On leave 2012–13
Research interests: History of modern medicine and biology; the visual culture of science
I came to history of science and medicine after postdoctoral work in developmental biology. I lectured for two years at the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine and became a teaching officer in the Department in 1998. I won a Pilkington teaching prize in 2006.
I am finishing a book, Icons of Darwinism: Pictures of Embryos and Charges of Fraud, to be published by the University of Chicago Press, about some of the most controversial and, remarkably, also most standard images in the history of science. Linked to a project on Visualizing Development: Anatomies of Human Embryos I am collaborating with Martin Johnson (Physiology, Development and Neuroscience) and Sarah Franklin (Sociology) on a history of mammalian embryology, and especially human IVF, in the UK since 1945.
I am principal holder of a Wellcome Trust strategic award in the history of medicine on the theme 'Generation to Reproduction', advise the Cambridge Interdisciplinary Reproduction Forum and co-direct the Ischia Summer School on the History of the Life Sciences; the theme for 2013 is 'Creating Life'. I sit on the Wellcome Digital Library programme board and the Wellcome Trust Medical Humanities Selection Panel.
- 'A marble embryo: Meanings of a portrait from 1900', History Workshop Journal 73 (Spring 2012), 5-36. [open access]
Short version: 'Anatomist and embryo: a portrait sculpture', The Lancet 381 (2013), 286-287.
- 'Approaches and species in the history of vertebrate embryology', in Vertebrate Embryogenesis: Embryological, Cellular and Genetic Methods (Methods in Molecular Biology 770), ed. Francisco J. Pelegri, Humana Press, 2011, 1-20. [660 KB PDF file]
- 'Why the Medical Research Council refused Robert Edwards and Patrick Steptoe support for research on human conception in 1971', Human Reproduction 25 (2010), 2157-2174 (with Martin H. Johnson, Sarah B. Franklin and Matthew Cottingham). [270 KB PDF file]
- Seriality and Scientific Objects in the Nineteenth Century, a special double issue of History of Science 48 (2010), 251-494. Edited and introduced (on pp. 251-285) with Simon Schaffer and Jim Secord. [1.2 MB PDF file]
- 'Embryology', in The Cambridge History of Science, vol. 6: The Modern Biological and Earth Sciences, ed. Peter J. Bowler and John V. Pickstone, Cambridge University Press, 2009, pp. 285-315.
- Making Visible Embryos, online exhibition, October 2008 (with Tatjana Buklijas).
- 'Artist versus anatomist, models against dissection: Paul Zeiller of Munich and the Revolution of 1848', Medical History 51 (2007), 279-308. [820 KB PDF file]
See also 'Model politics', The Lancet 372 (2008), 1946-1947. [300 KB PDF file]
- 'Pictures of evolution and charges of fraud: Ernst Haeckel's embryological illustrations', Isis 97 (2006), 260-301. [1.9 MB PDF file]
- 'Visual standards and disciplinary change: Normal plates, tables and stages in embryology', History of Science 43 (2005), 239-303. [2.4 MB PDF file]
Shorter and more highly illustrated version: 'A history of normal plates, tables and stages in vertebrate embryology', International Journal of Developmental Biology 51 (2007), 1-26. [2.9 MB PDF file]
- Models: The Third Dimension of Science, Stanford University Press, 2004. Edited and introduced with Soraya de Chadarevian; own chapter on 'Plastic publishing in embryology'.
- Embryos in Wax: Models from the Ziegler Studio, Whipple Museum of the History of Science, University of Cambridge; Institute of the History of Medicine, University of Bern, 2002.
- 'Embryonen "auf dem Altar der Wissenschaft zu opfern": Entwicklungsreihen im späten neunzehnten Jahrhundert', in Geschichte des Ungeborenen. Zur Erfahrungs- und Wissenschaftsgeschichte der Schwangerschaft, 17.-20. Jahrhundert, ed. Barbara Duden et al., Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2nd edition, 2002, pp. 237-272.
- 'Producing development: The anatomy of human embryos and the norms of Wilhelm His', Bulletin of the History of Medicine 74 (2000), 29-79. [8.9 MB PDF file]
- 'The introduction of Xenopus laevis into developmental biology: Of empire, pregnancy testing and ribosomal genes', International Journal of Developmental Biology 44 (2000), 43-50 (with John B. Gurdon). [342 KB PDF file]
- '"Giving body" to embryos: Modelling, mechanism and the microtome in late nineteenth-century anatomy', Isis 90 (1999), 462-496. [6.1 MB PDF file]
- 'Biology between university and proletariat: The making of a red professor', History of Science 35 (1997), 367-424. [1.6 MB PDF file]
- 'Producing a socialist popular science in the Weimar Republic', History Workshop Journal 41 (Spring 1996), 117-153. [3.8 MB PDF file]