Dr. Margaret Jo Osler was born on November 27, 1942 in New York City, New York. After graduating from Swarthmore College in 1963 with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Osler went on her earn her M. A. and Ph. D. from Indiana University in 1966 and 1968, respectively. She completed her doctoral thesis, John Locke and Some Philosophical Problems in the Science of Boyle and Newton, under the supervision of historian Richard S. Westfall.
Osler was hired by Oregon State University as an Assistant Professor immediately after completing her studies at Indiana. She went on to teach briefly at Harvey Mudd College and Wake Forest University before finding her permanent academic home at the University of Calgary, where she taught History of Science (1975-2010) and Philosophy (1998-2008).
A prolific author, Osler wrote two books, edited four and published over 125 articles, essays and reviews in prominent journals including Notes and Records of the Historical Society of London, Isis and The British Journal for the History of Philosophy. In addition to her published works, Osler wrote at least as many unpublished papers and essays that she presented at various symposia and conferences. Much of her work focused on the scientific revolution - specifically on religion and its connection to early science, with an emphasis on the work of scientists and philosophers Pierre Gassendi, Robert Boyle and Isaac Newton.
Osler died of pancreatic cancer in September 2010 at the age of 69, just three months after the publication of her second book, Reconfiguring the World: Nature, God, and Human Understanding in Early Modern Europe.
Timeline for Margaret Osler
|1942||Margaret Jo Osler is born on November 27 in New York City, NY, to Abraham and Sonia
Osler. The Oslers move to Baltimore, MD shortly thereafter, where Margaret is raised.
|1959||Graduates from Forest Park High School in Baltimore.
During her adolescence in Baltimore, Osler becomes involved in the civil rights movement.
|1963||Graduates from Swarthmore College with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy.
Accepted into Indiana University’s graduate program, where her graduate supervisor is noted historian of science Richard S. Westfall.
|1965||Becomes a member of the History of Science Society.
|1966||At Indiana University, receives her Master of Arts in History and Philosophy of Science
after completing her thesis, Pierre Gassendi: A Study of the Philosophical Foundations of the New Science.
Awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship.
|1967||Receives a Research Assistantship in Indiana University’s Department of History and
Philosophy of Science.
|1968||Receives her Ph. D. from Indiana University after completing her doctoral dissertation,
titled John Locke and Some Philosophical Problems in the Science of Boyle and Newton.
Accepts a dual teaching position as Assistant Professor of the History of Science and Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Oregon State University.
|1970||Hired as an Assistant Professor of History at Harvey Mudd College.
|1974||Accepts a one-year teaching position at Wake Forest University as Assistant Professor
Collaborating with James Brookes Spencer, Osler publishes an article, "Physical Sciences, History of," in Encyclopædia Brittanica.
|1975||Accepts the position of Assistant Professor of History at the University of Calgary.
Wallace Hooper becomes the first graduate student whose thesis is supervised by Osler.
|1977||Promoted to Associate Professor of History at the University of Calgary.
|1979||Contributes to a book of essays titled Probability, Time and Space in Eighteenth-Century Literature.
|1989||Awarded the Izaak Walton Killam Resident Fellowship by the University of Calgary.
|1991||Organizes a conference, "Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Gender and Knowledge."
|1994||Publishes her first book, Divine Will and the Mechanical Philosophy: Gassendi and Descartes on Contingency and
Necessity in the Created World.
|1995||Promoted to Full Professor of History at the University of Calgary.
|1996||Awarded a research grant by The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of
In the same year, Osler also receives a fellowship from The National Endowment for the Humanities.
|1997||Awarded an Annual Fellowship from The Calgary Institute for the Humanities.
|1998||Accepts a second teaching position at the University of Calgary as Adjunct Professor
|2002||Offered a three-year term as an advisory editor of Isis, the journal of the History of Science Society.
Dr. Betty Flagler, Osler's friend and life partner, dies at the age of 55.
|2004||Attends a doctoral seminar at the Centro Interdepartmentale di Studi su Descartes
e il Seicento, University of Lecce, Lecce, Italy.
Divine Will and the Mechanical Philosophy: Gassendi and Descartes on Contingency and Necessity in the Created World is reprinted.
|2010||Publishes her second book, Reconfiguring the World: Nature, God, and Human Understanding in Early Modern Europe. It is released in July.
On September 15, Margaret Osler dies, shortly after receiving a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.
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