Rev. John J. Cavanaugh Professor (emeritus) in Humanities in the Program of Liberal Studies and Graduate Program in History and Philosophy of Science

Michael Crowe

B.A., B.S., University of Notre Dame, 1958
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, 1965

Areas of Expertise: History of Astronomy and Physics, 1700-1900


  • A History of Vector Analysis (1967)
  • The Extraterrestrial Life Debate 1750-1900: The Idea of a Plurality of Worlds from Kant to Lowell (1986)
  • Theories of the World from Antiquity to the Copernican Revolution (1990)
  • (editor) The Letters and Papers of Sir John Herschel : A Guide to the Manuscripts and Microfilm (1991)
  • Modern Theories of the Universe from Herschel to Hubble (1994)
  • (editor) Calendar of the Correspondence of Sir John F. W. Herschel (1998)
  • Mechanics from Aristotle to Einstein (2007)
  • The Extraterrestrial Life Debate, Antiquity to 1915: A Source Book (2008)
  • (editor) Ronald Knox and Sherlock Holmes: The Origin of Sherlockian Studies (2011)
  • (co-editor), F. J. Crosson’s Ten Philosophical Essays in the Christian Tradition (2015)

Recent Articles:

  • "Astronomy and Religion: Some Historical Interactions Regarding Belief in Extraterrestrial Intelligent Life" (2001)
  • “Extraterrestrial Life and Christianity” (2007)
  • “The Surprising History of Claims for Life on the Sun” (2011)
  • “The Extraterrestrial Life Debate from Antiquity to 1900” in Douglas A. Vakoch (ed.), Astrobiology, History, and Society: Life beyond Earth and the Impact of Discovery (2013)
  • “History of the fFactor before 1961 in the Drake Equation” in Douglas Vakoch and Matthew Dowd (eds.), The Drake Equation (2015)
  • "William Whewell, the Plurality of Worlds, and the Modern Solar System," Zygon (2016)
  • "William and John Herschel: Their Quest for Extraterrestrial Intelligent Life," in Clifford Cunningham (ed.), The Scientific Legacy of William Herschel (2017)

Office: 516 Flanner
Departmental webpage: or
Phone: 574-631-6212

In 2010, Professor Crowe was awarded the LeRoy Doggett Prize by the American Astronomical Society in recognition of his lifelong contributions to the history of astronomy.