Peter Galison is the Joseph Pellegrino University Professor at Harvard University. He received his undergraduate degree from Harvard in 1977, his M.Phil. from Cambridge University in 1978, and his Ph.D. in theoretical high-energy physics and the history of science, also from Harvard in 1983. In 1997, he was awarded a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship; he won a 1998 Pfizer Award for his 1997 Image and Logic: A Material Culture of Microphysics in the History of Science; in 1999, the Max Planck and Humboldt Stiftung Prize; and in 2018, the Abraham Pais Award in the History of Physics. A Fellow of the American Physical Society, he is also a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the American Philosophical Society. His other books include How Experiments End (1987), Einstein’s Clocks, Poincaré’s Maps (2003), and Objectivity (with Lorraine Daston, 2007). Galison partnered with South African artist William Kentridge on a multi-screen installation, “The Refusal of Time” (2012), and the associated chamber opera “Refuse the Hour.” He co-directs Critical Media Practice (training a new generation of Ph.D. students to work with digital media) and the Film Study Center, both at Harvard. As a member of the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration, he shared in the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics for the first-ever photograph of a black hole.
In 2000, he began expanding into the documentary film sphere, with a film on the moral-political debates over the H-bomb, Ultimate Weapon: The H-Bomb Dilemma, with Pamela Hogan. With Robb Moss, he co-directed Secrecy (2008), on national security secrecy, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. The two also co-directed a feature documentary, Containment (2015, Full Frame Film Festival), about the need to guard radioactive materials (and warn the future) for the 10,000-year future—and has just completed a feature documentary, “Black Holes. The Edge of All We Know.” He is a co-founder of the Black Hole Initiative, an interdisciplinary center for the study of these most extreme objects. His current research is on the history and philosophy of black holes and, in a second project, on the changing relation of technology to the self.