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UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies

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Research Cluster: History of Science

The History of Science research cluster has a common interest in how knowledge, and the practices it has entailed, shaped and was shaped by past societies. Scientific ‘knowledge’ is understood very broadly to include systematic understanding of the natural and human world together with the technologies and material objects that enable, represent and embody such knowledge. We hold that there is a rich variety of routes to scientific knowledge that can be found in the past and make the present. Our goal is to recover, understand and communicate this variety. Ours is a crossroads subject, and we will always be learning from cognate specialties and disciplines.

The members of the History of Science cluster believe that there is a vital purpose to our work. Understanding of past science can not only illuminate past cultures as a good in itself, but can also be deployed to challenge, critique or support the conversations of the present. We aim to shape the present by representing the past empathetically. We aim to surprise. We uncover the stories of past actors that have been neglected, and we reinterpret the figures we thought we knew well. We do this research to offer new ways of thinking about present and past science, to strengthen or challenge identities in contemporary communities, to remind us of what was once possible and may frame action again.

Key Staff

  1. Professor Jon Agar (cluster lead)
  2. Professor Joe Cain
  3. Professor Andrew Gregory
  4. Professor Frank James
  5. Dr William MacLehose
  6. Dr Simon Werrett

This also includes teaching and research fellows, and our PhD students. 

Research environment

To come.

Funded Projects

Current and recently funded projects within the department are listed below, along with the names of the relevant staff involved:

• History of the Biological Weapons Convention [Brian Balmer and Alex Spelling]

• Materials History [Simon Werrett]