skip to content

Department of History and Philosophy of Science


Seminars, supported by Wellcome, are on Tuesdays from 5.00 to 6.30pm unless otherwise stated. All welcome!


Seventeenth Cambridge Wellcome Lecture in the History of Medicine

Thursday 20 January 2022, 4.00–5.30pm, Zoom

Gabriela Soto Laveaga (Harvard University)
Seeds, a dying river, and an experiment station: re-examining 1960s global solutions to hunger from Sonora, Mexico

High-yielding wheat seeds developed in research stations in Mexico helped launch the so-called Green Revolution in the 1960s. These seeds, often credited with averting a South Asian famine, transformed farming with the help of inputs such as fertilizers, pesticides, and irrigation. The environmental degradation and social impact of this type of farming became clear only years later. While research has focused on the environmental impact of these seeds in South Asia and other parts of the world, little attention has been given to the impact in the region where these seeds initially emerged, the research station were these seeds were first tested. This talk examines the history of the region, the Yaqui Valley, and how a scientific discovery billed as the key to ending world hunger, transformed the lives of thousands of erstwhile farmers.

Register for this lecture


Early Science and Medicine

Organised by Dániel Margócsy, Carolin Schmitz, Sebestian Kroupa and Christoffer Basse Eriksen.

1 February Philippa Hellawell (National Archives, UK)
Contagion and the politics of maritime quarantine during the Marseille plague (1720)
Arts School Lecture Theatre A
22 February Nader El-Bizri (American University of Beirut)
Alhazen's Perspectiva legacy in science and art
Arts School Lecture Theatre A
15 March Yijun Wang (New York University)


History of Modern Medicine and Biology

Organised by Salim Al-Gailani, Mary Brazelton and Helen Curry.

8 February Jessica Wang (University of British Columbia)
Insects and the infrastructure of Empire: tropical agriculture and biological control in early 20th-century Hawai'i
Register for this seminar
15 February Tracey Loughran (University of Essex)
Finding women's 'everyday health': testimonies and experiences
Register for this seminar
7 March Wayne Soon (Vassar College)
Global actuarial science in the making of the universal healthcare system in the Republic of China, 1935–2010
(Please note this seminar takes place on Monday, 5.00–6.30pm)
Register for this seminar


Generation to Reproduction

Organised by Staffan Müller-Wille and Dániel Margócsy.

25 January Ayah Nuriddin (Princeton University)
Black eugenics and the politics of reproduction
Register for this seminar