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Laura Snyder        

Professor; Science Historian; Philosopher; Author of "The Philosophical Breakfast Club"

Laura J. Snyder is a historian, philosopher, and science writer. Oliver Sacks has called her “both a masterly scholar and a powerful storyteller.” Snyder is the author of "Eye of the Beholder: Johannes Vermeer, Antoni Van Leeuwenhoek and the Reinvention of Seeing," as well as "The Philosophical Breakfast Club: Four Remarkable Friends Who Transformed Science and Changed the World," which was an official selection of the TED Book Club, a Scientific American Notable Book, and winner of the Royal Institution of Australia’s 2011 poll for “Best Science Book.” She is also the author of "Reforming Philosophy: A Victorian Debate on Science and Society." In addition, she writes for the Wall Street Journal and other publications and is a professor at St. John’s University. Snyder’s TED Talk on "The Philosophical Breakfast Club" has been viewed over one million times.

Snyder was born in Queens, New York, and was raised on Long Island. The only member of her immediate family to attend college, she received B.A. degrees in History of Western Thought and in Philosophy from Brandeis University in Waltham, MA. After graduating, Snyder was a research associate for a management consulting firm that focused on technology firms along Route 128, site of the “Massachusetts Miracle” in 1980s. She was also a freelance writer for a publisher of science and health textbooks. Snyder subsequently moved to Baltimore and attended the Johns Hopkins University, where she studied the history of science and technology as well as philosophy, earning a Ph.D. in 1996. She was immediately hired as an assistant professor at St. John’s University back in Queens, New York, where she has continued to teach, now as a full professor, with leaves of absence to take positions at University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania, Cambridge University, and University of Pittsburgh.

Snyder is a Fulbright Scholar, which is a highly competitive international educational exchange for student. She is also a Life Member at Clare Hall, Cambridge. Snyder was a leading committee member of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science from 2003-2012, including the organizations' president from 2009-2010. She was also a founding co-member of the Society's journal HOPOS. She currently lives in New York City where she is a professor and writer for the Wall Street Journal.


Through a Glass, Brightly
Laura J. Snyder recounts in “Eye of the Beholder,” an engaging and richly detailed work of interdisciplinary history, each of these visionaries honed his powers of observation by tinkering with optical lenses, a pastime then at the forefront of scientific progress....

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