Department of History and Philosophy of Science

News and events

Why be human when you can be otherkin?

July 2016

Angels have the phone box. Credit: Flickr Creative Commons

In an essay looking at the groups that exist on the edge of conventional boundaries, and are often subject to prurience and ridicule, Pedro Feijó considers those who feel different, other than human.


Student prizes

July 2016

Congratulations to all the winners of this year's student prizes.

The flower breeders who sold X-ray lilies and atomic marigolds

May 2016


Helen Anne Curry discusses the history of our fascination with floral novelties.


Things of Science

March 2016

'Things of Science' simple machines kit

Jenny Mathiasson describes the Things of Science kits from the 1960s and 1970s that have recently been acquired by the Whipple Museum.


Lines of Thought: Discoveries that Changed the World

March 2016

Professor Stephen Hawking with Newton's annotated first edition of Principia Mathematica. Credit: Graham CopeKoga.

Some of the world's most valuable books and manuscripts – texts which have altered the very fabric of our understanding – go on display as Cambridge University Library celebrates its 600th birthday with a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition of its greatest treasures.

Article and video

Remedies for infertility: how performative rituals entered early medical literature

January 2016

The 'empericum that never fails' in the margin of the Compendium of Gilbertus Anglicus. By permission of the Master and Fellows of Pembroke College, Cambridge.

A study of one of the most important medieval texts devoted to women's medicine has opened a window into the many rituals associated with conception and childbirth.


Frankenstein or Krampus? What our monsters say about us

December 2015

Nikolaus and Krampus in Austria (Wikimedia Commons)

Natalie Lawrence discusses the history of monsters and what they say about the people who invent them.


John Forrester

November 2015

John Forrester

Professor John Forrester, the distinguished historian of psychoanalysis and former Head of Department, died on 24 November 2015.


Fungus Hunt

October 2015

Nick Jardine

Nearly 60 species were found during the Cabinet of Natural History Fungus Hunt.

Photos and report

A world of science

October 2015

The European in India, 1813 by Charles D'Oyly (Bridgeman Images)

The history of science has been centred for too long on the West, say Simon Schaffer and Sujit Sivasundaram. It's time to think global.


What is a monster?

September 2015

'Monstrum marinum daemoniforme' from Ulysse Aldrovandi's 'Monstrorum Historia' (1642, Bologna), p.350

Natalie Lawrence explores notions of the monstrous and how they tie into ideas about morality.


Cambridge animal alphabet: H is for horse

July 2015

Louis Auzoux horse's teeth (1890) in the Whipple Museum

The Whipple Museum's set of horse teeth models features in a series of articles celebrating Cambridge's connections with animals.

Article and video

Men in stripes: spot the difference in early modern woodcuts

July 2015

From Liber de Arte Distillandi de Compositis by Hieronymus Brunschwig (Wellcome Library, London)

Tillmann Taape uncovers the meaning of the striped garments depicted in Hieronymus Brunschwig's medical manuals.


Haeckel’s embryos: the images that would not go away

July 2015

Lithograph from Haeckel, Anthropogenie (1874)

Nick Hopwood's new book, Haeckel's Embryos: Images, Evolution and Fraud, shows how the most controversial images in the history of science became some of the most widely seen.


Leverhulme Fellowship for Boris Jardine

June 2015

Congratulations to Boris Jardine, who has been awarded a three-year Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship to be undertaken at HPS and in collaboration with the Whipple Museum from March 2016. The title of his project is 'The Lost Museums of Cambridge Science, 1865–1936'.

Book launch and garden party

June 2015

Nick Hopwood

The Department celebrated the launch of Nick Hopwood's book Haeckel's Embryos: Images, Evolution and Fraud with a talk by Dr Hopwood followed by a party in the grounds of Peterhouse.

Photos of the book launch and garden party

Pilkington Prize for Jim Secord

June 2015

Jim Secord with other winners of Pilkington Prizes

Jim Secord – 'one of the outstanding teachers of his generation' – is among the winners of this year's Pilkington Prizes for teaching.


Cabinet garden party

June 2015

Garden party

The Cabinet of Natural History garden party, featuring a talk by Natalie Lawrence, was held in Gonville & Caius Fellows' Garden.

Photos of the garden party

Visiting Darwin’s house

May 2015

Down House

For its annual field trip, the Cabinet of Natural History visited Down House in Kent, the home of Charles Darwin.

Photos of the field trip

Experiments that changed the world

March 2015


Charlotte Connelly and Josh Nall help the Naked Scientists recreate some historic scientific experiments.

Naked Scientists podcast