Two new books from Dr. Stephen Case, ONU Honors Program director

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LW Warfel

December 20, 2023 Academics

Steve Case teaching class

When Dr. Stephen Case — director of Olivet Nazarene University’s Honors Program — sets a goal, he works until he achieves it. In 2024, two of his professional goals will be fulfilled as his writing career continues.

In early 2024, Cambridge University Press will release a new title: The Cambridge Companion to John Herschel. The focus of this book is to give readers the first ever comprehensive account of Herschel’s life, work and legacy. As one of the preeminent John Herschel scholars, Dr. Case has authored the chapter of the book focusing on Herschel’s astronomy. He is co-editor of the volume with Lukas M. Verburgt of the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study.

“John Herschel lived from 1792 to 1871 and is the central figure in 19th century science,” Dr. Case says. “He wanted science to be accessible to everyone, not just the upper classes. In many ways, he is the inventor of modern science. But no biography has ever been written about him. I wrote my doctoral dissertation about John Herschel. So I began asking myself: Should I write his comprehensive biography?”

Dr. Case is answering that question with his newest book, Creatures of Reason: John Herschel and the Invention of Science, to be released in the fall of 2024 by the University of Pittsburgh Press. He plans to write Herschel’s biography as a series of books. This book focuses on Herschel’s early career, from 1792 to 1833, including his travels throughout Europe, a broken engagement, his marriage, and his ultimate decision to follow in the footsteps of his father, William Herschel.

“John’s father, William Herschel, was the world’s most important astronomer until he died in 1822,” Dr. Case says. “John would go on to reach a new audience using mathematics and new technologies, such as the steam press, so that the growing middle class could pursue science. He helped transform natural philosophy into modern science and the natural philosopher into the modern scientist.”

In 2018, the University of Pittsburgh Press published Dr. Case’s first non-fiction book, Making Stars Physical: The Astronomy of Sir John Herschel. This is the first ever book-length treatment about the historically significant contributions Herschel made to astronomy and was short-listed for the History of Science Society’s Pfizer Prize.

Dr. Case serves as director of ONU’s University Honors Program [add link to Honors Program page on ONU website]. As a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Geosciences, he teaches planetary astronomy, physics, and courses on the history of science, and science and theology. He oversaw the complete refurbishment and update of ONU’s Strickler Planetarium from a slide-based analogue projection system to a full-dome digital system during his term as director. These changes greatly enhanced the planetarium’s capabilities and turned it into a powerful multimedia instructional tool.

Dr. Case and his wife, Christine ’05, are the parents of four children and live in Kankakee.

To learn more about the Walker School of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics, contact the Office of Admissions at or 800-648-1463.

Laura Warfel headshot

LW Warfel

Laura Wasson Warfel is a story gatherer, writer, editor, and follower of Jesus Christ. A good listener, she distills details into meaningful communications. Her greatest joy is to bring others along with her on her faith journey. In 2015, she launched More Than A Widow, a ministry to help widows live beyond the label and find their more.

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