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

March 2016

High-Rise
As High-Rise opens in British cinemas, Jesse Olszynko-Gryn writes in the Guardian's H-Word blog about how J.G. Ballard's novel reflected contemporary animal research and fears of urban overcrowding.

February 2016

Extension
The Wellcome Trust has approved a further no-cost extension to the Generation to Reproduction strategic award, so the project will now run till 30 September 2017.

February 2016

Medical genetics in Manchester
Salim Al-Gailani has been awarded a visiting research fellowship at the John Rylands Research Institute, University of Manchester.