Nasim, with his students, at the Museo Galileo. Just one stop on an history of science tour of the city of Florence.

Nasim, with his students, at the Museo Galileo. Just one stop on an history of science tour of the city of Florence.


Omar W. Nasim is an historian of science and technology. Trained in philosophy and physics, his work focuses on scientific practices and techniques surrounding observation, such as drawing and notetaking; but also on histories of technologies as mundane as the pencil and paper or as celebrated as photography. His interests extend to science’s relationships to philosophy and art.

Nasim has held fellowships with the Vossius Center for History of Humanities and Sciences in Amsterdam, the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, the Kunsthistorisches Institute in Florence, the Newton International Fellowship at Oxford University, the Chair for Science Studies at the ETH-Zurich, the NCCR’s Iconic Criticism project at the University of Basel, and the DAAD graduate exchange fellowship at the University of Konstanz. And besides being a Lecturer for the history of modern science and technology at the University of Kent, he was also a visiting lecturer at the department of art history at the University of Basel.

And over the years, Nasim has taught a broad range of courses, ranging from the history of photography, the idea of the ‘savage,’ and the ‘tools of empire’; all the way to French philosophy of science, science and controversy and scientific visualization. This semester (2018) he is lecturing on Extraterrestrial life in the history of science, as well as a seminar on the Abnormal.

Nasim’s first book, Bertrand Russell and the Edwardian Philosophers: Constructing the World (2008) examined the emergence of early analytic philosophy in Britain, particularly through the lens of lesser-known figures and the history of psychology, logic, and mathematics. It won the Bertrand Russell’s Society’s book of the year award for 2009. His second book, Observing by Hand: Sketching the Nebulae in the Nineteenth-Century (2013) is the result of detailed archival and historical work, used to disclose the rich and productive links between the acts of drawing, seeing and knowing. This book won the prestigious History of Science Society’s Pfizer Award for Outstanding Scholarly Book in 2016. 

Currently he is working on two book projects: One is a short book on the epistemic and moral economies of the astronomer’s observing chair; and the other is a monograph on the history of photography in astronomy. Nasim is also busy with a large-scaled project on role of the ornamental arts in the history of science.

Omar Nasim was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba (Canada).