Scott A. Walter

Faculty of Science
and Technology
University of Nantes

Faculté des sciences et des techniques
2 Chemin de la Houssinière, 44322 Nantes CEDEX 3

02 51 12 57 81 scott dot walter [at] univ-nantes dot fr

Research Activities and Interests

My research focuses on the history and philosophy of the physical and mathematical sciences and technologies from 1800 to 2000. Founder and editor of the Henri Poincaré Papers website, I led a team of scholars that edited Poincaré’s correspondence with physicists, chemists, and engineers (Birkhäuser, 2007), and with astronomers and geodesists (Birkhäuser, 2016). I am a member of the Atlantic Center for Philosophy (CAPHI), and pursue research projects in three areas: (1) statistical astronomy, stellar dynamics and cosmology in the early twentieth century; (2) wireless communication sciences from 1900 to 1930; (3) the critical edition of Henri Poincaré’s research notebooks. I lecture on these, and related topics at both the University of Nantes and the École Centrale de Nantes; for details, see the course list. A printable, short CV is available in English and French. Likewise for the long version (with lists of publications and talks), in English and French. If you want a printable version of this CV, click here.


Professor, Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Nantes


Adjunct Professor of Scientific Humanities, SciencesPo Paris, Franco-German Campus, Nancy

Associate Professor, Department of philosophy, University of Lorraine
Associate Professor, Department of philosophy, University Nancy 2
Assistant Professor, Department of philosophy, University Nancy 2


CNRS-Max Planck Gesellschaft postdoctoral fellow, Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Berlin

MESR predoctoral fellow, REHSEIS, CNRS, Paris
Adjunct Professor of Computer Science, Schiller International University, Paris
R&D project director, Kis, Grenoble


Staff research scientist, Computer Science Department GM Research Laboratories, Warren Technical Center

Select Honors


Resident scholar, Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology, National Museum of American History, Washington, DC, one month


Resident scholar, Dibner Library, two months


Research sabbatical, Univ. Nancy 2 (fall semester)


CNRS research fellow, affiliated with the Henri-Poincaré Archives (UMR 7117)


Research sabbatical, Univ. Nancy 2 (fall semester)

Principal Investigator

PI, Electronic edition of mathematical manuscripts (eManMath), Maison des sciences de l’homme Lorraine
PI, Sources of 20th-century mathematical knowledge (SSM20), ANR, project ANR-06-CORP-0027
PI, Henri Poincaré Correspondence Project, Maison des Sciences de l’homme Lorraine
PI, Henri Poincaré Correspondence Project, Lorraine Region

Doctoral Supervision


Nadia Tronche, La découverte des astéroïdes troyens: astrodynamique et cosmogonie au XXe siècle, Université de Nantes, École doctorale ELICC


Léo-Pol Jacquot, Hasard et incertitude : une lecture de la modernité de la physique à partir de la pensée d’Émile Borel, Université de Lorraine (co-direction avec G. Heinzmann)

Postdoctoral Supervision


Olivier Bruneau, history of mathematics


Amirouche Moktefi, history of mathematics, history of modern logic


Martina Schiavon, history of 19th-century geodesy


Ralph Krömer, history of mathematics

Editorial Activities


Editorial board, Cahiers François Viète

2012 to date

Editorial board, Histoires de géométries, Presses universitaires de Nancy

2011 to date

Scientific board, Max Planck Research Library for the History and Development of Knowledge

2009 to date

Editorial board, Documents for the History of Mathematics, Universitätsverlag Göttingen


Book review editor, Historia Mathematica

2002 to date

Founder and editor, Henri Poincaré Papers


Editorial board, Philosophia Scientiæ

1999 to date

Expert for American Journal of Physics, Archive for History of Exact Science, Erkenntnis, Foundations of Physics, International Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Isis, Philosophia Scientiæ, Physics Essays, Revue d’histoire des mathématiques, Revue d’histoire des sciences, Science in Context, Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, and Zentralblatt MATH

Academic Leadership


Member, Atlantic Center for Philosophy (CAPHI, EA 7463)


Steering committee, Research coordination network: Developing an Integrative Approach to Computational and Digital History and Philosophy of Science, National Science Foundation



Director, François-Viète Center for Epistemology and History of Science and Technology, Nantes-Brest


Council member, doctoral school 496, Societies, cultures, exchange, Nantes-Angers-Le Mans


Commission for Humanities (SHS) of the Regional Consultative Committee for Research and Technological Development (CCRRDT), Loire Region


Deputy director, François-Viète Center, Nantes

2013 to date

Co-chair, Digital-HPS

2012 to date

Steering committee, Digital-HPS


Executive council (alternate), Doctoral school Stanislas, University of Lorraine


Director of graduate studies in philosophy and history of science, University of Lorraine


Executive council (alternate), Doctoral school “Language, Time, Society”, University Nancy 2


Executive council, UFR Connaissance de l’homme, University of Nancy 2

2004 to date

Scientific council, Archives Jules Vuillemin


Executive council, Henri Poincaré Archives (CNRS), Nancy


Co-director of the research group “Archives, Corpora, Scientific Institutions and Societies” with 11 full-time-equivalent members, Henri-Poincaré Archives (CNRS, UMR 7117)


Director, Department of philosophy, University Nancy 2

Scientific Committees


Expert for the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Insight Grants in philosophy


Expert, Agence nationale de la recherche, program on the numerical revolution, with respect to knowledge and culture

2018 to date


Expert, Conseil national des universités, section 72: epistemology, history of science


Expert, High Council for the Evaluation of Research and Higher Education (HCERES). Evaluation of CNRS units 7219 (SPHERE, Paris) and 8560 (Centre Alexandre Koyré, Paris)

2016 to date


Henri Poincaré Centennial 1912–2012, Scientific committee presided by Cédric Villani


Beyond Einstein congress, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, 21-26 September, 2008


Einstein: Chief Engineer of the Universe, exhibition organized by the Max-Planck-Institute for History of Science at the Kronprinzenpalais, Berlin, May-October, 2005

Media and Outreach


Interview on the history of light, published on the website Culture Sciences


Interview on the history and philosophy of robotics, aired on a TV newsmagazine, France 3


The Spell of the Poincaré Conjecture. Documentary film (110 min) produced by NHK Tokyo, directed by M. Kasuga


It’s All Relative, Professor Poincaré. Documentary film (26 min) directed by Philippe Thomine. Scientific advisory board member. Streaming video.


Le monde est-il mathématique? 52-minute documentary by Philippe Thomine. N° 4 in the series “Sciences et philosophie.” Aired on les Amphis de France 5. Consultant, in collaboration with G. Heinzmann. Streaming video.


Interview on the notion of time, aired on a French TV newsmagazine, France 3


Whitney Museum, New York, exhibition consultant for “Making Mischief: Dada invades New York”



Habilitation in Letters and Humanities, Université Nancy 2


Ph.D. in Epistemology and History of the Exact Sciences, Université Paris 7 Denis Diderot


D.E.A. in Epistemology and History of the Exact Sciences, Université Paris 7 Denis Diderot


Licence de philosophie, Université Paris 8


B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University

Professional Affiliations

Société française pour l’histoire des sciences et des techniques