Noah Efron was the founding chairperson of the Program in Science, Technology & Society. He has served on the Board of Directors and Scientific Committee of the Eretz Yisrael Museum, as the President of the Israeli Society for History & Philosophy of Science, and on the Executive Committee of the International Society for Science and Religion. He is a standing member of the Committee on Genetically Modified Organisms of Israel’s Ministry of Agriculture.  Efron has been a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, the Dibner Institute for History of Science and Technology at MIT, and a Fellow at Harvard, Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania.  He is the author, most recently of A Chosen Calling: Jews in Science in the Twentieth Century (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015), as well as two other books and many essays and articles on the complicated intertwine of knowledge, religion and politics.  He is also an avid student of the ways in which changes in technologies, societal institutions and socio-political ideologies transpire in intricate dialogue one with the other. Lately, he has become obsessed with the fading, in some circles, of faith in “facts” and scientific experts (and worries, late at night, that his chosen field may have contributed to this frightful development.)

 

Efron has also served on the Tel Aviv-Jaffa City Council and was a founder of the “Green Movement” political party.  Efron is the host of The Promised Podcast, the world’s leading podcast on Israeli politics.  He played bass for an ill-fated band named Liquid Plumr, and has run marathons, slowly, on three continents.  He lives in Tel Aviv with his wife, daughter, son, dog and cat.  His greatest regret is that he is not Nora Ephron.

Education

Post Doctoral Fellow, Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1997-1999. 

 

Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of History of Science, Harvard University, 1995-1997. Faculty Sponsor: Prof. Mario Biagioli.  Faculty Tutor: Prof. Steven Ozment (Dept. of History).

 

Ph.D., Institute for the History & Philosophy of Science & Ideas, Tel Aviv University, 1996.  Dissertation:  David Gans and Natural Philosophy in Rudolfine Prague.  Advisors: Dr. Menachem Fisch and Prof. Hillel Levine.

 

B.A. with High Honors, Swarthmore College, 1982.

 

Honors

Simon Rockower Award for best essay or commentary of 2006 on a Jewish theme.

 

Rector’s Commendation for Teaching Excellence, Bar Ilan, 2002, 2003.

 

Valedictorian, Class of 1982, Swarthmore College.

 

Phi Beta Kappa Honorary Society, inducted 1982.

Grants & Fellowships

Oscar M Ruebhausen Visiting Professorship, to support tenure at University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics, awarded August, 2007.

 

Members Fellowship, Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton, School of Historical Studies, 2004-2005.

 

Lamda-Posen Grant for the Study of Secular Jewish Culture, 2004-2005.  $15,000 grant to fund research on science as a vehicle for secularization among 20th century American Jews. 

 

Distinguished Lecture Series on Religion and Science, John Templeton Foundation, 2001-2004.  $100,000 grant to organize ongoing research and public lecture series about interactions of Judaism and Science.

 

Alon Fellowship, Israel Academy for Higher Education, 1999-2002.  In nationwide competition among scholars and researchers in all disciplines, was awarded grant for three years of salary, benefits and research expenses, meant to facilitate the absorption of outstanding young scholars into Israeli academia.

 

Lady Davis Trust Fellowship, 1999-2000.  Awarded Fellowship to pursue research of Jewish attitudes to nature at the start of the modern era, under the sponsorship of the renowned scholar of Kabbalah, Prof. Moshe Idel, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (declined).

 

Philadelphia Center for Science and Religion Book Prize, 2000-present.  $100,000 grant to support the writing of Golem, God & Man: Human and Divine in the Age of Biotechnology. 

 

National Endowment for the Humanities Post-Doctoral Fellowship, John Carter Brown Library, Brown University, 1997-98.  Awarded grant to support research project entitled, “Brotherhood and Otherhood: Jews and the New World in Early Modern Literature”, and to serve as scholar in residence at the John Carter Brown Library of Brown University (declined).

 

Dibner Fellowship for Advanced Studies in the History of Science and Technology, 1997-1999. Awarded grant to support research project entitled, “Jews, Christians and Natural Philosophy in Early Modern Europe,” and to participate as fellow in the Dibner Colloquium.

 

Rothschild Foundation/Yad Hanadiv Post-Doctoral Fellowship for the Humanities, 1995-1997.  Two-year Fellowship to support post-doctoral research abroad for young scholars of “exceptional promise.”

 

Mellon Foundation Fellowship at the Center for the Study of the Humanities, University of Chicago, 1995-1996. Awarded grant to support research project entitled, “Eirenic Natural Philosophy and the Quest for Tolerance in Early Modern Europe,” and to participate, as resident scholar, in Mellon Seminar on “Toleration in European History.” (declined)

 

Israel Council for Higher Education (Vatat) Doctoral Fellowship, 1992-1995.  Three-year fellowship to support writing of dissertation in recognition of “excellent academic achievement.” 

 

Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture International Doctoral Fellowship, 1993-1994.  Fellowship to advance the training of promising students in Jewish scholarship and research.

 

National Foundation for Jewish Culture Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, 1994-1995.  Awarded one of ten fellowships granted annually to support the work of “young Judaica scholars.”

 

Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, 1982-1983.  Fellowship by Watson Foundation to fund year-long independent research of my own choosing. Traveled throughout Northern Africa researching its indigenous Jewish communities.

 

Academic Appointments

Graduate Program in Science, Technology & Society, Bar Ilan University, 2000 – Present (Tenured in 2005).  Program Chairman.  Founded program, which now includes fifty graduate students, nine regular and adjunct faculty members, and one post-doctoral fellow.

 

Member, Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton, 2004-2005.  Accepted as one-year member of the Institutes School for Historical Studies for the upcoming academic year.

 

Lecturer, Interdisciplinary Program for Cultural Studies, Bar Ilan University, 1999-2000.  Lecture on history and philosophy of science, in a graduate program for interdisciplinary studies.

 

Lecturer, Teachers as Scholars Program, Harvard University Graduate School for Education, 1998 – 2000t.  Lecture on Religion and Science in intensive four-day, continuing education seminars for high-school instructors.

 

Lecturer, Overseas Program, Tel Aviv University, 1990 - 1993.  Lectured on intellectual history to students from abroad.  Courses:  “Intellectual History of Zionist Thought,” “Jews and Modernism.”

 

Lecturer, Jewish Theological Seminary, Jerusalem Campus, 1992 - 1993.  Taught Greek philosophy at Masters and Doctoral levels.

 

 

Editorial Experience

Guest Editor, Science in Context.  Invited to serve as guest editor of issue devoted to Jews and the sciences (Volume 10, Number 4, Winter 1997).

 

Contributing Writer, Boston Book Review, 1997-2001.

 

 

Conference Organization

Organizing Committee & Program Committee, Annual Conference of the International Committee for the History of Technology, Tel Aviv University, July 2015.

 

Organizing Committee, “Bioethics in their Social, Cultural and Political Context,” Nir Etzion, Israel, February, 2015.

 

Organizing Committee, “Israel and Climate Change: Science, Expertise and Public Opinion,” Ben Gurion University, December, 2010.

 

Organizing Committee, “Science & Scientific Expertise in Israeli Policy: The Cases of the Kishon and the Trans-Israel Highway,” Ben Gurion University,  June, 2006.

 

Organizing Committee, “Crossing Borders: Environment & Medicine at the Frontier of National Borders,” Bar Ilan University, October, 2005.

 

Organizing Committee, “Science, Technology and Society in Israel”, Ben Gurion University at Sde Boker, June, 2004.

 

Organizer, “Genetically Altered Agriculture: Politics, Policy, Philosophy.”  Nir Etzion, Israel May, 2003.

 

Organizer, International Colloquium, “Science & Salvation,” Bar Ilan University, June 2002. 

 

Organizing Committee, International Conference on Jewish Responses to Early Modern Science.  Tel Aviv, Israel, June 1996.

Professional Affiliations

Executive Committee Member, International Society for Science and Religion.

Board of Directors and Scientific Committee, Land of Israel Museum, Tel Aviv Israel, 2008-2012.

Executive Committee Member and President-Emeritus, Israel Society for the History & Philosophy of Science.

 

History of Science Society Member.

Professional Service

Member, Committee on Genetically Modified Plants, Israel Ministry of Agriculture.

Contributing Editor, International Library Project, International Society for Science & Religion.

Member, Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipal Transportation Committee

Alderman, Tel Aviv-Jaffa City Council, 2008-2011.

Board of Directors and Scientific Committee, Land of Israel Museum, Tel Aviv Israel, 2002-2011.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Publications

Books

A Chosen Calling: Jews in Science in the 20th Century, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014.

Jews & Science: An Historical Introduction, Greenwood Press, 2007.

Real Jews: Secular, Ultraorthodox & the Struggle for Jewish Identity in Israel, Basic Books, 2003.

Toward Public Discourse on Biotechnology (In Hebrew), edited with Vardit Ravitzky, Porter Institute, Tel Aviv University, 2004.

Reports

Monitoring Policy and Research Activities on Science in Society in Europe (MASIS): National Report, Israel, with Dr. Nadav Davidovitch, Published by European Union

 

 

Articles

 

‘The End of Pre-Eminence: Jews & the Nobel Prize in the 20th Century,” Jüdischer Almanach des Leo Baeck Institute, Vol. 23, Forthcoming, 2015.

“Jews and the Study of Nature,” in James Haag, Gregory Peterson, and Michael Spezio, The Routledge Companion to Religion and Science, Routledge, 2012, pp. 79-90.

 

“Zionism and the Eros of Science and Technology,” Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science,  46, 2, June 2011, pp. 413–428.

 

“Nature & Early Judaism,” in John Hedley Brooke and Ronald Numbers (eds.), Science and Religion Around the World, Oxford University Press, 2011, pp. 20-43.

 

“The Wisdom of Everyman”: The Natural, the Sacred and the Human in Modern Jewish Thought,” in Paul J. Kirbas (ed.), This Sacred Earth: Scientific and Religious Perspectives on Nature and Humanity’s Place Within It, Wyndham Hall Press, 2011, pp. 189-202.

 

“Sciences and Religions: What it Means to take Historical Perspectives Seriously” in  Thomas Dixon, Geoffrey Cantor and Stephen Pumfrey (eds.), Science and Religion: New Historical Perspectives, Cambridge University Press, 2010, pp. 247-262.

 

“Without a Horse: On Being Human in an Age of Biotechnology” in Nancey Murphy and Christopher Knight, Human Identity at the Intersection of Science, Theology and Religion, :London, Ashgate, 2010.

 

“On the Christian Origins of Modern Science,” in Ron Numbers (ed), Galileo went to Jail, and Other Myths of Science and Religion, Harvard University Press, 2010.

 

“Jews and Science prior to Modern Times” in Ron Numbers & John Brooke (eds.), Religion and Science in a Global Perspective, Oxford University Press, 2010.

 

“Science, Technology & Culture,” Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology, 2008.

 

“American Jews & Intelligent Design”, Reilly Center Reports of the University of Notre Dame, 2008.

 

"Jewish Tradition and the Challenge of Darwinism: Review", Isis, 2008, 99: 416–418

 

“Playing God: On the Philosophical Implications of a Metaphor about Science,” in Charles L. Harper (ed.), Spiritual Information: Perspectives on Science and Religion, Templeton Press, 2005.

 

“Nature, Human Nature & Jewish Nature In Early Modern Europe,” Science in Context, 15:1, 2002.

 

“Our Forefathers Did Not Tell Us: Jews & Natural Philosophy in Rudolfine Prague,” Endeavor, 26:1, 2002.

 

“Astronomic Exegesis: Interpretation of the Heavens by Early Modern Jews,” Osiris, 16, pp. 72-87, 2001. (with Menachem Fisch)

 

“Knowledge of Newly Discovered Lands among Jewish Communities of Europe (From 1492 to the Thirty-Years War),” in Bernardini, Paolo & Norman Fiering (eds.),The Jews and the Expansion of Europe to the West, Berghahn Press, 2001.

 

“Common Goods: Jewish and Christian Householder Cultures in Early Modern Prague,” Sally McKee (ed.) Crossing Boundaries: Issues of Cultural Identity in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, Brepols, pp. 233-256, 2000.

 

“Irenism and Natural Philosophy in Rudolfine Prague,” Science in Context, 10:4, 1997, pp. 627-649.

 

“Jewish Thought and Scientific Discovery in Early Modern Europe,” Journal for the History of Ideas, Fall, 1997, pp.719-732.

 

“Jews and Liberal Arts in Early Modern Prague,” Acta Historiae Rerum Naturalium Necnon Technicarum, Vol. I (New Series), 1997, pp. 24-35.

 

“Diagnosis, Dogmatism and Rationality,” Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 19:1, January, 1997, pp. 40-56. (with Jonathan Rabinowitz)

 

“Science Naturalized, Science Denatured: An Evaluation of Ronald Giere’s Cognitivist Approach to Explaining Science,” History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, 13, 1991, pp. 187-221. (with Menachem Fisch)

 

“Irrationality in Data Collection and Analysis as an Impediment to Clinical Diagnosis and Evaluation” (In Hebrew), Psychologia, 3, 1992. (with Jonathan Rabinowitz)

 

“David ben Solomon Gans,” The Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe, YIVO Institute, New York.

 

“Maharal of Prague,” The Encyclopedia of the Renaissance, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York.

 

“Moses Isserles,” The Encyclopedia of the Renaissance, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York.

 

“David Gans,” The Encyclopedia of the Renaissance, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York.

 

 

Academic Translations

In Defense of Metaphysics, by Yuval Steinitz,  New York, Peter Lang, 1996. (From the Hebrew)

 

 

Popular Publications

“Kiss Those Nobels Goodbye: Have Jews Lost Interest in Science” Forward, October 31, 2014

 “How Jewish Thought has Influenced Science,” Moment, January-February, 2014.

“Pete Seeger’s Hebrew Songbook,” Ha’aretz, January 29, 2014

“Lou Reed, Counter-Jew,” Ha’aretz, October 28, 2013.

“Why Jews Win Nobel Prizes,” Ha’aretz, October 21, 2013.

"Unholy Alliances", Foreign Policy, January 3, 2013

“Hope, Beauty and Bus Lanes in Tel Aviv,” Jewish Review of Books, 6, Summer 2011.

"Faith in Doubt," Jewish Review of Books, Spring, 2010.

"Israel Turns on Itself," Foreign Policy, July 20, 2009.

"Turning Schwartzes into Schwarzeneggers," Haaretz, May 31, 2009.

"The Price of Return," Haaretz Book Review, November, 2008.

 “Letter from Princeton,” Hadassah Magazine, September, 2005.

“The Jewish Century,” Jerusalem Report, January, 2005.

“End of the World,” Jerusalem Report, July, 2004.

“Real Jews,” Hadassah Magazine, Vol. 85 No.5, January 2004.

“Political Fantasy for Our Time,” Midstream, XXXXVIII:2, February/March, 2002, pp. 13-15.

“God, Goyim, and the Good Society,” Boston Book Review, September-October, 2000.

“Germ-Line Justice,” Boston Book Review, May, 2000.

“Just the Factishes,” Boston Book Review, September, 1999.

"Rage not against the Dying of the Light," Boston Book Review, July-August, 1999.

“Science Red in Tooth and Claw,” Boston Book Review, May, 1999.

“Not in Heaven,” Boston Book Review, December, 1998, pp. 22-24.

“The Proper Study of Mankind,” Boston Book Review, Sept., 1998, pp. 16-18.

“It’s Alive,” Boston Book Review, June, 1998, pp.20-21

“Fervor & Yearning,” Boston Book Review, April, 1998, pp. 14-15.

“Of Flocks, or Herds, or Human Face Divine,” Boston Book Review, March, 1998, pp. 14-17.

“History & Hatred,” Boston Book Review, January/February, 1998, pp. 18-19.

“Not the Promised Land,” Boston Book Review, December, 1997, pp. 8-9.

“All We Did for Them,” Boston Book Review, November, 1997, pp. 18-19.

“Prince of Egypt,” Boston Book Review, September, 1997, pp. 32-33.

“The End of Ideology in the Promised Land,” Tikkun, July, 1997, pp. 23-24, 72-74.

“The Two Cultures of Zionism,” Jewish Action, March, 1997. pp. 28-35.

“Trembling with Fear: How Secular Israelis View the Ultraorthodox and Why,” Tikkun, September-October, 1991, pp. 15-22, 88-90.

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