Cain, Joe

Head of Department, and
Professor of History and Philosophy of Biology

Prof Cain's research interests include the history of evolutionary studies (especially the synthesis period in evolutionary studies), Darwin and Darwinism, history of science in London, and history of natural history.

Publications via UCL's IRIS service (link)

0207 679 3041 (UK)
+442076793041 (intl)
Twitter: @profjoecain

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HPSC2018 History of Life Sciences

This course provides information about the module. Students enrolled in the course use UCL Moodle.

essential information

  • link - UCL common timetable for room information
  • link - syllabus for 2012-13 - the session just past - indicative of the activities in the module
  • link - Moodle page - password required
  • Prof Joe Cain - module tutor

module description

A historical survey of the biological sciences from the Enlightenment to the present. What are the major themes? Why do ideas and methods change so dramatically? This survey includes scientific theories, methods, and people. It also ties activities in biology to context. How does science relate to events elsewhere in society?

module promotion



one 3,000-word essay (50%)
one 3-hour exam (50%)

required texts for the course

No textbook is set; required readings are set throughout the course


No prerequisites, students must be 2nd or 3rd year standing.
Students outside STS are welcome. 

student comments from 2012-13

These comments are from the course evaluations written by students at the end of the Term. These are anonymous. The numerical feedback is here.

An interesting look at the history of life sciences - well taught, engaging and most importantly - enjoyable. 

Page last modified on 01 aug 13 09:13 by Joe Cain

Professor Joe Cain
UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies