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F. Sherwood Taylor

Frank Sherwood Taylor (1897 – 5 January 1956) was a British historian of science, museum curator, and chemist who was Director of the Science Museum in London, England.[1]

F. Sherwood Taylor was educated at Sherborne School in Dorset, southern England and Lincoln College, Oxford.[2] He then undertook a PhD at University College, London in the new Department of History and Method of Science.

He spent a period as a schoolmaster and then as a lecturer in chemistry at Queen Mary College, London. He was a founder member of the Philosophy of Science Group. He was also the founder editor of the Ambix journal, started in 1937. In 1940, he succeeded Robert Gunther as Curator of the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford.[3] Towards the end of his life, he was Director of the Science Museum from 1950 until his death in 1956. During this time, he delivered the 1952 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures in London on How Science has Grown.


F. Sherwood Taylor wrote many books on the history of alchemy and chemistry in particular, and also of science in general:[4][5]

  • The Young Chemist (1934, new edition 1961). Practical Books, Thomas Nelson and Sons, Edinburgh.
  • Galileo and the Freedom of Thought (1938)
  • Alchemists, Founders of Modern Chemistry (1949)
  • The Alchemists (1952)
  • The Ideas of the Alchemists
  • The First Alchemists
  • The Earliest Alchemical Signs and Symbols
  • An Introduction To Alchemy
  • The Origin Of Alchemical Practice (Pamphlet)
  • A Short History of Science and Scientific Thought, with readings from the great scientists from the Babylonians to Einstein
  • An Illustrated History of Science
  • Science, Past and Present
  • The Century of Science
  • The Fourfold Vision: a study of the relations of science and religion
  • A History of Industrial Chemistry (Technology and Society)
  • The World of Science
  • General Science for Schools (Part 1)
  • The Conquest of Bacteria, from Salvarsan to Sulphapyridine
  • The March of Mind: A short history of science
  • A Short Organic Chemistry
  • A Century of British Chemistry (Science in Britain)
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic and Theoretical Chemistry (1931)
  • Man and Matter, Essays Scientific & Christian


Cultural offices
Preceded by
Robert Gunther
Curator of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford
Succeeded by
C. H. Josten
Preceded by
Herman Shaw
Director of the Science Museum
Succeeded by
Sir Terence Morrison-Scott

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