Dr Ruth Barton

MSc (Wellington) , PhD (Pennsylvania)

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Honorary Academic


Academic appointments

  • 2012-: Honorary Research Fellow, History, The University of Auckland
  • 1993-2012: Associate Professor, History Department, The University of Auckland
  • 1976-1993: Senior Tutor, Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Associate Professor in Social Science Methodology, School of Social Sciences, Curtin University of Technology, Western Australia
  • 1967-1970: Junior Lecturer in Mathematics, Victoria University of Wellington


  • 1970-76: PhD in history and sociology of science (University of Pennsylvania)
  • 1970: MSc, with distinction in mathematics
  • 1963-66: BSc, BSc(Hons) (first class in mathematics)

Research | Current

  • Science and culture in Victorian England
  • Domestic technology and housework
  • Science and technology in New Zealand

Postgraduate supervision

  • Jeremiah Rankin, "Scientific Identity and Authority in the Nineteenth Century" (with Joe Zizek)
  • Linda Tyler (Art History), "John Buchanan: artist/botanist", PhD (with Elizabeth Rankin and Len Bell)

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Barton, R. (2017). ‘Not merely a scientific society’: the New Zealand Institute and its affiliates c.1868–1900. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, 47 (1), 33-40. 10.1080/03036758.2016.1207680
  • Barton, R., & Kwan, A. M. (2016). Jock Hoe: Mathematician, linguist and historian, 1929–2016. Bulletin of the Pacific Circle, 37, 3-4.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Alistair Kwan
  • Barton, R. (2014). Sunday Lecture Societies: Naturalistic Scientists, Unitarians and Secularists Unite Against Sabbatarian Legislation. In G. Dawson, B. Lightman (Eds.) Victorian Scientific Naturalism: Community, Identity, Continuity (pp. 189-219). Chicago: Chicago University Press.
  • Rankin, J., & Barton, R. (2014). Tyndall, Lewes and Popular Representations of Scientific Authority in Victorian Britain. In B. Lightman, M. S. Reidy (Eds.) The Age of Scientific Naturalism: Tyndall and his Contemporaries (pp. 51-70). London: Pickering and Chatto.
  • Barton, R. (2007). Lockyer's columns of controversy in Nature. History of the Journal Nature10.1038/nature06260
  • Barton, R. (2003). 'Men of science': Language, identity and professionalization in the mid-Victorian scientific community. HISTORY OF SCIENCE, 41 (131), 73-119. 10.1177/007327530304100103
  • Barton, R. (2000). Haast and the Moa: Reversing the tyranny of distance. Pacific Science, 54 (3), 251-263.
  • Barton, R. (1998). `Huxley, Lubbock, and half a dozen others' : Professionals and gentlemen in the formation of the X Club, 1851-1864. Isis, 89 (3), 410-444. 10.1086/384072

Contact details

Primary office location

ARTS 1 - Bldg 206
Level 7, Room 704
New Zealand