Geoffrey Ernest Richard Lloyd

Sir Geoffrey Ernest Richard Lloyd (born 25 January 1933) 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.[1]

Early life

Lloyd was raised in London and Wales. His father, a Welsh physician, specialized 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.[2] 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.

In 1989 he was appointed Master of Darwin College, where he remains as an Honorary Fellow. Presently he spends a part of each year in his other home in Spain, where much of his writing is now done.

Recognitions and awards

Professor Lloyd was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1983 and 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'.


  • 1966. Polarity and Analogy: Two Types of Argumentation in Early Greek Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Pr., ISBN 0-521-05578-4; reprint Bristol Classical Press, 1922. ISBN 0-87220-140-6.
  • 1968. Aristotle: The Growth and Structure of his Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Pr., ISBN 0-521-09456-9.
  • 1970. Early Greek Science: Thales to Aristotle. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. ISBN 0-393-00583-6.
  • 1973. Greek Science after Aristotle. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1973. ISBN 0-393-00780-4.
  • 1978. Aristotle on Mind and the Senses (Cambridge Classical Studies). Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Pr. ISBN 0-521-21669-9.
  • 1978. with J. Chadwick. Hippocratic Writings (Penguin Classics). Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-044451-3.
  • 1979. Magic Reason and Experience: Studies in the Origin and Development of Greek Science. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Pr. ISBN 0-521-29641-2.
  • 1983. Science, Folklore and Ideology. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Pr. ISBN 0-521-27307-2.
  • 1987. The Revolutions of Wisdom: Studies in the Claims and Practice of Ancient Greek Science (Sather Classical Lectures, 52). Berkeley: Univ. of California Pr., ISBN 0-520-06742-8.
  • 1990. Demystifying Mentalities. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Pr. ISBN 0-521-36680-1.
  • 1991. Methods and Problems in Greek Science. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Pr. ISBN 0-521-39762-6.
  • 1996. Adversaries and Authorities: Investigations into ancient Greek and Chinese Science. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Pr. ISBN 0-521-55695-3.
  • 1996. Aristotelian Explorations. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Pr. ISBN 0-521-55619-8.
  • 2002. The Ambitions of Curiosity: Understanding the World in Ancient Greece and China. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Pr. ISBN 0-521-81542-8.
  • 2002. with Nathan Sivin. The Way and the Word: Science and Medicine in Early China and Greece. New Haven: Yale Univ. Pr. ISBN 0-300-10160-0.
  • 2003. In the Grip of Disease: Studies in the Greek Imagination. New York: Oxford Univ. Pr. ISBN 0-19-927587-4.
  • 2004. Ancient Worlds, Modern Reflections: Philosophical Perspectives on Greek and Chinese Science and Culture. New York: Oxford Univ. Pr. ISBN 0-19-928870-4.
  • 2005. The Delusions of Invulnerability: Wisdom and Morality in Ancient Greece, China and Today. London: Duckworth. ISBN 0-7156-3386-4.
  • 2006. Principles And Practices in Ancient Greek And Chinese Science (Variorum Collected Studies Series). Aldershot: Ashgate. ISBN 0-86078-993-4.
  • 2007. Cognitive Variations: Reflections on the Unity and Diversity of the Human Mind. New York: Oxford Univ, Pr. ISBN 0-19-921461-1.
  • 2009. Disciplines in the Making, Oxford University Press, pp. viii + 215. ISBN 978-0-19-956787-4.

See also


External links

  • Lloyd's Biography Page at the Needham Research Institute, Cambridge
  • Picture of Geoffrey Lloyd
  • MP4 and DOC)
  • Edward Grant. "1987 Sarton Medal Citation." Isis, 79(1988): 243-4.
Academic offices
Preceded by
Arnold Burgen
Master of Darwin College, Cambridge
1989 - 2000
Succeeded by
William Brown

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