I was born in Haarlem, Netherlands, in 1946.
After the ‘Stedelijk Gymnasium’ (City College) in Haarlem, I studied history at the university of Leiden. I completed my MA in 1970, with a major in socio-economic history and a minor in history of science. I earned my Ph.D. in 1974 with a thesis on efforts at renewal in Dutch social-democracy during the first decade following upon the First World War.
From 1975 to 1982 I served the Museum Boerhaave in Leiden as a curator.
In 1982 I was appointed full professor in history of science at the University of Twente. From December 2006 to July 2019 I was endowed professor at the Department of Humanities of the University of Utrecht.
From July 2014 through June 2019 I served as the Society Editor of the History of Science Society (HSS). In that capacity I had oversight over all Society publications, and effectively ran the editorial office of its quarterly journal, Isis, with the help of numerous able collaborators and assistants, and with the Descartes Centre for home base. I was also a member ‘ex officio’ of the Society’s Executive Committee.

I am further effective member no. 376 of the International Academy of the History of Science.
I enjoyed three senior fellowships at institutes for advanced study – NIAS (then in Wassenaar, now in Amsterdam), the Wilson Center in Washington DC, and the Dibner Institute  (situated at the time in Cambridge, Massachussetts).