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Department of History and Philosophy of Science

AHRC Early Career Research Fellow.
Advanced Research Fellow, Darwin College. 
Affiliated Lecturer, Faculty of History.

Edwin Rose is currently Principal Investigator on the AHRC funded research project 'Natural History in the Age of Revolutions, 1776–1848' based in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge and the Advanced Research Fellow at Darwin College, Cambridge. Edwin also works for part of his time as a postdoctoral research associate on the project 'Curious Travellers 2: Digital Editions of Thomas Pennant's Tours of Wales and Scotland'. Before this, Edwin completed his PhD in the History and Philosophy of Science Department in 2020 with a thesis entitled 'Managing Nature in the Age of Enlightenment: The Practice of Natural History in Britain, 1760–1820' covering topics ranging from James Cook's voyages to the Pacific to Thomas Pennant's construction and distribution of the great British Zoology. Since then, Edwin has been Munby Fellow at Cambridge University Library (2020-21) exploring the colonial and religious history of the Cambridge Botanic Garden and a postdoctoral researcher for Darwin College, Cambridge (2021-22) undertaking a project on the Darwin family's relationship with Cambridge between the 1750s and 1950s. Aspects of Edwin's research on the practices of natural history in the British Empire (c.1760-1820) have been adapted to form a book entitled Reading the World: British Practices of Natural History now due to appear in the University of Pittsburgh Press's Spring 2025 catalogue. Edwin currently teaches in HPS and the Faculty of History where he is also an Affiliated Lecturer. 

Edwin is an historian of science, environment and empire with particular interests in the life, environmental, earth and human sciences, the history of the book and communication from the late seventeenth to early twentieth centuries.

I am very happy to hear from prospective students who wish to commence essays and dissertations with me. At present I lecture and supervise for courses in HPS and the Faculty of History. 

Current Teaching

Part 1A Outline 6: 'The Global Eighteenth Century', Faculty of History (Lecturer). 
Part II Paper 3: 'Biology: Lab and Field', Department of History and Philosophy of Science (Lecturer).
Part II Paper 29: 'Sites of Knowledge, 1750-1850', Faculty of History (Lecturer). 
Part II Paper 14: 'Material Culture in the Early Modern World', Faculty of History (Lecturer). 
Graduate Training Seminar: 'Jokes in the Sciences', Department of History and Philosophy of Science (convenor and Lecturer). 

Recent Press

TV interview for 'Susan Calman's Great British Cities', Episode 3, Cambridge, on John Stevens Henslow and Charles Darwin, Friday 22nd March. Available on catch-up.  
Quoted in The Guardian by Donna Fergusson, 'Darwin's Plant Specimens Stored for 200 Years to go on Public Display,' 16 March, 2024. 
Lecture tour talk announced in The Gisborne Herald, 'Cambridge Uni pair here for natural history talk,' 22 November 2023.  

Key Publications


Reading the World: British Practices of Natural History 1760-1820 (University of Pittsburgh Press, forthcoming in 2025). 

Peer Reviewed Articles

'George Howard Darwin and the "Public" interpretation of The Tides'History of Science (2023), pp. 1-33 (online first). 

'Empire and the Theology of Nature in the Cambridge Botanic Garden, 1760-1825', Journal of British Studies (2023), pp. 1-32 (online first). 

'Publishing Nature in an Age of Revolutions: Joseph Banks, Georg Forster and the Plants of the Pacific', Historical Journal, 63:5 (2020), pp. 1132-1159.

'From the South Seas to Soho Square: Joseph Banks's Library, Collection and Kingdom of Natural History', Notes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science, 73:4 (2019), pp.499-526. (Part of a special issue entitled 'Rethinking Joseph Banks').

'Gilbert White, John Ray and the Construction of the Natural History of Selborne', Archives of Natural History 46.1 (2019), pp. 105-112.

'Lives and Afterlives of the Lithophylacii Britannici ichnographia (1699), the First Illustrated Field Guide to English Fossils', Nuncius: Journal of the Material and Visual History of Science, 33 (2018), pp. 505-536 (co-authored with Prof. Anna Marie Roos).

'Specimens, Slips and Systems: Daniel Solander and the classification of nature at the world's first public museum, 1753-1768', The British Journal for the History of Science, 52: 2 (2018), pp. 205-237.

'Natural history collections and the book: Hans Sloane's A Voyage to Jamaica (1707-25) and his Jamaican plants', Journal of the History of Collections, 30: 1 (2018), pp. 15-33.

Peer Reviewed Book Chapters

[IN PRESS] (with Scott Mandelbrote) 'Thomas Gray as a Reader and Writer on the Natural World', in Ruth Abbott and Ephraim Levinson (eds.), Thomas Gray Among the Disciplines (Routledge). 


'Jordan Goodman. Planting the World: Joseph Banks and His Collectors: An Adventurous History of Botany. London: William Collins, 2020. Pp. 560. $32.99 (cloth).' Journal of British Studies, 62, no. 1 (2023), pp. 238-240.  

'Cook's Voyages to the Pacific after 250 years. Exhibition review of James Cook: The Voyages, at the British Library, London, April-August 2018. British Library, London', Endeavour, 42 (2018), pp. 204–205.

'James Delbourgo, Collecting the World: The Life and Curiosity of Hans Sloane (London: Allen Lane, 2017)', The British Journal for the History of Science, 50 (2017), pp. 731–732.

Exhibitions, Talks and Public Engagement (selected)

'200 Years of Scientific Publishing at the Cambridge Philosophical Society', 22 January-March 2024, Whipple Library, Cambridge. 

'The Darwins and Music: A Concert' (Organised with Francis Knights), 29 October 2022, at Darwin College, Cambridge. 

'George Howard Darwin and the 'Public' Understanding of Nature', talk at Cambridge University Library, as part of the events accompanying the Darwin in Conversation exhibiton

'The Darwin Family and Cambridge: Preliminary Research Scoping', The Darwinian Alumni Newsletter, February 2021.

'John Martyn's Network of Nature', PuLSe, Linnean Society Quarterly Magazine, July 2021 (co-authored with Dr Lauren M. Gardiner), pp. 6–8.

'Botany in 18th-Century Cambridge: A First Look Inside the Martyn Collection', recorded talk and show and tell of original materials, with Lauren M. Gardiner (Cambridge University Herbarium), 31 March 2020.

'The Roots of Disorder: Botany Became an Unlikely Battlefield in the Age of Revolution', History Today, 70:6 (2020), pp. 70–83.

Podcast: 'Pacific Exploration, Botany, and Revolution' for Time to Eat the Dogs: A Podcast About Science, History and Exploration. Interviewed by Michael Robinson (University of Hertford, CN.), 5 May 2020.

'Applying Structure to the South Sea: Joseph Banks, Daniel Solander and the Practice of Natural History on the Endeavour Voyage to the Pacific, 1768-1771', Encounters and Exchanges Conference, University of Otago, New Zealand, 3 December 2019.

Blog Post for Cambridge University Library: 'Before Endeavour: Joseph Banks and his travels in England and Wales', Cambridge University Library Special Collections Blog, 22 February, 2019.

'An age of Discoveries: 250 Years since the Endeavour Voyage to the Pacific', Cambridge University Library, Cambridge, 28 August - 29 September 2018.

'From Specimen to Print: Constructing and Publishing Thomas Pennant's British Zoology, 1766–1812', Linnean Society of London, 16 November 2018.

'Publishing, Printing and Circulating Books Across the Botanical World of Joseph Banks', History of Science Society Annual Conference, Seattle, 3 November 2018.

Other Professional Affiliations and Activities (selected)

June–September 2023: Research Fellow, Linda Hall Library.

Visiting Fellow at Yale University's Lewis Walpole Library, April 2023.

Fellow of the Linnean Society of London (elected January 2021).

Member of the Royal Historical Society (elected in July 2019).

Visiting Fellow, Harvard University History of Science Department, October 2018.

Affiliate of the Natural History Museum, London, 2016–2020.

Convener for the Cabinet of Natural History Research Seminar, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge, 2016–2017.

Previous Positions and Research Projects:

2021–22: The Darwin Family and Cambridge: Science, Art and Nature, 1750–1964

This research project is designed to lay the foundations for an exhibition analysing the Darwin family's connections with Cambridge from the mid eighteenth to mid twentieth century. The main emphasis in on the network surrounding George Howard Darwin (1845–1912) whose home at Newnham Grange formed the nucleus for Darwin College in the early 1960s.

2020–21: Empire, Nature and the Book in Eighteenth-Century Cambridge

Munby Fellow, Cambridge University Library, Research Fellow, Darwin College Cambridge

This project is the first systematic study to cast light on how theological aspirations connected the Cambridge Botanic Garden to networks of global trade, enslaved peoples and specimen exchange. Examining archival material now held by Cambridge University Library and Cambridge University Herbarium, the analysis has shown how eighteenth-century universities became important agents of empire, collecting specimens from across diverse global communities for very different purposes to other contemporary botanic gardens.


2021. PhD, History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge

2016. MPhil, History, Philosophy and Sociology of Science Technology and Medicine, University of Cambridge.


edr24 [at]

Other Websites:;

Twitter: @Edwinrose3

Advanced Research Fellow, Darwin College
AHRC Early Career Research Fellow, Department of History and Philosophy of Science