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Laura J. Snyder

Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., Philosophy,  Johns Hopkins University, 1996
  • M.A., Philosophy, Johns Hopkins University, 1992
  • Certificate, History and Philosophy of Science, Johns Hopkins University, 1991
  • B.A., summa cum laude, Philosophy, Brandeis University, 1987
  • B.A., summa cum laude, History of Western Thought, Brandeis University, 1987

Areas Of Interest

  • History of philosophy of science
  • Philosophy of science
  • Intellectual history

Fulbright Scholar Laura J. Snyder is Professor of Philosophy at St. John's University in New York City. She received her B.A. from Brandeis University and her M.A. and Ph.D., as well as a Certificate in History and Philosophy of Science, from The Johns Hopkins University. Snyder is a Life Member of Clare Hall College, Cambridge, and served as President of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science (HOPOS) in 2009 and 2010. Her most recent book, The Philosophical Breakfast Club: Four Remarkable Friends who Transformed Science and Changed the World (Broadway Books, 2011; paperback 2012), was a Scientific American Notable Book, an Official Selection of the TED Book Club, and winner of the 2011 Royal Institution of Australia Poll for Favorite Science Book. It appeared in Italian as Il Club dei Filosofi che Volevano Cambiare il Mondo (Newton Compton, 2011).  She is a frequent contributor to The Wall Street Journal book review section.  In 2012 Snyder gave a TED talk at the TED Global meeting in Edinburgh.

Snyder is also the author of Reforming Philosophy: A Victorian Debate on Science and Society (University of Chicago Press, 2006). She is currently writing a book about the relation between science, especially optics, and art in the seventeenth century.

Praise for The Philosophical Breakfast Club:

"In Ms. Snyder's telling, the lives and ideas of these men come across as fit for Masterpiece Theatre." Wall Street Journal

"As wide-ranging and anecdotal, as excited and exciting, as those long-ago Sunday-morning conversations at Cambridge. A natural successor to Jenny Uglow's The Lunar Men and Richard Holmes's The Age of Wonder." The Washington Post

"Deftly recreates this age of marvels through the lives of four remarkable Victorian men. The members of the Philosophical Breakfast Club left behind some lavish gifts. This volume offers them up delightfully" The Economist

"A fascinating story, one told with considerable charm" The Washington Times

"Snyder succeeds famously in evoking the excitement, variety and wide-open sense of possibility of the scientific life in ninteenth-century Britain" American Scientist

"Snyder writes with the depth of a scholar, and the beauty of a novelist" Science News

(More reviews can be found at