defending Science - Within Reason. New Scientist 20 September 2003, p. 49.
  • Review of Maxine Sheets-Johnstone, The Primacy of Movement , in Continental Philosophy Review 35, 2002, 103-7.
  • Review of Emily Thompson, The Soundscape of Modernity: Architectural Acoustics and the     Culture of Listening in America 1900-1933 in The Wall Street Journal , 24 April 2002, p. D9.
  • Review of Stuart Isacoff, Temperament: How Music Became a Battleground for the Great Minds     of Western Civilization , in The Wall Street Journal , December 2001.
  • Review of Freeman Dyson, Imagined Worlds , in Isis .
  • Review of Edmund Bolles, ed., Galileo's Commandment , in Quarterly Review of Biology 76:2 (June 2001), 221-2.
  • Review of Harry E. Gove, From Hiroshima to the Iceman: The Development and Applications of   Accelerator Mass Spectrometry. Isis 92:3 (2001), 632-3.
  • "Breakthrough Books" column in Lingua Franca, April 1999.
  • Review of Peter Galison, Image and Logic Technology and Culture , 2000, pp. 924-5.
  • Review of Noretta Koertge, ed., A House Built On Sand: Exposing Postmodern Myths about   Science . In Quarterly Review of Biology.
  • Review of Keith J. Laidler, To Light Such a Candle: Chapters in the History of Science and  Technology . In Science Spectra , Issue 16, 1999, pp. 72-3.
  • Review of Sandra Fraleigh, Dance and the Lived Body: A Descriptive Aesthetics, in Newsletter     of the Study Project in Phenomenology of the Body , Spring 1992, pp. 10-13.
  • Review of I. Stadler, ed., Contemporary Art and its Philosophical Problems. In Wellesley  Alumni Magazine , Summer, 1987.
  • Review of 't Hart, Recht en Staat in het denken van Giambattista VicoPhilosophy and Rhetoric  1981, pp. 133-5.
  • Review of 't Hart, Recht en Staat in het denken van Giambattista Vico (different review from above). Review of Metaphysics 1980, pp. 806-7.

Enclylopedia Entries

  • Encyclopaedia of Energy, Kluwer. "Energy in the History and Philosophy of Science," 2005.
  • Macmillan Encyclopaedia of Physics. "Brookhaven National Laboratory," 2005.
  • Encyclopaedia of New York State. "Brookhaven National Laboratory," 2005.  
  • "Jazz and Dance," in The Cambridge Companion to Jazz , ed. Mervyn Cook and David Horn, Cambridge University Press, 2002, pp. 69-80.
  • "Jazz and Dance," in The Oxford Companion to Jazz , ed. Bill Kirchner, Oxford University Press, 2000, 696-705.
  • Encyclopaedia Britannica Yearbook of Science and the Future. I wrote the "Overview" article for this Yearbook every year between 1990 and 2000 (the final issue of the Yearbook before it was discontinued).
  • American National Biography (1999). Entries for the African-American jazz dancers

     Leon James & Albert Minns

     Pete Nugent

     Eddie Rector

     Earl "Snake Hips" Tucker

  • Encyclopedia of American Biography (1995). Entries for Nobel laureates in physics

Sheldon Glashow

Steven Weinberg


The Quantum Moment



The Great Equations