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I conduct doctoral research on the life and work of Reijer Hooykaas, under the supervision of prof. Gijsbert van den Brink, dr. Ab Flipse and prof. Matthias Smalbrugge. The research is co-financed by the VU Vereniging and the Fonds Haak Bastiaanse-Kunemanstichting (HBK), and VU Amsterdam. My research will result in a comprehensive academic overview of the work and meaning of this VU Amsterdam icon. To achieve this, among other things, the academic archive left by Hooykaas will be explored and former colleagues and students of Hooykaas will be interviewed.
In 1945, Hooykaas became the first scholar to hold a history of science chair in the Netherlands at VU Amsterdam. He introduced a course, mandatory for all students in the natural sciences, that highlighted science's broader cultural contours. Traditionally, historians of science were often inwardly focused, hardly reflecting on science’s relationship to other domains. Hooykaas demonstrated that the connections and tensions between science and religious worldviews had in fact been much more productive. Hooykaas's program was very fitting, as VU Amsterdam had always studied the interconnectedness of worldview and science. Hooykaas would shape generations of students, becoming one of the international founding fathers of contemporary history of science. Even though not all of his views are still shared by the newer generation of scholars that stood on his shoulders, he left an indelible mark on the field.