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Department of History and Philosophy of Science

Plaster model of a human head, 19th century (Whipple Museum)

The Department of History and Philosophy of Science is a major centre for research, teaching and public engagement in history of medicine.

The distinctive feature of our programme is that medical historians work in the largest and most distinguished department of history and philosophy of science in the UK. So students and researchers can both focus on history of medicine and take advantage of intellectual exchange with historians of physical sciences, sociologists and philosophers of science, staff in the Whipple Museum and bioethicists.

Expertise in medical history covers an exceptionally wide range, from antiquity to the present day. We have special strength in the area of Generation to Reproduction and participate in the University-wide Strategic Research Initiative on Reproduction.

The Department provides training in history of medicine at every level. We also welcome inquiries about postdoctoral research, including short-term visits and affiliate status.


History of Medicine news

'Hanna Rion and The Weekly Dispatch's twilight sleep crusade'
Congratulations to Eleanor Taylor on her article in the latest issue of Medical Humanities. It is based on the dissertation Eleanor wrote as a Part II HPS student in 2022.

Congratulations to Yijie Huang
PhD student Yijie Huang's article 'Anatomizing the pulse: Edmund King's analogy, observation and conception of the tubular body' has been published in Annals of Science as winner of the journal's best paper prize.

'Health for All?: Histories of International and Global Health'
Mary Brazelton has published a new article in History Compass.

Reproduction: Antiquity to the Present Day
Cambridge University Press has published Reproduction: Antiquity to the Present Day, the major output of the Wellcome-funded Generation to Reproduction project.


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Ucam-histmed is an email list for people in the Cambridge area interested in history of medicine.

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Main image: Plaster model of a human head, 19th century. This model, which can be taken apart, would have been a less gruesome, and cheaper, alternative to human dissection for medical students and teachers. (T50)
Image credit: Whipple Museum of the History of Science, University of Cambridge

Generation to Reproduction


Cambridge historians of medicine and biology are taking a long-term, cross-disciplinary approach to the history of reproduction.

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Making Visible Embryos


Explore our online exhibition on the history of embryo images.

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The Casebooks Project


Browse and search Simon Forman's and Richard Napier's records of thousands of consultations.

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