Brock, William Hodson 1936
(born 1936), researcher in the History of Science
William Hodson Brock was born in Brighton, England, in 1936. He attended Hove County Grammar School, from where
he won a scholarship to read chemistry at University College London in 1956. At university his interests turned away from the laboratory bench to the history of chemistry. On graduating in 1959 he took a graduate course in the history and philosophy of science at the University of Leicester and was appointed a lecturer in the subject a year later. His Ph.D. was awarded for a study of the chemical career of William Prout (1966), subsequently expanded into the book, From Protyle to Proton: William Prout and the Nature of Matter, 1785–1985 (1985).
Apart from visiting appointments at Toronto (1977), Melbourne (1985 and 1989), and Philadelphia (1990–1991), Brock remained at Leicester for the whole of his teaching career. In the 1960s Leicester developed an interdisciplinary graduate
studies program in Victorian Studies and, in addition to teaching and researching in history of science, Brock directed
the Victorian Studies Center from 1966 and 1990. In 1998 he retired as Emeritus Professor of History of Science, and moved back to the south coast of England at Seaford where he continues to write.
Throughout his career he has written 12 books and over 100 papers. Brock was awarded the Liebig-Wöhler-Freundschafts-Preis by Die Göttinger Chemische Gesellschaft and the Dexter Award in 1995. In 1997 he received the Justus von Liebig Medal from the Medical Sciences Historical Society. In 2000 he was awarded the Justus-Liebig-Universität-Giessen Preis für Arbeiten zur Geschichte der Justus-Liebig-Universität-Giessen.