Richard Olson Publications


  • Technology and Science in Ancient Civilizations (Westport: Prager, 2009)
  • Science and Scientism in 19th Century Europe (Champaign-Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2008)
  • Science and Religion in the West: 1450-1900: From Copernicus to Darwin(Westport: Greenwood Press, November, 2004) paperback, 2006, from Johns Hopkins University Press.  Chinese translation, Shandong People’s Press, 2008.
  • The Emergence of the Social Sciences, 1642-1792, New York: Twayne Press, 1993.
  • Science Deified and Science Defied: The Historical Significance of Science in Western Culture, Vol. 2: 1620-1820, Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1990.
  • Science Deified and Science Defied: The Historical Significance of Science in Western Culture, Vol. 1: From the Bronze Age to 1620, Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1982.
  • Scottish Philosophy and British Physics, 1750-1850: Foundations of the Victorian Scientific Style, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1975 (Italian translation, Bologna: Societa Editrice il Mulino, 1982).
  • Editor, Science as Metaphor, Belmont: Wadsworth, 1971
  • Editor, The Biographical Encyclopedia of Scientists (5 vols.), New York, London, & Toronto: Marshall Cavendish,1998 (for secondary school audience)
  • Series Editor, Greenwood Guides to Science and Religion (10 vols., 2004-2008).

Articles and Invited Chapters in Books

  • “A Dynamic Model for ‘Science and Religion’: Interacting Subcultures,” Zygon, 46, #4,(2011): 1-19.
  • “Beyond the Conflict Thesis: The Co-Evolution of Science and Religion,” Colorado School of Mines Quarterly, 102, #4 (2002): 1-76.
  • “The Human Sciences”, in Roy Porter, ed., The Eighteenth Century, Volume 4 in The Cambridge History of Science (6 volumes) , general editors, David Lindberg and Ronald Numbers. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2003, pp. 436-462.
  • “The Scientific Revolution Reshapes the World,” The World & I, 14 #4 (April, 1999):18-39.
  • “Sex and status in Scottish Enlightenment social science: John Millar and the sociology of gender roles,” History of the Human Sciences, 11(1998): 73-100.
  • “Physics,” in Science and Religion: A Historical Introduction, ed. Gary Ferngren (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002): 301-313.
  • “Spirits, Witches and Science: Why the Rise of Science Encouraged Belief in the ‘Supernatural’ in 17th Century England,” Skeptic,1 #4 (1992), 34-44.
  • “Historical Reflections on Feminist Critiques of Science: The Scientific Background to Modern Feminism,” History Of Science,28 (1990): 125-147.
  • Introductory essays to six chapters in John Burke, ed., Science and Culture in the Western Tradition, Scottsdale: Gorsuch Scarisbrick, 1987.
  • “On the Nature of God’s Existence, Wisdom, and Power: The Interplay of Organic and Mechanistic Imagery in Anglican Natural Theology, 1640-1740,” pp. 1-48, in Fred Burwick, ed., Approaches to Organic Form, Dordrecht: Reidel, 1986.
  • “Aristophanes and the Anti-Scientific Tradition,” pp. 441-454, in Everett Mendelssohn, ed., Tradition and Transformation in the Sciences, Essays in Honor of I. Bernard Cohen, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984.
  • “Tory-High Church Opposition to Scientism,” pp. 171-204, in John Burke, ed., The Uses of Science in the Age of Newton, Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1983.
  • “Science, Scientism, and Anti Science in Hellenic Athens,” History of Science,16 (1978): 179-189.
  • “Scientists Are Losing Their Intellectual Arrogance,” Psychology Today (January 1976): 70ff (German translation in Psychologie Heute, 1978).
  • “Scottish Philosophy and Mathematics,” Journal of the History of Ideas,32, (1971): 29-44.
  • “The Gould Controversy at Dudley Observatory: Public and Professional Values in Conflict,” Annals of Science, 27 (1971): 265-270.
  • “Count Rumford, Sir John Leslie, and the Study of the Nature and Propagation of Heat in the Early 19th Century,” Annals of Science,26 (1970): 274-304.
  • “The Reception of Boscovich’s Ideas in Scotland,” Isis,60 (1969):91-103.
  • “Sir John Leslie and the Laws of Electrical Conduction in Solids,” American Journal of Physics, 37 (1969): 190-194.


  • Sixty + book reviews for Albion, American Historical Review, American Scientist, The Historian, Isis, Journal for the History of Behavioral Sciences, The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Journal of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, Scripta Mathematica, Victorian Studies.
  • Thirty + articles for Rudi Volti, ed., Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Society, Facts on File, 1999; Sal Restivo, ed., The Encyclopedia of STS, Oxford University Press, 2003; Carl Mitcham, ed., Encyclopedia of the Science, Technology, and Ethics, Macmillan, 2005; Wilbur Applebaum, ed., The Encyclopedia of the Scientific Revolution, Garland Press, 2000.”