G. E. R. Lloyd
|Born||25 January 1933|
|Education||Charterhouse School |
King's College, Cambridge
|Institutions||King's College, Cambridge |
Darwin College, Cambridge
Sir Geoffrey Ernest Richard Lloyd (born 25 January 1933), usually cited as G. E. R. Lloyd, is a historian of Ancient Science and Medicine at the University of Cambridge. He is the Senior Scholar in Residence at the Needham Research Institute in Cambridge, England.
His father, a Welsh physician, specialised in tuberculosis. After a nomadic early education in six different schools, he obtained a scholarship to Charterhouse, where, despite an indifferent academic culture, he excelled in mathematics, and learned Italian from Wilfrid Noyce. The curriculum was biased to classics, which he was advised, misleadingly in his later view, to pursue. On obtaining another scholarship to King's College, Cambridge he came under the influence of the pre-Socratics specialist John Raven. He spent a year in Athens (1954-1955) where, apart from learning modern Greek, he also mastered the bouzouki.
A keen interest in anthropology informed his reading of ancient Greek philosophy, and his doctoral studies, conducted under the supervision of Geoffrey Kirk, focused on patterns of polarity and analogy in Greek thought, a thesis which, revised, was eventually published in 1966.
He was called up for National Service in 1958. On 14 March 1959, following training, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the British Army's Intelligence Corps. He was given the service number 460084. He was posted to Cyprus after the EOKA insurgency.
On his return to Cambridge in 1960, a chance conversation with Edmund Leach stimulated him to read deeply in the emerging approach of structural anthropology being formulated by Claude Lévi-Strauss. In 1965, thanks to the support of Moses Finley, he was appointed to an assistant lectureship. A recurring element of his approach was the consideration of how political discourse influenced the forms of scientific discourse and demonstration in Ancient Greece.
After a visit to lecture in China in 1987, Lloyd turned to the study of Classical Chinese. This has added a broad comparative scope to his more recent work, which, following in the wake of Joseph Needham's pioneering studies, analyses how the different political cultures of ancient China and Greece influenced the different forms of scientific discourse in those cultures.
Lloyd was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1983 and awarded its Kenyon Medal in 2007. He received the George Sarton Medal of the History of Science Society in 1987. He was elected to Honorary Foreign Membership of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1995, to the International Academy for the History of Science in 1997, the year in which he was knighted for 'services to the history of thought'. In 2013 he received the Dan David Prize on the modern legacy of the ancient world. He is a member of the Advisory Board of The International Academic Forum. In 2013 he received the Dann David Prize in recognition of his innovative and interdisciplinary research that cuts across traditional boundaries and paradigms. In 2014 he received the International Fyssen Prize for work in Cross-Cultural Cognition. In 2015, he was elected a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales (FLSW).
Sir Geoffrey Lloyd is the greatest living scholar of the history of ancient science, who has completely transformed the field over the last four decades. He has brought together insights from anthropology, sociology and general history to bear upon the history of ideas, and initiated the research program of comparative studies of Greek and Chinese science. He showed how Greek science is a product of Greek society, and he crucially uncovered the great diversity of Greek scientific practices.