History of “The Institute”

University of Paris

  • 1932: Creation of the Institute for the History of Science (IHS), residing under the Paris Faculty of Letters. Appointment of the Institute’s own steering committee whose objectives include the following (minutes of the first meeting of the steering committee, March 4, 1932)

To create an institute where professors of both the Faculty of Sciences and Collège de France will collaborate

To encourage students of the sciences and of history and philosophy to work together

To reject the division of knowledge between the natural sciences and the humanities

  • 1933: The IHS becomes IHST (Institute for the History of Science and Technology). The Institute is attached to five Faculties of the University of Paris and is placed under the supervision of the Academy of Paris (Rectorat de Paris). First president: Sébastien Charléty. The steering committee is expanded to accommodate 75 members among whom are included the following: Célestin Bouglé, Léon Brunschvicg, Lucien Febvre, Étienne Gilson, André Lalande, Marcel Mauss, Léon Robin, Alexandre Koyré, Émile Borel, Louis de Broglie, Léon Brillouin, Élie Cartan, Jean Perrin, Émile Picard, Paul Tannery, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.
  • 1932-1940: Director Abel Rey
  • 1940-1955: Director Gaston Bachelard     
  • 1955-1971: Director Georges Canguilhem        
  • 1969:  IHST transitions from residing under the supervision of the Univesity of Paris, to being taken on by the University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne following the former institution’s dissolution.
  • 1992: IHST becomes IHPST (Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology) 


  • 1967: ERA "History and Philosophy of Science"
  • 1997: URA "Philosophy of Science"    


  • 2002: the CNRS unit assumes the title of IHPST, UMR 8590 (CNRS-Paris 1)    
  • 2006: ENS secondary supervision
  • Directors: Jacques Dubucs () ; Jean Gayon (2010—).



IHPST Administrative archives, available upon request.

Jean-François Braunstein, « Abel Rey et les débuts de l’Institut d’histoire des sciences et des techniques (1932-1940) ("Abel Rey and the beginnings of the Institute of History of Science and Technology (1932-1940)”), in M. Bitbol & J. Gayon, L’épistémologie française 1830-1970, Éditions matériologiques, 2014.


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