- B.A., Science, Technology, and Society, Cornell University, 1985
- M.A., History of Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1990
- Ph.D., History of Science and History, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1997
I am currently the chair of the department. My primary historical interests lie in the ways that science and society have intersected in the modern era, especially with regard to religion and irreligion. My extensive study of the history of religious, scientific, and secular humanism in America has forced me to think about the way that secular intellectuals have embraced science in ways that engage directly with religion and religious experience. My book, The Scientific Spirit of American Humanism (Johns Hopkins Press, 2020) is about this project.
In addition to the modern survey course, I teach classes about the intersection of science, politics, religion, and society. My classes ask students to explore especially resonant moments in history that show how important science is in all aspects of the modern world.
I also edit the Isis Bibliography of the History of Science, the definitive bibliographical resource for our discipline, which goes back to 1913. In 2015, I established an online open access service called IsisCB Explore that allows anyone to search this database. This project was the result of an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation grant.
Finally, I study the transformation of scholarship in what is being called the digital humanities. My work on the Isis Bibliography has helped me to discover, as a practitioner, how new technologies are transforming scholarship, enabled by the ease of worldwide communication, massive data retrieval tools, and unprecedented computing power.
I live in Norman, Oklahoma. In addition to my academic work, I also manage a website (philipwprugh.com) that features the work of my grandfather, an illustrator and painter, who lived in Xenia, Ohio.