Joseph Needham

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Joseph Needham
Noel Joseph Terence Montgomery Needham
BirthplaceLondon, England
Historian, biochemist

Needham, Joseph

(nēd`əm), 1900–1995, British biochemist, historian of science, and sinologist, b. London. He had a lifelong association with Cambridge, where he was educated (Ph.D. 1924), taught biochemistry (1924–66), served as master of Gonville and Caius College (1966–76), and founded and directed the Needham Research Institute (1976–90). An embryologist, he wrote such books as Chemical Embryology (3 vol., 1931) and A History of Embryology (1934). Fascinated with all things Chinese, he learned Mandarin and headed (1942–46) the Sino-British Science Cooperation Office in Chongqing, China. After World War II he served (1946–48) as UNESCO's director of natural sciences. Needham wrote more than a dozen books, but by far his greatest achievement is the monumental Science and Civilization in China (7 vol., 1954–), a study of the history of Chinese science and technology and their relation to China's culture and society that was complete through its sixth volume at his death.


See M. Goldsmith, Joseph Needham: 20th-Century Renaissance Man (1995); S. K. Mukherjee and A. Ghosh, ed., The Life and Works of Joseph Needham (1997); P. Y. Ho, Reminiscence of a Roving Scholar: Science, Humanities, and Joseph Needham (2005); S. Winchester, The Man Who Loved China (2008).

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References in periodicals archive ?
Joseph Needham, initially an accomplished research biochemist for the Royal Society, was already a leading scientist in the Western tradition by the time he started researching Chinese traditions, holding a chair in biochemistry at Cambridge University.
Joseph Needham's pioneering work in the multivolume Science and Civilisation in China has been central to this debate.
Dressier (92 targets) took the long handicap by tiebreaker over Joseph Needham and Lunsford.
Biochemist, sinologist, and historian Joseph Needham contended that the organization of society allowed Europe to dominate the production of scientific ideas for three hundred years, until around 1900.
The topics include the descent of theory, philosophical implications of connective histories of science, anthrocosmic processes in the Anthropocene: revisiting quantum mechanics versus Chinese cosmological comparison, Averroes and the development of a late medieval mechanical philosophy, Jamu: the indigenous medical arts of the Indonesian Archipelago, the Needham question and Southeast Asia, and rescuing science from civilization: on Joseph Needham's "Asiatic mode of (knowledge) production." ([umlaut] Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR)
The bronze will be produced by Britishsculptor Nigel Boonham,whoseprevious work includes bronze portraits of Lord Runcie, Archbishop Daniel Mannix, Peter Jonas and Joseph Needham as well as one of Diana, Princess Of Wales.
It will be produced by British sculptor Nigel Boonham, whose previous work includes bronze portraits of Lord Runcie, Archbishop Daniel Mannix, Peter Jonas and Joseph Needham. His best-known portrait is of Diana, Princess Of Wales while other works include sporting personalities John McEnroe and Lord Coe.
He discusses such topics as the setting, foundation before the present house, the house that Joseph Needham bought, renovation and resurrection by Thomas Dymond, ironmongers and accountants in the Wilkins family 1895-1936, antiques and evacuees 1936-45, and rescue and retirement since 1971.
Journalist Simon Winchester tells the story of eccentric English chemist Joseph Needham and how he fuelled a profound change in the way the world viewed China with the publication of a vast book on Chinese science.