Robert Goulding

Associate Professor, Program of Liberal Studies
Director, Graduate Program in History and Philosophy of Science; Director, Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values


M.A. (Historical Studies) with Distinction; Ph.D. (Historical Studies), Warburg Institute, University of London

B.A. (Classics [Latin]) First-Class Honors; B.Sc. (Mathematics), University of Canterbury, NZ


Research and Teaching Interests

History of Early Modern Science and Mathematics, HIstory of Optics, Renaissance Humanism, History of Philosophy, Neoplatonism, History of Magic


Professor Goulding has undergraduate degrees in Classics and Mathematics from the University of Canterbury (New Zealand). He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. at the Warburg Institute in London, with a doctoral thesis on Henry Savile and his 1570 lectures at Oxford on astronomy. After a postdoctoral fellowship at Princeton, he joined PLS in 2003. During his time at Notre Dame, he has received research fellowships from the NEH, the ACLS, and most recently at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. His first book, Defending Hypatia, concerned the historiography of mathematics in the Renaissance. More recent articles have concerned optics, magical illusions, and the teaching of mathematics both in the sixteenth century and in late antiquity. He is completing a book, Images of Broken Light, concerning the discovery of the law of refraction from 1597-1637. Since 2017, he has directed the Ph.D. program in History and Philosophy of Science (HPS), and since 2018 he has also been the director of the Reilly Center, which runs HPS and four other graduate and undergraduate programs.

Phone: 574-631-5932
Office: 320Q O'Shaughnessy Hall