Gerald Holton is Mallinckrodt Research Professor of Physics and Research Professor of the History of Science, Emeritus, at Harvard University.
Born 1922 in Berlin, he grew up in Vienna before emigrating in 1938. He received an electrical engineering certificate from the School of Technology, City of Oxford and then Wesleyan University, where he received B.A. and M.A. degrees.
As a student of Percy Williams Bridgman, he obtained his Ph.D. at Harvard in 1948. His chief interests are in the history and philosophy of science, in the physics of matter at high pressure, and in the study of career paths of young scientists. Along with co-author Gerhard Sonnert he has studied and published works on the gender gap in science studies and careers. In 1952, he published Introduction to Concepts and Theories in Physical Sciences, a seminal work in the development of physics education, which led to Harvard Project Physics, the NSF sponsored national curriculum-development project that he co-directed.
Gerald Holton is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as several European learned societies. He served as President of the History of Science Society and served on a number of U.S. National Commissions, including those on UNESCO and Excellence on Education. He also served on the board of trustees of Science Service, now known as Society for Science & the Public, from 1972-1978. His book publications include Thematic Origins of Scientific Thought, The Scientific Imagination, Einstein, History and Other Passions, Science and Antiscience, and Victory and Vexation in Science. He is also author, with Gerhard Sonnert, of What Happened to the Children Who Fled from Nazi Persecution.