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 antiquity to the present day. We are especially interested in encouraging work on Generation to Reproduction. This is the theme of a Wellcome Trust strategic award held for seven 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 affiliate 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

October 2015

Communicating Reproduction
The Fall issue of the Bulletin of the History of Medicine is devoted to Communicating Reproduction.

October 2015

Seed award
Helen Curry has gained a Wellcome Trust seed award for a major new research initiative investigating the history of seed banking.

October 2015

Congratulations to Leah Astbury
Leah Astbury has been appointed a research associate in the Generation to Reproduction group for six months from January 2016.

History of Medicine events