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Department of History and Philosophy of Science


Colonial Natures

Examining the complex historical relationship between European colonisation on societies across the globe from 1492 onwards and environmental transformation and human-made climate change.

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Natural History in the Age of Revolutions, 1776–1848

How the working practices of naturalists adapted to the political agendas of imperial expansion, nation state formation, and revolutionary movements.

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In the Shadow of the Tree: The Diagrammatics of Relatedness as Scientific, Scholarly and Popular Practice

Examining the role of diagrams in the history of genealogy, systematics and anthropology.

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The Many Births of the Test-Tube Baby

Reconstructing the web of communication.

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Culture at the Macro-Scale: Boundaries, Barriers and Endogenous Change

Investigating the processes and patterns of human cultures at and above the group level.

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Making Climate History

Mapping the links between how imperial and global energy infrastructures have re-made climate and how scientists have known climate.

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Histories of Artificial Intelligence: A Genealogy of Power

The promises and problematics of AI and machine learning seen from an historical perspective.

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From Collection to Cultivation: Historical Perspectives on Crop Diversity and Food Security

Understanding how and by whom modern agricultural crops, and modern diets, have been made.

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How Collections End: Objects, Meaning and Loss in Laboratories and Museums

A collaborative project that explores not how collections begin, but how and why they end.

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Tools in Materials Research

Examining the historical foundations of the tools that were used to understand – and manufacture – our material world.

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Epsilon: A Collaborative Digital Framework for Nineteenth-Century Letters of Science

Recreating the network of practitioners who expanded scientific knowledge in the long nineteenth century.

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Contingency in the History and Philosophy of Science

How contingent historical cases can be used in support of normative philosophical claims.

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Industrial Patronage and the Cold War University

Reevaluating the motives that drove industrial investment in university research after World War II.

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FlyBase: Communicating Drosophila Genetics on Paper and Online, 1970–2000

How scientific communities come together to produce community resources.

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The Lost Museums of Cambridge Science, 1865–1936

Examining the practices of collecting, display and demonstration in the sciences on the University's New Museums Site.

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Medical Publishers, Obscenity Law and the Business of Sexual Knowledge in Victorian Britain

Examining sexual health publishing and the law in the nineteenth century.

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Kinds of Intelligence

Exploring the nature of intelligence through the study of machines, humans and other animals.

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Varieties of Social Knowledge

Pulling together recent trends in social sciences to revisit classic epistemological questions.

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The Vesalius Census

Documenting every known surviving copy of two editions of the Fabrica, the first major illustrated atlas of anatomy.

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Histories of Biodiversity and Agriculture

Pursuing the history of efforts to protect the genetic diversity of maize, and investigating the history of seed banking as a global conservation practice and human health imperative.

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Investigating Fake Scientific Instruments in the Whipple Museum Collection

Using both traditional techniques of curatorial analysis and metallographic analysis to continue the Whipple Museum's pioneering research into fake scientific instruments.

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Before HIV: Homosex and Venereal Disease, c.1939–1984

How gay men, other men who had sex with men, and trans people increasingly became the focus of public-health efforts to control sexually transmitted infections.

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The Casebooks Project

Creating a digital edition of Simon Forman's and Richard Napier's medical records – unparalleled resources in the history of early modern medicine.

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Generation to Reproduction

Exploring topics in the history of generation and investigating how the modern world of reproduction was made.

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The Darwin Correspondence Project

Locating, researching and publishing the thousands of letters written by and to Charles Darwin.

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