Article ID: CBB147199976

Funding and Directing Research or Rewarding Scientific Achievements?: Two Centuries of Prizes at the Academy of Sciences in Paris (2019)


This study examines the science and technology prize system of the Académie des Sciences through a first survey of the prizes granted over the period extending from the 1720s to the end of the 19th century. No reward policy was envisaged by the Royal Academy of Sciences in the Réglement (statute) promulgated by King Louis XIV in 1699. Prizes were proposed later, first by private donors and then by the state, and awarded in international contests setting out specific scientific or technical problems for savants, inventors and artists to solve. Using cash prizes, under the Ancien Régime the Academy effectively directed and funded research for specific purposes set by donors. By providing it with significant extra funding, the donor-sponsored prizes progressively gave the Academy relative autonomy from the political power of the state. In the 19th century, with the growing awareness of the importance of scientific research, the main question became whether to use the prizes to reward past achievements or to incentivize future research, and the scale and nature of the prizes changed.

Included in

Article Marco Beretta; Ulf Larsson (2019) Prizes and Awards in Science before Nobel: Introduction. Nuncius: Annali di Storia della Scienza (pp. 215-217). unapi

Citation URI

Similar Citations

Article Sven Widmalm; (2019)
Normal Science: Prizes in the Swedish Academy of Sciences before Nobel (/isis/citation/CBB072367471/)

Article Crosland, Maurice; Gálvez, Antonio; (1989)
The emergence of research grants within the prize system of the French Academy of Science, 1795-1914 (/isis/citation/CBB000055899/)

Article Ehrhardt, Caroline; (2010)
A Social History of the “Galois Affair” at the Paris Academy of Sciences (1831) (/isis/citation/CBB000932775/)

Book Crosland, Maurice; (2007)
Scientific Institutions and Practice in France and Britain, c. 1700--c. 1870 (/isis/citation/CBB000772365/)

Book Audin, Michèle; (2011)
Fatou, Julia, Montel: The Great Prize of Mathematical Sciences of 1918, and Beyond (/isis/citation/CBB001210360/)

Article Axel Cäsar Hüntelmann; (2018)
Paul Ehrlich und der Nobelpreis. Die Konstruktion wissenschaftlicher Exzellenz (/isis/citation/CBB741554078/)

Article Svante Lindqvist; (2019)
Salon des Refusés (/isis/citation/CBB408974060/)

Article Thorsten Halling; Nils Hansson; Heiner Fangerau; (2018)
„Prisvärdig“ Forschung? Wilhelm Roux und sein Programm der Entwicklungsmechanik (/isis/citation/CBB759379934/)

Essay Review Christopher Hamlin; (2017)
You Say “Myth” Like It’s a Bad Thing (/isis/citation/CBB709882403/)

Article Mordechai Feingold; (2022)
The Age of Academies (/isis/citation/CBB303367292/)

Book Bruno Belhoste; (2019)
Paris Savant: Capital of Science in the Age of Enlightenment (/isis/citation/CBB313251761/)

Book Sean M. Quinlan; (2021)
Morbid Undercurrents: Medical Subcultures in Postrevolutionary France (/isis/citation/CBB109871340/)

Book Bertucci, Paola; (2007)
Viaggio nel paese delle meraviglie: scienza e curiosità nell'Italia del Settecento (/isis/citation/CBB000950724/)

Authors & Contributors
Crosland, Maurice P.
Brian, Eric
Gálvez, Antonio
Ehrhardt, Caroline
Bertucci, Paola
Fox, Robert
Nuncius: Annali di Storia della Scienza
Archives Internationales d'Histoire des Sciences
Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte
Revue de Synthèse
Social Studies of Science
Science in Context
Bollati Boringhieri
Johns Hopkins University Press
Cornell University Press
Oxford University Press
Scientific communities; interprofessional relations
Prizes; awards
Science and society
Societies; institutions; academies
Nobel Prizes
Montyon, Antoine Jean Baptiste Robert Auget, Baron de
Galois, Évariste
Nollet, Jean Antoine
Fatou, Pierre
Julia, Gaston
Arago, François Jean Dominique
Time Periods
19th century
18th century
20th century
17th century
20th century, early
Great Britain
Paris (France)
Académie des Sciences, Paris
Kungliga Svenska Vetenskapsakademien
Royal Society of London

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment