skip to content

Department of History and Philosophy of Science


Professor in the History of Science, Technology and Medicine


Dániel Margócsy studies the social and cultural history of early modern science, medicine and technology. A 2024 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow, Margócsy is the recipient of the British Academy/Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowship, and fellowships at the New York Public Library's Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies, the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, the Descartes Centre for the History and Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities, and the Herzog August Bibliothek. He is the author of Commercial Visions: Science, Trade, and Visual Culture in the Dutch Golden Age (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014), and, with Mark Somos and Stephen N. Joffe, The Fabrica of Andreas Vesalius: A Worldwide Descriptive Census, Ownership, and Annotations of the 1543 and 1555 Editions (Leiden: Brill, 2018), which won the Neu-Whitrow Prize. He received his PhD in the History of Science from Harvard University in 2009.

Margócsy's current research examines how coloniality, postcoloniality and violent encounters have shaped the emergence of power structures in science, medicine and technology. He is in the process of writing a book on science, technology and medicine in service of Dutch colonial expansion, titled Transported: Maritime Logistics in the Dutch East India Company World. Focusing on concurrent events in the 1670s in Ambon, Amsterdam, Cochin and Java, this book analyses how colonialism, mobility and exchange co-produce scientific knowledge and sociopolitical hierarchies, transforming corporeal and spiritual experiences and the natural environment in the process. He is PI on the Digitising Philippine Flora project with the Cambridge University Herbarium, and he also leads the Colonial Natures Research Framework at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. His other current interests include a study of the reception of Machiavelli in World War II, the role of scale in historical writings, and a collaborative project on the relationship between transportation technologies and the circulation of knowledge.

Margócsy's latest book, The Fabrica of Andreas Vesalius: A Worldwide Descriptive Census, Ownership, and Annotations of the 1543 and 1555 Editions, studies the reception history of the first major atlas of anatomy from its moment of publication to today. It was based on a comprehensive survey of the annotations, underlinings and marks of ownership that readers left in the over seven hundred surviving copies of the first two editions.

Margócsy's first book, Commercial Visions: Science, Trade and Visual Culture in the Dutch Golden Age (Chicago, 2014) examined the impact of global trade on cultural production in the 17th and 18th centuries. It explores how commercial networks played a crucial role in the growth and transmission of empirical knowledge; and how commercial secrecy and marketing transformed the public sphere and the Republic of Letters.


Research interests

History of early modern science, medicine and technology, global and colonial histories of science, commerce and science, the history of the book, visual studies of science, animal studies, Eastern and Western Europe, Southeast Asia.



Books and edited volumes

Transportation Technologies and the Mobility of Knowledge. A special issue for History of Science 61/1, 2023 (co-edited with Mary Brazelton, with contributions by P. Brandon & M. Dondorp, M. Brazelton, S. Caputo, B. Everill, Margócsy & M. Brazelton, S. Tetzlaff).

The Mantis Shrimp: A Simon Schaffer Festschrift. Cambridge: The Cambridge HPS Collective, 2022 (co-edited with Richard Staley). c. 100 contributors, 372 pages.

The Fabrica of Andreas Vesalius: A Worldwide Descriptive Census, Ownership, and Annotations of the 1543 and 1555 Editions. Leiden: Brill, 2018 (co-authored by Daniel Margócsy, Mark Somos, and Stephen N. Joffe). 518 pages. Reviewed in Bulletin for the History of Medicine, CAA Reviews, Endeavour, Isis, Library and Information History, Low Countries Historical Review, Metascience, PBSA, The Watermark. Website with updates: Winner of the Neu-Whitrow Prize.

Breaking Scientific Networks. A special issue of Social Studies of Science 47/3, 2017 (Daniel Margócsy and Bill Rankin, eds., with contributions from P. Findlen, A. Lakoff, D. Margócsy, W. Rankin, L. Smith, J. Bjorn Vedel & A. Irwin).

Commercial Visions: Science, Trade and Visual Culture in the Dutch Golden Age. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014. Reviewed in American Historical Review, Archives of Natural History, Art History, ArtsFuse, BUKSZ, CAA Reviews, Centaurus, CHOICE, Chronicle for Higher Education, Dynamis, Endeavour, Journal of Historical Geography, Irodalomismeret, Isis, Lege Artis Medicinae, Low Countries Historical Review, Metascience, NTM Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Wissenschaften, Technik und Medizin, Renaissance Quarterly, Seventeenth-Century News, Studium, Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis.

States of Secrecy. A special issue of the British Journal for the History of Science 45/2, 2012 (co-edited with Koen Vermeir, with contributions by M. Biagioli, P. Galison, S. Hilgartner, V. Keller, D. Margócsy, and K. Vermeir).

Journal articles and book chapters

'"A Spring of Immortal Colours": Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues and Picturing Plants in the Sixteenth Century'. Journal of the Warburg and Courtald Institutes 86 (2023): 109–157 (co-authored with Monique Kornell).

'Sequencing Vesalius' De humani corporis fabrica'. in: Ruth Noyes, ed. Reassessing Epistemic Images in the Early Modern World. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2023, 59–80 (co-authored with Mark Somos and Stephen N. Joffe).

'Techniques of repair, the circulation of knowledge, and environmental transformation: Towards a new history of transportation'. History of Science 61/1 (2023): 3–18 (co-authored with Mary Brazelton).

'Fossil Collection, Displayed in a Book-Shaped Box, by Václav Frič, Austro-Hungarian, c. 1870'. in: Joshua Nall, James Hyslop and Boris Jardine, eds. Materials for the History of Science: A Whipple Museum Festschrift to Celebrate the Directorship of Professor Liba Taub. Cambridge: Whipple Museum of the History of Science, 128–131.

'A Jesuit in a Foreign Land: The True Biography of Simon Schaffer'. in: Dániel Margócsy and Richard Staley, eds., The Mantis Shrimp: A Simon Schaffer Festschrift. Cambridge: The Cambridge HPS Collective, 2022, 11–18.

'Malinowski and Malacology: Duplicates, Exchange and Evolution'. The British Journal for the History of Science, special issue Rainer Buschmann, Ina Heumann, Anne Greenwood MacKinney, eds. The Issue of Duplicates: Political, Economic and Epistemic Figurations of Object Collections.

'Datafication, Power and Control in Development: A Historical Perspective on the Perils and Longevity of Data', Progress in Development Studies. February 2022 (co-authored with Katarzyna Cieslik), 22 pages.

'Horses, Curiosities, and the Culture of Collection at Early Modern Germanic Courts'. Renaissance Quarterly, 74(4), 1210–1259.

'The Pineapple and the Worms', KNOW: A Journal in the Formation of Knowledges 5 (2021): 53–81.

'The Global Reception of Stradanus and the Political Uses of the Nova Reperta'. In: Lia Markey, ed. Renaissance Invention: Stradanus's Nova Reperta. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2020, 115–133.

'Elephants, Horses, and the Proportions of Paradise'. Public Domain Review: Selected Essays Vol. 6. London: PDR Press, 2020. First published in Public Domain Review, 5 November 2018.

'Electric Brains: Jacques Fabien Gautier D'Agoty, Exposition anatomique des organes des sens'. In: Daryl Green and Laura Moretti, eds. Thinking 3D. Oxford: Bodleian Museum, 2019, 182–185.

'From Vesalius through Ivins to Latour: Imitation, Emulation and Pictorially Repeatable Statements in the Fabrica', Word and Image 35 (2019): 315–333.

'Technology Transfer, Ship Design, and Urban Policy in the Age of Nicolaes Witsen'. In: Bert de Munck and Antonella Romano, eds. Civic Epistemologies? Knowledge and the Early Modern City. New York and London: Routledge, 2019, 149–170.

'Vesalius Annotations and the Rise of Modern Medicine'. The Lancet 393, 23 February 2019, 738–739 (co-authored with Mark Somos and Stephen N. Joffe).

'Sex, Religion and a Towering Treatise on Anatomy', co-authored with Mark Somos and Stephen N. Joffe, Nature 560/7708 (13 August 2018), 304–305.

'How Eager Pre-20th-Century Readers Mined Anatomical Texts for Information about Sex', co-authored with Mark Somos and Stephen N. Joffe, Slate Vault, 2 April 2018.

'A Pécsi Fabrica (=The Fabrica in Pécs)', co-authored with Mark Somos and Stephen N. Joffe, Per Aspera ad Astra (June 2018), 110–118.

'Pirating Mare Liberum (1609)', co-authored with Mark Somos, Grotiana 38 (2017), 176–210.

'A Long History of Breakdowns', Social Studies of Science 47/3 (2017), 307–325.

'Vesalius' Fabrica: A Report on the Worldwide Census of the 1543 and 1555 Editions', co-authored with Mark Somos and Stephen N. Joffe, Social History of Medicine 30/1 (2017), 201–223.

'Jacques de Gheyn II and Vesalius', co-authored with Mark Somos and Stephen Joffe, Print Quarterly, 33 (2016), 293–295.

'Petrus Paaw's Sources', co-authored with Mark Somos and Stephen Joffe, Print Quarterly, 33 (2016), 295.

'Szatírok a természetrajzban a Reneszánsztól Darwinig: A mítosz és a tudományos hálózatok' (= Satyrs in Natural History from the Renaissance to Darwin: Myth and Scientific Networks), 2000 (April 2015), 60–68.

'Certain Fakes and Uncertain Facts: Jan Jonston and the Question of Truth in Religion and Natural History', in: Marco Beretta and Maria Conforti, Fakes!? Hoaxes, Counterfeits and Deception in Early Modern Science, Sagamore Beach: Science History Publications, 2014, 190–225.

'Govert Bidloo's Liver: Human Symmetry Reflected', The Lancet (383/9918, Feb. 22, 2014), 688–689, co-authored with Rachel Guest and Steven J. Wigmore.

'The Fuzzy Metrics of Money: The Finances of Travel and the Reception of Curiosities in Early Modern Europe', Annals of Science 70 (2013), 381–404, special issue In Kind: Species of Exchange in Early Modern Science and Philosophy, edited by James Delbourgo and Justin E.H. Smith. Hungarian translation published as 'Mindennek mértéke a pénz: Az utazás ára és a ritkaságok fogadtatása a kora újkori Európában', 2000 (February 2014), 37–54.

'States of Secrecy: Introduction', British Journal for the History of Science 45 (2012), 153–164, co-authored with Koen Vermeir.

'The Camel's Head: Representing Unseen Animals in Sixteenth-Century Europe', Netherlands Yearbook of Art History 61 (2011), 62–85.

'A Museum of Wonders or a Cemetery of Corpses? The Commercial Exchange of Anatomical Collections in Early Modern Netherlands', in: Sven Dupré and Christoph Lüthy (eds), Silent Messengers: The Circulation of Material Objects of Knowledge in the Early Modern Low Countries, Berlin: LIT, 2011, 185–216.

'"Refer to folio and number": Encyclopedias, the Exchange of Curiosities and Practices of Identification before Linnaeus', Journal of the History of Ideas 71/1 (2010), 63–89.

'A teve feje: ismeretlen állatok ábrázolása a tizenhatodik századi Európában', 2000 (July-August 2010), 97–108 (a modified and shorter version of 'The Camel's Head' in Hungarian).

'Advertising Cadavers in the Republic of Letters: Anatomical Publications in Early Modern Netherlands', British Journal for the History of Science 42/2 (2009), 187–210.

'A hiteles zsiráf: az egzotikum ábrázolása a Reneszánszban' (= The Credible Giraffe: Imaging the Exotic in the Renaissance), in: Judit Ambrus et al. (eds), Margonauták, Budapest: MTA Rec.iti, 2009, 494–503.

'A Komáromi Csipkés Biblia Leidenben' (= The Hungarian Bible of György Komáromi Csipkés in Leiden), Magyar Könyvszemle 124/1 (2008), 15–26.

'Csöd, Tömeg, Csödtömeg: The Semantic History of the Hungarian Equivalents of Crowd', in: Jeffrey Schnapp and Matthew Tiews (eds), Crowds, Stanford University Press, 2007, 300–303.

Articles for a broader audience

'Networking with a Book, or How Vesalius Gave away his Complimentary Copies of the Fabrica', co-authored with Mark Somos and Stephen Joffe, Origins of Science as a Visual Pursuit, published on 27 October 2015.

'Utószó', afterword to Jessie Burton, A babaház úrnöje (=The Miniaturist), Budapest: Libri, 2015, 496–503.

'Spin a 3D Representation of a Beautiful 17th-Century Globe', Slate Vault, 12 December 2014.

'How One 17th-Century Artist Produced a Good Painting of an Animal He'd Never Seen', Slate Vault, 21 November 2014.

'The Mysterious Geometry of Swordsmanship, Gorgeously Illustrated', Slate Vault, 25 September 2014.

'You Want That with Pictures? How To Publish Images in a Scholarly Book', Dissertation Reviews Talking Shop, published on 28 February 2014.

'A Philosophy of Wax: The Anatomy of Frederik Ruysch', in: Joanna Ebenstein and Colin Dickey (eds), The Morbid Anatomy Anthology, New York: Morbid Anatomy Press, 2014, 82–99.

'Texts Matter, Minds Don't: An Interview with Mario Biagioli', Szabad Változók, 2007.