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Dissertation and essay supervisors

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.

Before you contact a potential supervisor, please read the advice about supervision in the appropriate students' guide. Supervisors' contact details can be found on Lookup.

You may find it helpful to search this page (Ctrl+F on Windows, ⌘F on Mac) for key words associated with the topics that interest you.

Teaching Officers

Anna Alexandrova

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

Mary Augusta Brazelton

On leave in Easter Term 2019

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
  • Colonial science and medicine
  • Medicine and biomedical research in the 20th century

Hasok Chang

On leave in 2018–19

Helen Curry

On leave in 2018–19

Marta Halina

On leave in Lent and Easter Terms 2019

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

Nick Hopwood

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

Stephen John

On leave in Easter Term 2019

  • 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)

Lauren Kassell

On leave in 2018–19

Tim Lewens

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

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

Simon Schaffer

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

Jim Secord

On leave in Michaelmas Term 2018 and Easter Term 2019

  • 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

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

Jacob Stegenga

On leave in 2018–19

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

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

Leah Astbury

History of early modern medicine, the family and gender:

  • Social history of medicine: domestic medicine, patient-practitioner encounters and maintaining health
  • Writing practices: life-writing (diaries, letters, commonplace books)
  • History of the body and gender
  • Childbirth: fertility, maternal and infant health

Shahar Avin

  • Science funding
  • Existential risk
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Social epistemology
  • Software projects, especially models (technical guidance)

Jenny Bangham

Histories of 20th-century biomedicine and human sciences, especially:

  • Genetics and genomics
  • Anthropology and race science
  • Laboratory biology, evolutionary biology
  • Popular science and scientific internationalism

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

Riana Betzler

  • Philosophy of psychology and cognitive science
  • Philosophy of biology
  • Philosophy of medicine (especially psychiatry)
  • General philosophy of science (especially values in science, feminist philosophy of science, natural kinds and classification)

Agnes Bolinska

  • General philosophy of science (especially scientific representation, abstraction and idealization, modelling, simulation, pluralism)
  • History and philosophy of 20th-century molecular biology
  • Philosophy of cognitive science (especially emotion, belief, concepts)
  • Philosophy of medicine
  • Biomedical ethics

Sarah Bull

History of medicine from 1800 to 1950, especially:

  • Medicine and print culture, including history of reading, publishing and bookselling, medical bibliography, medical libraries, medical journals
  • Other forms of media and medicine
  • Medicine and commerce (medical advertising; medical products)
  • Medical professionalisation
  • Sexuality and sexual health

Andrew Buskell

  • Philosophy of biology
  • Philosophy of psychology and cognitive science
  • General philosophy of science

Jeremy Butterfield

  • Philosophy of physics

Robbie Duschinsky

The history and sociology of psychological research and practice, including:

  • Psychoanalysis and child development
  • Gender and psychiatry
  • The sociology of psychiatry and psychology, especially classificatory practices
  • Social and political theory, affect and gender theory

Seb Falk

Medieval sciences, especially:

  • Medieval astronomy/astrology and mathematical sciences
  • 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

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)

Sietske Fransen

Early modern history of medicine and natural philosophy:

  • Language and translation
  • Circulation of ideas, books, objects and images
  • Visualisation of knowledge
  • History of manuscripts and printed books
  • Images in scientific communication

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

Jessica Hamel-Akré

History and philosophy of early modern and 18th-century medicine; gender and food abstinence:

  • Social history of 18th-century medicine
  • Medicine and literature (medical popularization and authority, letter writing, fiction, medical storytelling and folklore)
  • Gender, body history and women's health before the 1800s
  • Early modern science and religion (especially medical-religious collaborations, as well as medical conflicts with spiritual and supernatural knowledges of the body)
  • Philosophy of diet and appetite control, history of eating disorders and female fasting

Remco Heesen

Michaelmas Term only

  • Social epistemology of science (e.g. the credit economy, peer review, the division of cognitive labour)
  • Formal epistemology
  • Rational choice theory (decision theory, game theory, social choice theory)
  • Models of scientific communities (agent-based models, rational choice models, evolutionary models, network models)
  • Philosophy of economics, especially the role of models in economics

Milena Ivanova

  • Philosophy of science; history of philosophy of science
  • Scientific realism/instrumentalism
  • Conventionalism
  • Underdetermination and theory choice
  • A priori in science
  • Values in scientific practice
  • Aesthetics in science
  • Neo-Kantianism in philosophy of science
  • Pierre Duhem
  • Henri Poincare
  • Ernst Mach

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)

Nick Jardine

Historiography of the sciences, early-modern astronomy and cosmology, history of natural history, history of philosophy 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.
  • History of philosophy of science: Kant and the Kantian heritage; pragmatism

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

Sachiko Kusukawa

History of early modern natural philosophy, natural history, medicine and visualisation:

  • Observational practices, 1450–1750
  • The making and circulation of drawings, objects, printed images, 1450–1750
  • Illustrations in the Philosophical Transactions or licensed publications of the Royal Society
  • Concepts and uses of colour, 1450–1750
  • Natural history, 1450–1750

Yang Liu

  • Logic
  • Philosophy of probability
  • Rational choice

Sarah Marks

  • History of psychiatry, psychology and psychotherapy
  • Health policy and social movements
  • Science and medicine in Eastern Europe, Russia and the Soviet Union
  • Cold War science

Joseph Martin

  • History of modern physics (especially late 20th century)
  • History of American science
  • History of American technology
  • History of materials
  • Institutional history (especially patronage and funding)
  • Laboratory history
  • History of industrial research
  • History of university research
  • Historiography and historical methods (especially counterfactuals)
  • General philosophy of science (especially contingency and inevitability)
  • General philosophy of technology

Richard McKay

Dissertation supervision only

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

  • Venereal disease / sexually transmitted infections
  • Epidemiology and socio-cultural responses to epidemics
  • Visual communication of science and medicine

Joshua Nall

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

  • The roles and uses of scientific instruments and models in the modern physical sciences
  • History of astrophysics and astrobiology, 1860–1920
  • Museums, exhibitions and expositions in the fin de siècle
  • Popular science, media networks, scientific journalism, 1860–1920

Rune Nyrup

On leave in Lent Term 2019

  • General philosophy of science (especially explanatory reasoning/abduction, analogies, hypothesis generation, context of pursuit, context of discovery, values in science)
  • Scientific realism (including perspectivism, pragmatism, pluralism)
  • Philosophy of archaeology
  • Medical diagnosis
  • Ethics of artificial intelligence
  • Computer ethics

Brian Pitts

  • General philosophy of science, including realism and confirmation
  • History and philosophy of physics

Anne Secord

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

Karina Vold

  • Philosophy of mind
  • Philosophy of cognitive science
  • Situated cognition (embodied, embedded, enactive, extended views)
  • Intelligence augmentation and enhancement
  • Philosophy of neuroscience, neuroethics and neurolaw
  • Decision making and nudge theory
  • Moral psychology
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) and AI ethics

Paul White

  • Natural history, 18th–20th century
  • Biological sciences, 19th–20th century
  • Scientific persona and identity construction
  • Relations of science and literature
  • Gender and science
  • Travel and exploration
  • Science and religion
  • Science and the visual arts
  • Darwin/Darwinism/evolutionary theory
  • Emotions in science and medicine

Daniel Wilson

History of science and technology from c.1820 to the present:

  • Politics and critiques of technology
  • Sociology of science and technology
  • Digital technologies, cybernetics, AI
  • Science and technology in modern culture
  • Histories of statistics, number, risk and finance
  • Machines and political economy
  • Sciences of climate change and environmental history
  • Science and democracy