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Department of History and Philosophy of Science


This is a list of people who are willing to supervise Part II dissertations, Part III essays and dissertations, and MPhil essays and dissertations, together with the topics they are prepared to supervise.

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Teaching Officers

Anna Alexandrova

  • General philosophy of science (including models, causation, laws, explanation, values, feminist and social epistemology, metascience)
  • Philosophy of the social and psychological sciences (including rational choice and game theory applications, philosophy of economics, measurement, psychometrics, John Stuart Mill)
  • Topics in philosophy of healthcare and policy (quantification, mental health, behavioural policy, social engineering)
  • Topics in ethics and political philosophy (well-being, happiness, paternalism)
  • Topics in recent history of social science (including science and governance, evidence based policy, citizen science)

Dissertations previously supervised by Anna Alexandrova

  • Climate technocracy: the pristine illusions of integrated assessment modelling
  • Pluralism in scientific explanations of intimate partner violence
  • History and philosophy of the autistic spectrum
  • Ameliorative ontology for social science
  • Creating the behavioural fatigue controversy: the weaponization of demarcation
  • 'Why can the ring only be destroyed in Mordor?': understanding, fiction and the magic of explanation
  • The case of menopause in killer whales: feminist epistemology in evolutionary biology and marine mammal science
  • Well-ordered science and the politics of life extension
  • Dying for medicine: AIDS, trust and America's changing ethics of zidovudine provision from 1987 to 2003
  • Flattening the Earth: coordinating measurements of polar flattening in 19th-century geodesy
  • Uncovering the relationship between the individual and the community in knowledge production: improving feminist empiricism with formal social epistemic modelling techniques
  • What is feminist science?

Mary Augusta Brazelton

Global studies of science and medicine, including:

  • Transnational science and medicine
  • International and global public health
  • History of science and medicine in modern East Asia, especially China

Dissertations previously supervised by Mary Augusta Brazelton

  • Washing away of wrongs: Herbert Giles' 1923 interpretation of the coroners' handbook 'Xiyuan jilu' as a site of scientific translation and European knowledge-making about China
  • Investigation of the role of technology in scientific exchange programmes between the UK and China in the 1970s
  • From discourse to praxis: birth control movement in Republican China (1922–1937)
  • A story of conservatism or careful consideration? Vaccinal syphilis and the introduction of animal lymph for smallpox vaccination in England in the second half of the 19th century
  • Smallpox vaccination and native challenges to state biopower in Canada, 1867–1899
  • Building coherency: early 20th-century international drug policy
  • Benjamin Hobson and translations of western medicine in China's late Qing dynasty
  • Manson and his milk: Hong Kong's dairy farm, dietetics, and the rise of tropical medicine, 1883–1912
  • Care and control in the contact zone: the evolution of Alison Izzett's colonial social work approach in Nigeria between 1945 and 1960
  • Complicating co-operation: how the post-war incentives of the British Empire nudged the World Health Organization towards eradication
  • 'Science as a diplomatic weapon': scientific freedoms in Sino-British exchanges, 1961–1966
  • Economy in the time of rinderpest: prevention of cattle plague in early 20th-century China (1868–1935)

Philippa Carter

  • Early understandings of mental and physical illness
  • Bodies and embodiment
  • Mind/body relations
  • Disability and visible difference
  • Disease categorisation and diagnosis
  • The boundaries between natural philosophy, magic, and religion
  • Sciences of the psyche

Hasok Chang

  • General philosophy of science, including realism, reductionism, explanation, demarcation, progress and confirmation
  • History and philosophy of physics
  • History and philosophy of chemistry
  • Philosophy of scientific practice
  • Pragmatism
  • Pluralism
  • Historiography and HPS methodology

Dissertations previously supervised by Hasok Chang

  • A mentalist theory of medical natural kinds
  • Resolving epistemic diversity in scientific pluralism
  • Electronegativity: a new challenge for reductionism, a new case for emergence
  • Truths without reality, actions without aims: a pragmatic analysis of John Dewey's account of experimentally-derived knowledge
  • William Hyde Wollaston and the atomic theory through the lens of values: practical utility, precision, carefulness and openness
  • Visualising hyperbolic geometry: finding an intuitive understanding of non-Euclidean space
  • Technology in scientific practice: how H.J. Muller used the fruit fly to investigate the x-ray machine
  • Meaning, madness and methodology: revisiting Karl Jaspers on the incomprehensibility of delusions
  • Can embedded philosophers of science be experimentalists? The case of giant viruses
  • When diversity promotes excellence: a New Experimentalist approach to organising diverse communities
  • Towards a feminist perspectivism: bringing feminist standpoint theory into the mainstream
  • 'Put-up-or-shut-up' or 'shut up about putting-up'? Redressing power imbalances in the contingentism-inevitabilism debate

Marta Halina

  • Philosophy of cognitive science (psychology, neuroscience, animal cognition, artificial intelligence)
  • Philosophy of biology (model organisms, mechanisms, comparative methods, cognitive evolution)
  • General philosophy of science (evidence, explanation, experiments, science and values)

Dissertations previously supervised by Marta Halina

  • How to know when mind matters most: causal specificity in psychological science
  • Corvid mind-mapping: towards a species-centred approach for animal representations and mindreading
  • Artificial intelligence and creativity
  • Self-consciousness and moral status
  • Miscommunicating cognitive neuroscience: folk concepts, scientific concepts, and the translation problem
  • Are we going wrong by trying to measure human empathy in animal minds?
  • Extended self in a modern technological context
  • The dual-role dilemma in forensic psychiatry
  • Minimal pluralism about folk psychological explanation
  • Black box AI or black box medicine? Explainability as a misguided requirement for artificial intelligence within healthcare
  • Can nonhuman animals fulfil the rationality criterion of personhood?
  • Algorithmic bias and inductive risk: an account of objectivity in scientific research using machine learning

Nick Hopwood

On leave in 2023–24

History of medicine and biology since 1800, especially in German-speaking Europe, Britain and the United States; visual communication and the media of science:

  • Reproductive sciences, technologies and medicine, including the still largely unexplored history of in vitro fertilization and other Cambridge innovations and institutions
  • Visual communication and the media of science, e.g. book illustration, icons of evolution, models and other visual aids, microscopical techniques, training for scientific and medical artists, portraits, anatomy museums, exhibitions
  • Other topics in the history of laboratory biology, evolutionary biology and medicine

Dissertations previously supervised by Nick Hopwood

  • The psychiatric prescription of occupational therapy in interwar Britain
  • The making of Edge Knowledge: John Brockman, the Third Culture, and the promotion of science writers in the dot-com era
  • Cryptic diseases and the invention of a veterinary history: the mutual complication of epizootic science and international policy between the world wars
  • Science in the smoke: the rise and decline of the UK Medical Research Council's Air Pollution Research Unit
  • Asthma, self-management and the peak flow meter, 1965–1995
  • Lennart Nilsson's fetal photographs in Britain (1965 to 1975)
  • Presenting women as army surgeons: visual representations of female doctors at Endell Street Military Hospital
  • Animals in the diagnostic laboratory: the rise and fall of living pregnancy tests in Britain and beyond, 1929–1964
  • Researching the brain: the Corsellis collection at Runwell Hospital in the 1950s
  • 'The London/Baltimore link has been severed': the economies of human gene mapping and mainframe computing at the Moore Clinic, 1955–1973
  • 3/4D foetal imaging and abortion in the British media, 2003–2007
  • Feminist activism and the British controversy over the injectable contraceptive Depo-Provera 1970–1985

Stephen John

  • Issues in the philosophy of public health (including Evidence Based Medicine, philosophy of epidemiology, justice and public health policy, distribution of healthcare, libertarian paternalism)
  • Science and values (including science funding, the role of values in research, inductive risk, philosophical issues in science communication, risk analysis)
  • Epistemology and ethics (including testimony, the knowledge norm for action)
  • Environmental ethics (including the precautionary principle, environmental value)
  • Medical ethics (including double effect, non-identity problem, euthanasia)

Dissertations previously supervised by Stephen John

  • Super soldiers: the ethical risks of human augmentation in the military
  • Medical paternalism in the treatment of BRCA1/2 variant carriers in the UK
  • Children's obligations to vaccinate, parents' obligations not to vaccinate
  • Failure to care: understanding the dismissal of racialised patients' pain testimony in the obstetric setting as 'care injustice'
  • Upcoding in the German DRG system for hospital reimbursement: lies, epistemic risk, and values in science
  • Intentional fictions or inaccurate realism? An analysis of COVID-19 models for policy
  • Thank you NHS: on solidarity, and why the principles underpinning public healthcare are undermined by the private sector
  • An analysis of the role of demarcation in climate change debates
  • Ethical issues surrounding the use of DNA-CPR orders with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Do we have an obligation to be vaccinated?
  • Should patients with self-inflicted illnesses be treated free at the point of service?
  • The search for objectivity and the demarcation criterion

Tim Lewens

On leave in 2023–24

  • Philosophy of biology
  • Philosophical bioethics
  • General topics in the philosophy of science

Dissertations previously supervised by Tim Lewens

  • The treatment-enhancement distinction
  • The ethics of breeding pedigree animals
  • Genetic exceptionalism
  • The less I know the better: nocebo side effects and the ethics of side effect information
  • Why the Precautionary Principle is incoherent: a virtue-based explanation
  • Bones of contention: against Adrian Currie's species 'plurealism'
  • Defending a regulative value-free ideal
  • COVID-19 vaccination for children from ethnic minorities
  • A case for limited pharmaceutical paternalism
  • Evolutionary debunking arguments, evolutionary science, and empathy
  • The ethics of germline modification
  • From value-freedom to fair procedures: making the science behind public policy legitimate

Dániel Margócsy

  • History of early modern science and technology
  • History of early modern medicine
  • The global history of science
  • Commerce and science
  • The history of the book
  • Visual studies of science

Dissertations previously supervised by Dániel Margócsy

  • 'Of the bones': visual representations of the female pelvis and the origins of pelvimetry in 18th-century midwifery
  • John Harries: a 19th-century magician, physician, and reader
  • Shifting boundaries: a study of William Heberden's (1710–1801) materia medica cabinet in St John's College, Cambridge
  • 'Be well skill'd in the Tools by which Nature doth her work': constructions of the hymen in 17th-century England
  • How did the distinction between men and women impact medical practices in the early modern period?
  • Geology and palaeontology in the 17th century: Robert Hooke and John Woodward
  • Not despite their gender, but because of it: women as producers and practitioners of medical knowledge in 17th-century England
  • Quantifying illness: the epidemiological and demographic use of statistics in early modern England
  • Disciplines in the 16th and 17th century
  • 'Their own embellishments and imaginations': competition, observation and the uniformity of nature in Jan Swammerdam's visual registers
  • The body of the artist: anecdotes of illness and death in Giorgio Vasari's Vite
  • Experience and wound care in late medieval English surgery, 1300–1500

Staffan Müller-Wille

On leave in Michaelmas Term 2023 and Easter Term 2024

  • History and philosophy of natural history, systematics and taxonomy
  • History and philosophy of heredity, evolution and genetics
  • History and philosophy of anthropology, statistics and race
  • History of collecting and information processing in the early modern and modern earth, life and human sciences
  • Philosophy of biology (gene concept, species concept, experimentation, evolution)

Dissertations previously supervised by Staffan Müller-Wille

  • Understanding the interplay between race, racism and science: how was the political document released by UNESCO to a post-war society crafted by natural and social scientists?
  • Genomics, race and whitening in late 20th–21st century Brazil
  • How did pressure from those outside of the deaf community influence deaf education in the UK between 1750 and 1900?
  • How prominent was scientific racism in early genetic theories?
  • Kurt Gödel's philosophical notebooks: notebook-writing as a way of leading a philosophical life
  • The East India Company and the ways in which it carried out the analysis and collection of data for imperial activities
  • The baby in the cybernetic bath: biological teleology between autopoietic self-maintenance and cybernetic adaptivity
  • The doctrine of signatures and the New World
  • 'Little winged heroes': military messenger pigeon training and management in the Middle East Pigeon Service during the Second World War

Joshua Nall

History of scientific material culture, astronomy, and popular science in the 19th and 20th centuries, in particular:

  • Scientific instruments and models in the modern physical sciences
  • Astronomy in the British empire
  • Astrophysics and astrobiology, 1860–1920
  • Museums, exhibitions and expositions in the fin de siècle
  • Popular science, media networks, scientific journalism, 1860–1920

Dissertations previously supervised by Joshua Nall

  • Herschel and Uranus in the public sphere
  • 'Exhibits of processes': working agricultural laboratories and other industrial science demonstrations at international exhibitions, 1893 to 1915
  • John Kendrew and the progression of myoglobin protein models, 1950–1975
  • Robert S. Whipple as collector, donor and historian (1871–1953)
  • Models of authority: the place of geological models in the visual language of geology
  • Early 20th-century debates over life on Mars and their impact on the 1938 War of the Worlds broadcast incident
  • Abandoned cases: the end of solar eclipse expeditions from the University of Cambridge and other British institutions

Charu Singh

Global histories of science, medicine and technology, including:

  • History of science, technology and medicine in modern South Asia, especially India
  • Non-European/non-western traditions of scientific, medical and technical knowledge: practitioners and scientific personae; precolonial genres, disciplines and spaces of practice
  • Postcolonial nation-states, technoscientific nationalism, infrastructures of development
  • Social and cultural history of science: the relations between science, religion and politics; science and literature
  • Languages, media, and publics of science: translation, print media, intellectual communities, 'popular'/vernacular science
  • Scientific literacy, science activism, citizen science
  • Historiography of global science and knowledge; Asia as method; the history of 'history of science'

Dissertations and essays previously supervised or co-supervised by Charu Singh

  • Between colonial and national science: the formative years of the Indian Science Congress
  • Science and Culture and its promotion of Meghnad Saha's vision for scientific practice in India
  • Career opportunity for whom? The Dufferin Fund's approach to traditional midwifery in British India, 1880–1920

Richard Staley

The history of the physical sciences (broadly construed) from the 19th century to the present, including in particular:

  • The relations between material, intellectual, social and cultural dimensions of science
  • Instruments and the material culture of science
  • Exhibitions, scientific congresses, and other approaches to (inter)nationalism in science
  • Science in the fin de siècle, science and modernity, science and literature
  • Physics and other disciplines; the relations between the physical and human sciences
  • Laboratory, observatory, field and infrastructural sciences
  • Climate change
  • Science and technology in the 20th century
  • Science and war
  • Aspects of the history of anthropology
  • Artificial intelligence

Dissertations previously supervised by Richard Staley

  • Is it all just 'blah, blah, blah'? Words in action: an analysis of language use at COP26
  • Rivers of scale: hydraulic models and developmental logics in mid-20th-century India
  • Becoming alternative: an investigation of Anglo-American print media and the cultural position of solar generated energy
  • The science of fatness in 20th-century America
  • Nova's Ark: existential threat, space colonization, and inevitable expansion, 1960–1980
  • The nuclear option: the role of nuclear energy in Britain's low-carbon future
  • Weather modification and climate modelling: Nile Blue and the Cold War geopolitics of science
  • Do cyborgs dream of customer fulfilment? Logistics and economics at RAND, 1946–1960
  • Case studies in the decolonisation of climate science
  • Winds of change: lessons from Clyde River on decolonisation and climate
  • The 1931 Maxwell centenary celebrations: 'the recognition he deserved'?
  • The Institute of Economic Affairs and the Tobacco Strategy: interrelations of climate science, market interests and debate in the 1990s

Jacob Stegenga

On leave in 2023–24

  • Philosophy of science: evidence, confirmation, explanation, causation, theory choice, formal methods, rationality, values in science
  • Philosophy of biology: evolutionary theory, units of selection, emergence
  • Philosophy of medicine: research methods, health and disease, psychiatry
  • Formal methods: confirmation theory, probability and statistics, social choice theory, Bayesianism
  • Sciences of sexual desire: evolutionary psychology, human nature, the concept of sexual desire, values in science, disorders of sexual desire

Dissertations previously supervised by Jacob Stegenga

  • 'The greatest medicine of all is teaching people how not to need it' (Hippocrates): relinquishing faith in pharmaceutical healthcare to rediscover good medicine
  • Ethical reflections on pre-natal screening for Down Syndrome
  • Medical incrementalism: How a focus on steady advances in medicine can explain progress and broaden confidence in the face of medical nihilism
  • Has there always been 'every conceivable type of person'? Homosexuality, natural kinds, and the sciences of sexual orientation
  • Restoring trust in pharmaceutical research: how conflict of interest management can aid in reaching this goal
  • Medicalisation and its discontents: philosophical theories of disease, fat activism, and the disease status of obesity
  • On off-label drug use: a critique of evidence-based medicine considering the realities of clinical practice
  • 'Black kidneys': the case for de-racialising kidney pathology
  • The role of a feminist critique in scientific and medical approaches to menstruation
  • Is the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale a good measuring instrument for research into depressive disorders?
  • Making causal inferences in medicine: statistical vs. mechanistic approaches
  • The use of mechanistic evidence for causal inference in biomedicine


Research Fellows, Teaching Associates and Affiliates

Salim Al-Gailani

History of medicine and the life sciences since 1800, including:

  • Maternity care and experiences of pregnancy and childbirth, including maternal and infant health and welfare in the 19th and 20th centuries
  • Reproductive technologies and medicine, birth control and abortion
  • History of surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology
  • History and politics of heredity/eugenics
  • History of anatomy, pathology and 'monstrosity'
  • Medical museums and their uses; material culture of medicine/life sciences and scientific collecting
  • Medicine and the public, including public health campaigns, health guides, patient-consumers, health and environmental activism
  • History of nutrition and nutritional guidelines, vitamins and health foods

Dissertations previously supervised by Salim Al-Gailani

  • The history of polio eradication campaigns in Pakistan
  • A history of obstetric anaesthesia in the late 19th and early 20th century
  • Resistance to and legacies of the Contagious Diseases Acts in British feminism, focusing on coverage in newspapers in the late 19th and early 20th century
  • An exploration of how the portrayal of Down Syndrome children was influenced by the characterisation of the condition in 1862
  • The presentation of the ICPD 1994 conference in the British media
  • Gender-bending: media, government and scientific concerns about chemicals and male fertility in late 20th-century Britain
  • 'A half-privileged class of young surgical adventurers': masculinities, medical men, and midwifery in the Carlisle controversy of 1827
  • Birth control for a 'bursting Britain': family planning and population control advocacy in the British press, 1966–1974
  • The Nestlé boycott and British breastfeeding, 1960s–1980s
  • Changing understandings of British caesarean sections: narratives of risk and choice
  • Vitamarketing: vitamins, British consumers, and the Second World War
  • From sin to sympathy: how letters to the editor changed the British national discourse on inebriety

Debby Banham

  • Early medieval medicine and related subjects
  • Intellectual and cultural history of early medieval England
  • Medieval Latin texts and language
  • Medieval manuscripts
  • Monastic sign language

Lewis Bremner

Global history of science, technology and medicine, including:

  • Transnational studies of science and technology
  • History of science, technology and medicine in Asia, especially East Asia
  • Histories of technological change in the 18th – 20th century
  • Science and technology in everyday life
  • Histories of pollution and environmentalism
  • Visual culture and the sciences
  • Citizen science
  • Science in the aftermath of the Second World War

Sara Caputo

  • Maritime worlds and maritime travel, 18th–19th century, esp. European navies
  • History of medicine, race, and Empire, 18th–19th century
  • European cartography, mapmaking and globemaking, 16th–19th century
  • History of 19th-century surveillance technologies
  • History of exploration and 'discovery'
  • Mediterranean history, 18th–19th century

Nathan Cofnas

  • Philosophy of biology
  • Evolution of morality
  • Moral psychology
  • Evolutionary psychology
  • Evolution and psychology of religion
  • Ethics (including metaethics and evolutionary debunking arguments)
  • Values in science/political bias in science

Michael Diamond-Hunter

  • Race and gender in science (especially in biology, biomedicine, public health, epidemiology and the social sciences)
  • Philosophy of biology (including populations, biological individuals)
  • Philosophy of the social sciences (including sociology, demography, general methodological concerns, measurement of socially salient categories, epistemology of social scientific instruments)
  • Values in science (concerns about minoritised groups and testing, group ontology, political adjudication of historical injustices, science communication, value-free ideal)
  • Political philosophy (as related to HPS and connections to race and/or gender)

Seb Falk

Medieval sciences, especially:

  • Medieval astronomy/astrology and mathematical sciences
  • Medieval and early-modern scientific instruments
  • Manuscripts, texts, diagrams and tables
  • Sciences in medieval literature, culture and religion; monasteries and universities
  • Reception of Greek and Arabic sciences in Christian Europe

Dissertations previously supervised by Seb Falk

  • Allegory or actual? Understanding popular animal representation in the late middle ages
  • Medieval music theory in Western and Byzantine sources
  • Lateran IV and medical practice: ecclesiastical regulation of surgery in 13th-century Europe

Matt Farr

  • Metaphysics of science (especially time, causation, modality)
  • Philosophy of physics (especially causality in physics)
  • General philosophy of science (especially explanation and laws of nature)
  • Philosophy of cognitive science (especially time perception and agency)

Dissertations previously supervised by Matt Farr

  • How should the metaphysics and ontology of the 'many-worlds' interpretation be understood?
  • The case for state intervention to reduce problem gambling
  • I is for interpretation: the compatibility of the ABC theories of time with quantum mechanics
  • Against the paradigm shift in autism science – a hybrid model of autism
  • Pan-dispositionalism, categoricalism, and the mixed view: a metametaphysical case study
  • Does quantum mechanics need interpretation? A pragmatic view of interpretations
  • What problems does quantum mechanics pose for scientific realism?
  • Do films do philosophy? AI in the movies
  • Realism and string theoretic dualities
  • Chomsky's historical criticism of physicalism: motivations, historical accuracy and philosophical prospects
  • The minds behind the madness: analysing the many minds interpretation of quantum mechanics
  • The philosophical uncertainty of the quantum vacuum: are quantum vacuum fluctuations 'creatio ex nihilo'?

Marina Frasca-Spada

History of the philosophy of science; 18th-century studies:

  • Topics in mainstream epistemology and philosophy of science
  • Classical topics in the history of the philosophy of science from Descartes to Kant
  • Text-based work on philosophy classics
  • Argument and persuasive strategies in the history of philosophy: rhetoric and style, philosophical writing and genres
  • Relations between 18th-century philosophy and literature: classical empiricism and the culture of sensibility
  • The history of the book in relation to philosophy and the sciences
  • Related topics in the history of education: learning, teaching and writing for Restoration Cambridge students and dons, or publication by/for women in the 18th century

Dissertations previously supervised by Marina Frasca-Spada

  • Kant's 'I Think': on the self and self-consciousness
  • Interpreting Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion
  • Kant's Second Analogy and Newtonian physics
  • The 'I' in language: from Descartes to Herder

Johan Gärdebo

  • American, European and Nordic history of concepts of nature, environment and climate, from the 19th century to the present
  • Political philosophy on state- and nation-building, from 19th century to present
  • History of technology, focusing on industrial transitions and on the evolution of data processing (from manual to automated data gathering) during the 20th century
  • Oral history projects, with a focus on interviewing actors within development studies, diplomatic history, and international technology transfers

Arthur Harris

  • Ancient Greek, Roman and Chinese science, mathematics and medicine
  • General philosophy of science

Boris Jardine

  • Scientific instruments (the instrument trade; early-modern mathematical instruments; history of the microscope)
  • The material culture of science (including scientific architecture)
  • 'Paper tools' and the scientific book
  • History of scientific collections
  • The history of modern Cambridge science (scientific sites and buildings; the rise of laboratory science; Cambridge collections)
  • Science and politics (science and left-wing politics; science and utopia; science and modernism)

Dissertations previously supervised by Boris Jardine

  • Skins, skeletons, show-cases and the science of life: organising Cambridge's bird room at the turn of the 20th century
  • Characterising collections: on the preservation of old scientific apparatus at the Cavendish Laboratory and the Whipple Museum, Cambridge

Nick Jardine

Historiography of the sciences, early-modern astronomy and cosmology, history of natural history, ideologies of science:

  • Historiography of the sciences: the founding fathers and mothers (Whewell, Duhem, Sarton, Koyré, Metzger, etc.); polemical uses of history of the sciences; problems of historical interpretation; anachronism; problems of historical explanation and narration; theories of social construction, network formation, mediated exchange of knowledge; cultural history of the sciences; history of science in relation to anthropology, history of the book, cultural geography; etc.
  • Early-modern astronomy and cosmology: the battle of the world-systems; the places of astronomy in early-modern culture; astronomical imagery; etc.
  • History of natural history: cabinets and museums; travelling and collecting; natural history and natural theology; popular natural history; curiosities and monstrosities; etc.
  • Ideologies of science: views on the social and political roles of the sciences, the 'two cultures' controversy, purity and disinterestedness of the sciences, unity of science, etc.

Dissertations previously supervised by Nick Jardine

  • The a priori in science and Wittgensteinian certainties
  • Rethinking the legacy of J.H. Woodger
  • What's in a name? Heroes and visions in Amazonian ethnobotany
  • Does commitment to aesthetic criteria for theory selection undermine the rationalist picture of scientific practice?
  • Totalising Galvanism: J.W. Ritter and F.W. Schelling's Romantic dialogue on the role of the individual phenomenon within a holistic
  • An educative discipline: Herbert Butterfield, The Origins of Modern Science and the permeability of disciplinary boundaries in Cambridge HPS, 1945–1965
  • Kant and Hume on the external world – the refutation of idealism: how far is Kant's answer satisfactory to the sceptic?
  • Ex epistulis Philippinensibus: Georg Joseph Kamel SJ (1661–1706) and his correspondence network
  • Naturgeschichte, Naturbeschreibung and the purposiveness of nature in Kant's critical and precritical writings

Peter Jones

  • History of medieval medicine and surgery
  • Medieval manuscripts and early printed books
  • Visualisation in medicine and science before 1600
  • Medicinal alchemy in the Middle Ages

Melanie Keene

  • History of popular science, especially 19th century
  • Science and literature
  • Science for children
  • History of education

Dissertations previously supervised by Melanie Keene

  • The promise of CRISPR: a rhetorical analysis of dominant metaphors in an emerging technology
  • Negretti & Zambra's scientific instruments: a new dimension to the Victorian culture of travel
  • How British children's conceptions of science changed throughout the 19th century, examined through a comparative analysis of early and late century periodicals
  • Literature and medicine: Sinclair Lewis's Arrowsmith (1925) as mirror, spotlight, beacon

Benedikt Löwe

  • Philosophy of mathematics
  • Studies of mathematical research practice using methods of the empirical social sciences
  • Metamathematical foundations of mathematics

Tom McClelland

  • Philosophy of cognitive science (consciousness; perception; action; selfhood)
  • Artificial intelligence (artificial consciousness; artificial creativity; ethics of AI)
  • Metaphysics of science (time; causation; structural realism)
  • Philosophy of medicine (medical ethics; philosophy of psychiatry)

Richard McKay

Histories of medicine, public health and sexuality since 1900, especially in North America and the UK, with a particular interest in:

  • Venereal disease / sexually transmitted infections
  • Epidemiology and socio-cultural responses to epidemics, including the search for origins
  • Visual communication of science and medicine
  • Historiographical ethics

Dissertations previously supervised by Richard McKay

  • Why after 40 years is there still no AIDS vaccine?
  • Geographies of sexual risk: reimagining migration through an analysis of sexual health research and clinical practice
  • The onto-mythology of essentialism in genetic research about homosexuality
  • Dental dams as a technology of safer sex: lesbians, AIDS and biopolitics
  • Public resistance to polio vaccination in Northern Nigeria
  • The prevention of malaria in colonial Sierra Leone
  • Should the oral polio vaccine theory of the origin of AIDS be considered 'refuted'?
  • 'Jazz, single-use syringes and AIDS' – representations of HIV/AIDS in Literaturnaya Gazeta in the late 1980s
  • Conflicts between indigenous healing and biomedicine: self-determination in health care and Canada's Indian Health Transfer Policy
  • Tensions in prevention: a history of PrEP in the United States
  • Reparative therapy for 'ego-dystonic homosexuality' in the late 20th century

Lukas Meier

  • Medical AI
  • Distributive justice in medicine
  • COVID and triage
  • Consciousness and coma
  • Thought experiments
  • Neurophilosophy
  • Algorithmic bias
  • Brain interventions (deep brain stimulation, neurosurgery, etc)
  • Decision-making in medicine
  • Death

Samuel Moore

  • Science publishing practices (peer review, authorship, bibliometrics)
  • Open science (data sharing, open access, open review, policy)
  • Ethical and political issues relating to research communication
  • Governance of knowledge production and associated infrastructures

Dissertations previously supervised by Samuel Moore

  • Textual practices and open access publishing

Elisabeth Moreau

  • Alchemy
  • Chemistry
  • Physiology

Dmitriy Myelnikov

  • History of biology and medicine since 1900, esp. genetics, molecular biology, microbiology
  • History of biotechnology
  • Animal history in biomedicine and agriculture
  • Science governance and funding post-1945
  • History of science communication, publishing and science-media relations
  • Life sciences and medicine in the Soviet Union
  • History of STM in Ukraine

Anna-Luna Post

  • Galileo
  • Dutch public science projects, e.g. draining the fens in the 17th century

Alexis Rider

  • History of the Earth sciences in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries
  • Environmental history, in particular focused on the cryosphere and hydrosphere
  • Climate science
  • The Anthropocene/Capitalocene
  • Constructing the planetary (via, and in contrast to, Earth Systems Science)
  • Deep time and geologic epistemologies (chronostratigraphy, climatostratigraphy, geochemistry, etc.)
  • The environmental humanities and interdisciplinary methods
  • Space and place in the history of science
  • Feminist science studies

Edwin Rose

  • Global history of natural history and the life sciences, c. 1660–1900
  • History of scientific books, publishing and communication c. 1660–1960, especially the reception, use and materiality of books and their integration with scientific practice
  • History of science and empire, especially Britain
  • History of collecting, information processing and its relationship with material culture in the life, earth and human sciences
  • History of institutions including museums, botanic gardens, universities and their approaches to collecting and relationships with private collections in the 18th and 19th centuries
  • The history of science in Cambridge, including material culture and collections, libraries, books and theories in the life, earth and physical sciences c. 1700–1960
  • History of scientific images in the 18th and 19th centuries
  • History of taxonomy and systematics in natural history

Simon Schaffer

  • Social history of physical sciences
  • History of experimental natural philosophy
  • Astronomical and navigational sciences between 1700 and 1900
  • Sociology of scientific knowledge

Dissertations previously supervised by Simon Schaffer

  • The political astronomy of Sawai Jai Singh
  • Newton in the garden: the politics of cultural sites, allegory and iconography
  • Negotiating responsibility: British intellectuals and the Indian famines of the late 19th century
  • Parafiction and the Human Cell Atlas
  • The medic in the machine: final and efficient causes in Hobbes and Descartes
  • A drop in the ocean? An argument for the importance of Irish place and space in George Gabriel Stokes's scientific practice
  • Automated magic: automata and early film at the Egyptian Hall, c.1875–1905
  • 'The impregnable foundations of geometry and arithmetick': Wren's architecture and mathematical science
  • Constructing policy relevance: authorship and lost knowledge in the context of the IPCC
  • The astronomer at the end of the world: communicating scientific authority in Camille Flammarion's fin de siècle fiction
  • The making of the Scottish mechanics' class: reinterpreting the Mechanics' Institutes
  • Observatories, data and cosmological conflict in public controversy over the Thirty Meter Telescope

Jeremy Schneider

History of early modern science (1400–1800), further including:

  • Earth sciences from antiquity to 1800
  • Fossils, earth history, deep time
  • Natural history and natural philosophy
  • Science and environment: conservation, biodiversity, extinction
  • Scientific images and visual practices
  • Artisanal epistemology, vernacular knowledge
  • Intellectual history: humanism and science, rhetoric and science, classical ideas
  • Material culture: objects, manuscripts, specimens
  • Any work that requires expertise in the following languages: German, Latin, French, Dutch, ancient Greek

Anne Secord

  • Natural history, 18th and 19th-century
  • History of scientific observation, 18th and 19th-century
  • Scientific personae

Dissertations previously supervised by Anne Secord

  • Radical observer: the travels of Joseph Beete Jukes
  • Erasmus Wilson's investigations of 19th-century skin
  • Birds of paradise and collecting Eden
  • Corresponding conviction: the establishment of authority in the letters of James Croll
  • Hooker and the Himalayas

Jim Secord

  • Social history of science since 1750, life and earth sciences
  • Public science from the French Revolution to the First World War, esp. in Britain, France and the United States: exhibitions, zoos, education, museums, scientific architecture, careers, textbooks, public lecturing, mechanics institutes, children's science, images of the scientist, government support for science, science in periodicals and newspapers
  • Scientific books, publishing and history of science communication (mostly British, 1790–1960): histories of individual firms (e.g. Cambridge University Press, Penguin), changing nature of authorship, history of the scientific article, history of scientific libraries, development of scientific periodicals, techniques for scientific illustration and other aspects of production
  • Science and literature, esp. Romantic and early Victorian: literary readings of scientific works, travel literature, science and the novel, autobiography
  • Religion and science in the 19th century: conversion experiences, denominational responses to science (e.g. early geology, astronomy, cosmology), Darwinian debates, atheism and science
  • History of earth sciences, 18th century to present: early theories of the earth, mineral collecting and prospecting, geological mapping, origins of geological timescale, debates about biblical flood, volcanoes, debates about uniformity and catastrophe, government surveys, oceanographic exploration, reception of continental drift, history of vertebrate and invertebrate palaeontology, history of public attitudes to geology
  • Imperialism and science (mostly 19th century): exploration, expeditions, surveys, botanical gardens, geological and natural history surveys, etc; science and race; science and public support for empire; imperial expositions and fairs; science, religion and empire, geography and empire

Dissertations previously supervised by Jim Secord

  • Attention, please! Recovering working-class audience experiences at popular science lectures in Britain, 1850–1900
  • The reception of Robert Young's 'Mind, Brain and Adaptation in the Nineteenth Century' (1970)
  • The races of cattle: acclimatization and classification between India and Britain
  • The constituency of reason: Michael Foster and science in parliamentary politics
  • Riding the Iguanodon to immortality: discovery in 19th-century geology
  • The rhetoric, media and literary culture of late 19th-century anti-vaccination campaign periodicals and publications
  • Michael Angelo Garvey's 'Silent Revolution': technology, education and the future from the post-1848 'moment'
  • Lost world fiction and the domestication of the dinosaur, 1880–1914
  • Thomas Carlyle and the 'hero as "man of science"' in the mechanical age
  • Looking up at the falling stars of 1866
  • 'The poetical character [...] is not itself – it has no self – it is everything and nothing – it has no character' (John Keats): science, poetry and poems in the writing of Humphry Davy

Liba Taub

History of scientific instruments and material culture of science; early (particularly ancient Greek and Roman) science:

  • Early (particularly ancient Greek and Roman) science
    • Especially physics, cosmology, astronomy, harmonics, meteorology, geography, ethnography, agriculture
    • Styles of communicating scientific ideas and methods
    • The engagement of 19th- and 20th-century scientists with the ancients (e.g. Erwin Schroedinger's Nature and the Greeks)
  • History of scientific instruments
    • Material culture of science, particularly focused on items held in the Whipple collection (over 7000 objects/possible topics!)
    • The provenance of items purchased by Robert Whipple himself

Dissertations previously supervised by Liba Taub

  • Tycho Brahe's architectural images of his observatories on the island of Hven
  • 'Materials for a history of science in Cambridge': meanings of collections in the 1944 scientific instrument exhibition at the University of Cambridge
  • Reconsidering the pseudo-Aristotelian Problems
  • Astrolabes in context: a reappraisal of medieval astronomical instruments
  • An early 19th-century 'museum microscope' and cultures of collecting
  • Natural history of sale: Maison Deyrolle and its role in the 19th-century natural history community
  • Pedagogy and translation of didactic verse in scientific/medical texts to and from the Islamicate world (9th–12th century)
  • A Korean astronomical screen at the Whipple Museum: parsing a composite cosmography
  • Physics demonstration apparatus in textbooks and trade literature
  • Making scientific women: practical chemistry instruction for women at Cambridge, 1890–1916
  • 'The knowledge of antiquity and the pursuit of new discoveries' in Edward Sherburne's The Sphere of Marcus Manilius Made an English Poem: with Annotations and an Astronomical Appendix (1675)