Department of History and Philosophy of Science

History of Medicine

The Department of History and Philosophy of Science is a major centre for research, teaching and public engagement in history of medicine.

Detail of a marble bust of the anatomist Wilhelm His holding a model embryo

Making Visible Embryos: an online exhibition on the history of embryo images

The distinctive feature of our programme is that medical historians work in the largest and most distinguished department of history and philosophy of science in the UK. So students and researchers can both focus on history of medicine and take advantage of intellectual exchange with historians of physical sciences, sociologists and philosophers of science, staff in the Whipple Museum and bioethicists.

Expertise in medical history covers an exceptionally wide range, from the cuneiform scholarship of ancient Assyria to the Human Genome Project. We are especially interested in encouraging work on Generation to Reproduction. This is the theme of a Wellcome strategic award held for five years from 1 October 2009 by a cross-disciplinary group of Cambridge historians of medicine. The research will provide fresh perspectives on issues ranging from ancient fertility rites to IVF. A strongly grounded account, building on a lively field of historical investigation, will offer a fresh basis for policy and public debate.

The Department provides training in history of medicine at every level. We also welcome inquiries about postdoctoral research, including Wellcome research fellowships, short-term visits and affiliated research scholar status.

Ucam-histmed is an email list for people in the Cambridge area interested in history of medicine. To subscribe, please visit the Ucam-histmed information page.

History of Medicine news

June 2014

Wellcome Trust award for Casebooks Project
The Wellcome Trust has made a three-year Strategic Award of just over a million pounds for completion of the Casebooks Project.

April 2014

Congratulations to Leah Astbury, who has been awarded first prize in the Social History Society postgraduate conference paper competition.

March 2014

Visions of Science
Congratulations to Jim Secord on the publication of Visions of Science: Books and Readers at the Dawn of the Victorian Age (OUP).