Researcher biography

B Arts (Hons), PhD, Sydney University

Richard Yeo is an Emeritus Professor at Griffith University. He researches in History and Philosophy of Science (European) 17th-19th Century, in Cultural and Intellectual History of Information and in the History of the Book.


John Locke. Literary and Historical Writings, ed, by J. R. Milton in collaboration with Brandon Chua, Geoff Kemp, David McInnis, John Spurr and Richard Yeo (Oxford: Clarendon Press, in press for late 2018).

Notebooks, English Virtuosi, and Early Modern Science (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2014); xviii+398 pp.

The Politics and Rhetoric of Scientific Method: Historical Studies (D. Reidel, Boston and Dordrecht, 1986), (edited with J.A. Schuster). This book is volume 4 of the Australasian Studies in History and Philosophy of Science (General ed. Rod Home).

Defining Science: William Whewell, Natural Knowledge and Public Debate in Early Victorian Britain (Cambridge University Press, 1993), a 290 page monograph in the ‘Ideas in Context’ series. Joint winner of W.K. Hancock Prize, 1993-4.

Defining Science, op.cit., reissued in paperback 2003.

Telling Lives in Science: Essays on Scientific Biography (edited with M. Shortland), Cambridge University Press, 1996.

Encyclopaedic Visions: Scientific Dictionaries and Enlightenment Culture, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001 (a 350 page monograph).

Science in the Public Sphere: Natural Knowledge in British Culture, 1800-60, London: Ashgate, Variorum series, 2001.

Inaugural Professorial Lecture, May 2004, A Philosopher and his Notebooks: John Locke (1632-1704) on Memory and Information. Online via Griffith University Library Catalogue.

Journal Articles

‘Managing Knowledge in Early Modern Europe’: an essay review of Peter Burke, A Social History of Knowledge: From Gutenberg to Diderot, Cambridge, Polity Press, 2000, in Minerva 40, no. 3 (2002), 301-314.

‘The Encyclopaedic Life’: review symposium, Metascience, vol. 11, no. 2 (2002), 154-176. Consists of three reviews (by D. Miller, J. Topham and M. Frasca-Spada) and reply by me as author (pp. 171-76).

‘A Solution to the Multitude of Books: Ephraim Chambers’s Cyclopaedia (1728) as “the best Book in the Universe”’, Journal of the History of Ideas, 64 (2003), 61-72.

‘John Locke’s “Of Study” (1677): interpreting an unpublished essay’, Locke Studies 3 (2003), 147-65.

‘John Locke’s “New Method” of Commonplacing: Managing Memory and Information’, Eighteenth Century Thought, 2 (2004), 1-38.

The Australian 7 July 2004, pp. 32-33 on 300th anniversary of death of John Locke

‘Before Memex: Robert Hooke, John Locke, and Vannevar Bush on External Memory’, Science in Context 20/1 (2007), 21-47.

‘Between Memory and Paperbooks: Baconianism and Natural History in seventeenth-century England’, History of Science, 45 (March 2007), 1-46.

‘Lost Encyclopedias: Before and After the Enlightenment’, Book History, 10 (2007), 47-68.

‘Notebooks as Memory Aids: Precepts and Practices in Early Modern England’, invited for Memory Studies, 1 (2008) 115-136.

‘John Locke on Conversation with Friends and Strangers’, Parergon 26 (2009), 11-37

‘Friendship in early Modern Philosophy and Science’ (with Vanessa Smith), Parergon 26 (2009), 1-9.

‘Loose Notes and Capacious Memory: Robert Boyle’s Note-taking and its Rationale’, Intellectual History Review, vol. 20, issue 3 (2010), 335-354.

‘Introduction’ to special issue on ‘Note-taking in early modern Europe’, Intellectual History Review, vol. 20, issue 3 (2010), 301-02; co-edited with Ann Blair.

‘Hippocrates’ Complaint and the Scientific Ethos in early Modern England’, Annals of Science, 75 (2018), 73-96.

‘Queries in early modern science’, in a special issue on ‘The History of the Questionnaire’, coedited with Daniel Midena for European History Quarterly (forthcoming 2019).

Chapters in Books

‘Notebooks, recollection, and external memory: some early modern English ideas and practices’, in Alberto Cevolini (ed), Forgetting Machines. Knowledge Management Evolution in Early Modern Europe (Brill: Leiden and Boston, 2016), pp.128-154

‘Encyclopaedic Knowledge’, in Marina Frasca-Spada and Nicholas Jardine (eds) Books and the Sciences in History, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000, pp. 207-224

‘Encyclopedias’, in A. Hessenbruch (ed), Reader’s Guide to the History of Science, London: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2001, pp. 208-9.

‘William Whewell’, in P. Harman and S. Mitton (eds) Cambridge Scientific Minds, Cambridge University Press, 2002, pp. 51-63

‘Classifying the Sciences’, in ed. Roy Porter (ed), Cambridge History of Science: Volume 4, The Eighteenth Century, Cambridge University Press, 2003, pp. 241-66. A Chinese translation is due in August 2007.

‘Encyclopaedias’, entry in J. Heilbron et. al. (eds) The Oxford Companion to the History of Modern Science, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003, pp. 252-55.

‘Encyclopaedic Collectors: Hans Sloane and Ephraim Chambers’, in R. Anderson, M. Caygill and L. Syson (eds), Enlightening the British, London: British Museum, 2003, 39-36.

‘William Whewell’, new and revised 7000 word entry for the The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 60 vols, (Oxford University Press, 2004), vo. 58, pp. 463-70.

‘Encyclopaedias and Enlightenment’, in Iain McCalman (general editor), The Enlightenment World, Routledge World Studies Series, 2004). pp. 350-65

‘Encyclopedism’ in the New Dictionary of the History of Ideas, ed. M. C. Horowitz, 6 vols (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons,2005), vol. 2, pp. 669-73.

‘John Locke and Polite Philosophy’ in The Philosopher in Early Modern Europe: The Nature of a Contested Identity, ed. C. Condren, S. Gaukroger, and I. Hunter (Cambridge University Press, 2006), pp. 254-275.

‘John Locke’s “New Method” of Commonplacing: Managing Memory and Information’ reprinted in Peter Anstey (ed), John Locke: Critical Assessments of Leading Philosophers, Series II, 4 vols (Routledge, 2006), in vol. 4, pp. 243-280.

‘Encyclopaedia’ in Oxford Companion to the Book, ed. M. Suarez, 2 vols., (OUP, 2010), vol. 2, pp. 697-99.

‘Memory and Empirical Information: Samuel Hartlib, John Beale and Robert Boyle’, in The Body as Object and Instrument of Knowledge: Embodied Empiricism in Early Modern Science, ed. Charles T. Wolfe and Ofer Gal (Dordrecht: Springer, 2010), pp. 185-210.

‘Notebooks, recollection, and external memory: some early modern English ideas and practices’, in Alberto Cevolini (ed), Forgetting Machines. Knowledge Management Evolution in Early Modern Europe (Brill: Leiden and Boston, 2016), pp.128-154.

‘The Individual and the “intellectual globe”’: Francis Bacon, John Locke, and Vannevar Bush’ in Conceptualizing the World. An Exploration across Disciplines, edited by Helge Jordheim and Erling Sandmo (New York and Oxford: Berghahn, 2018), 311-324.   ASIN: B07BNZBCMP

‘John Locke on Sound and Conversation’, in Peter Denney, Bruce Buchan, David Ellison and Karen Crawley (eds), Sound, Space and Civility in the British World, 1700-1850 (London: Routledge, forthcoming 2019), pp. 15-27.

‘Media and Technology: Notes, Memory and Recollection’, A Cultural History of Memory in the Early Modern Age, circa. 1450-1700, edited by Alessandro Arcangeli and Marek Tamm (London: Bloomsbury, forthcoming 2019).

‘Francis Bacon (1561-1626) on Copia of Information’, in Itay Sapir and Fabian Kraemer (eds), Epistemological Excess in Early Modern Art and Science: Coping with Copia (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, forthcoming).

‘Notebooks’ in Information: A Historical Companion, ed. Ann Blair, Paul Duguid, Anja Goeing and Anthony Grafton (Princeton University Press, forthcoming).