Victor Boantza

Victor Boantza

Victor Boantza

Director of Undergraduate Studies for HSTM, Associate Professor, School of Physics and Astronomy


John T. Tate Hall
Room 130-29
116 Church Street Se
Minneapolis, MN 55455


Program in History of Science, Technology and Medicine (HSTM)


Ph.D., University of Toronto, 2009

M.A., University of Toronto

M.A., Ben-Gurion University


I work on the history of early modern science, in particular chemistry, physics, and the experimental sciences from the 17th to the early 19th century. I have an M.A. and Ph.D. in History and Philosophy of Science and Technology from the University of Toronto (2009). I have held postdoctoral fellowships at McGill University and the University of Sydney, where I also received an Australian Research Council Early Career Research Award for a project on science in the Enlightenment. In Matter and Method in the Long Chemical Revolution I trace continuities in matter theory and experimental philosophy from Boyle to Lavoisier, and reevaluate the disciplinary relationship between mechanists, Newtonians, and chemists in France, England, and Scotland. My present project, Elusive Matters: A Historical Ontology of Imponderables from Newton to Davy, explores the changing ontological, epistemological, and experimental underpinnings of light, heat, electricity, fire, and ether as they crossed the borders between diverse scientific, technological, and industrial realms. I am also interested in historiography, science and religion, the philosophy of technology, and the history of scientific instruments.

Research Interests

Early modern physical sciences, Enlightenment science, the scientific and chemical revolutions


  1. Matter and Method in the Long Chemical Revolution: Laws of Another Order (Burlington: Ashgate, 2013)
  2. Controversies Within the Scientific Revolution, co-edited with M.Dascal (Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2011)

Selected Publications

  1. “The Rise and Fall of Nitrous Air Eudiometry: Enlightenment Ideals, Embodied Skills, and the Conflicts of Experimental Philosophy,” History of Science, 51.4 (2013): 377–412.
  2. “Alkahest and Fire: Debating Matter, Chymistry, and Natural History at the Early Parisian Academy of Sciences,” in O. Gal and C. Wolfe (eds), The Body as Object and Instrument of Knowledge: Embodied Empiricism in Early Modern Science (Dordrecht: Springer, 2010), 75–92.
  3. “The Phlogistic Role of Heat in the Chemical Revolution and Kirwan's ‘Ingenious Modifications … into the Theory of Phlogiston.’” Annals of Science, 65 (2008), 309–38.
  4. “Collecting Airs and Ideas: Joseph Priestley's Style of Experimental Reasoning,” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 38 (2007), 506–22.