Awarded annually for the best book in the area of science and technology studies.

Created by the 4S Council in August of 1992. The author(s) receives a monetary stipend and an engraved plaque.


Please submit book nominations (author, title, publisher) directly to any officer, council, or committee member. (See Governance page for email addresses.)



Each year the committee will review books with publication dates in the 3 prior years. For example, during the 2007 meeting, the committee will consider books with copyright dates of 2004 - 2006. While the author(s) is informed immediately, the presentation and award will be made at the banquet during the 2008 meeting. Authors need not be members of the Society for Social Studies of Science. It is permissible to resubmit works that have already been considered in a previous year so long as their eligibility has not expired.


Content areas

"Science and technology studies" is an interdisciplinary field, so the range of eligible books is very broad. It includes, but is not limited to, the disciplines of sociology, anthropology, history, philosophy, political science, economics, geography, and psychology as well as works combining or outside of the traditional academic disciplines. It includes studies of knowledge, policy, government, R&D, the uses of expertise, technological controversies, technology transfer, feminist studies, rhetorical and literary analyses, and studies of specific technologies. The main criterion is that the substantive content of the work be concerned with science and/or technology, however defined.


The Ludwik Fleck Prize is named after microbiologist Ludwik Fleck (1896-1961), author of the Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact. Fleck's case history of the discovery of the Wassermann reaction to syphilis, was originally published in German in 1935, and republished in English in 1979 after having been cited by Thomas Kuhn as an important influence on his own conception of the history of science. Both Fleck's history of discovery, and the history of his book's re-discovery, exemplify a view of progress that continues to inform research in the science and technology studies fields.



Committee: Membership on the book prize committees is completely ex-officio, consisting of council members and officers of the Society.


Nominations: For each of the three prizes (FleckCarson and Mullins), nominations may be made by any member of the Society to any Council member or officer of 4S. In addition, books may be self-nominated or nominated by any 4S member. Publishers are contacted in late January and invited to submit eligible books from their lists. Publishers may also nominate books that have not been nominated by members. Publishers are responsible for sending review copies to each member of the committee before the cutoff date. Books may be renominated until their elibility expires. (The cutoff date varies slightly each year, but is usually the end of May.)


Short List: Through the procedure above, committees will designate a preliminary short list and meet during the 4S annual meeting to determine the winners. Awards are to be granted solely on the basis of merit as determined by the members of the committee, without reference to book reviews or recommendations by outside members. If a consensus winner does not emerge, a secret ballot will determine the winner, with honorable mentions as appropriate.


Award: All award winners are announced at the annual banquet of the 4S, which takes place on Friday of the annual meeting.The Chair will inform the winner(s) as soon as possible in order that they may be present at a ceremony during the banquet the following year. Author-Meets-Critics sessions may also be held at that meeting to discuss the work.