A Condensed History

1965 Grünbaum organized a workshop-conference on scientific theories, thereby launching the Center’s tradition of sponsoring major conferences and workshops.

1978 Grünbaum steps down as Director of the Center until and became the first Chairman of the Center.

1978 Laurens Laudan replaces Grünbaum as Director. Under Laudan’s direction, the Visiting Fellows Program was substantially enlarged and various workshop-conferences conducted–developments made possible by substantial operating grants from the Sarah Scaife Foundation in 1977 and from the Richard King Mellon Foundation in 1980.

1981 Nicholas Rescher becomes Director of the Center.

1986 Rescher established the Associates Program to help carry out the Center’s regional mission.

1988 In June, Rescher presided over the first meeting of what was to become a quadrennial series of international meetings of the Center’s fellowship, namely, a meeting in Oxford, England, for former Visiting Fellows of the Center.

1988 In July, Rescher, who had been assisted by Associate Directors Allen Janis and Gerald Massey, resigned as Director of the Center and was appointed its first Vice Chairman.

1988 Gerald Massey becomes Center Director.

1992 The Center received a major gift, which assured its continued financial viability. At that time, Harvey E. Wagner, Chairman of Teknekron Corporation, and his wife, Leslie, decided to create the first endowment of the Center with an initial $1 million gift. The gift was given in honor of Grünbaum, who had been Wagner’s philosophy of science teacher in the mid-1950s.

1997 James Lennox replaced Massey as Director of the Center. Lennox’s tenure, which saw the 40th anniversary of the Center and the new millennium, brought new financial security, new public outreach programs, and further international collaboration.

1999-2002 The Center received three grants to the Visiting Fellows program by the Sarah Scaife Foundation.

2000 Chancellor Mark Nordenberg and Provost James Maher announced the establishment of a $1 million endowment for the Center, matching the Wagner Endowment.

2005 James Lennox ended his tenure as Director and was replaced by John D. Norton. Since Norton was on sabbatical for the Fall term of 2005, John Earman served as an Interim Director for that term.

2008 The Center began its Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. The program invites two Postdoctoral Fellows to visit for a two-term academic year, with the first full complement coming in the fall of 2009.

2012 The Center began a Senior Visiting Fellowship Program. Initially implemented as the Wagner Risk Fellowship, it was then made a permanent part of the roster of Center programs. Our first Senior Visiting Fellow was Kyle Stanford from UC Irvine. Since then, the program has been further refined with attempts to pair subject specialist Senior Fellows with Visiting Fellows working in the same or similar fields of exploration.

2016 John D. Norton stepped down as Director and was replaced by Edouard Machery.

2017 Under Machery’s direction, the Center established its first ever summer program, aimed at attracting undergraduates from underrepresented groups to philosophy of science.

2018  In summer of 2018 the Center moved from its long-time office suite in 817 Cathedral of Learning to a new, modernized space on the 11th floor of the Cathedral.  Later that year, Center Founder Adolf Grünbaum died.

2019  The Adolf Grünbaum Memorial Lecture was established as part of the Annual Lecture Series.

Want to learn more?

For a more detailed history of the Center, including its international partnerships and relationship with the Archives of Scientific Philosophy, please download these PDFs.

40 Years of Center for Philosophy of Science

The Berlin School of Logical Empiricism and its Legacy

Visit the Center for Philosophy of Science’s previous website archive