UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies is an interdisciplinary centre for the integrated study of science's history, philosophy, sociology, communication and policy, located in the heart of London. Founded in 1921. Award winning for teaching and research, plus for our public engagement programme. Rated as outstanding by students at every level.

At UCL, the academic mission is paramount. Our ambition is to achieve the highest standards in our teaching and research.

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Staff books include:

Agar - Science and Spectacle spacerAthena Swan Bronze Award

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STS news

STS research day 2016 is a success!

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2016 STS research day

A grand success

STS continues its annual series of Research Days, a forum where the STS community gathers to discuss the research we are undertaking. This fosters interdisciplinary connections and collaborations. It's a fabulous day for the community. 

UCL undergraduate student to give paper at the 4S 2016 conference

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Congratulations to UCL student Mr Michal Stevove, who will give a paper at the 2016 annual conference of the Society for the Social Studies of Science, in Barcelona this summer, in track 044 – By other means: On complementary and alternative medicines (CAM).

LGBT History Month 2016

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Book Launch at Cervantes Institute

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STS staff and students took part in a book launch and roundtable discussion at the Institute Cervantes in London on 4 February 2016.  The event, " Science Policy in the 20th Century in Spain ,Italy and Argentina " marked the publication of an edited collection Science Policies and Twentieth Century Dictatorships by Ashgate Publishing (recently acquired by Taylor & Francis Group).   The book is edited by Amparo Gómez and Antonio Canales, from the University of La Laguna, Spain, and Brian Balmer from the STS Department.   The contributions to the book discuss the different relationships between science and politics in three countries that suffered considerable political upheaval in the twentieth century.   The event was opened by STS’s head of department, Joe Cain and all three editors, together with one of the contributors, Francisco González from the University Complutense de Madrid, each gave short talks about the book. 

New book: Pre-Socratic Greek Science

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Gregory 2016 Anaximander A Reassessment

Professor Andrew Gregory has just published his work on Pre-Socratic Greek Science, titled:

Anaximander: A Re-assessment (link).

STS hosts Ancient Science Conference

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STS has hosted the 10th London Ancient Science Conference, an annual conference in London to discuss current research in the field.

Conference: Technology, Environment and Modern Britain

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Date: Wednesday 27 April 2016

Location: UCL Wilkins Garden Room

Organisers of the workshop are Jon Agar and Jacob Ward.

Radio 4 Today Programme Christmas Eve 2015 - Dr Jack Stilgoe

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Towards the end of 2015, the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee published their report on genetically modified insects. I had been asked to give evidence to the committee in October, not because I knew much about GM insects, but in order to help contextualise their report in previous debates about controversial emerging technologies. Their report, as such reports do, plucked some bits from what I said. But, if it hit some notes, it spectacularly missed the music. The committee’s chair, Lord Selborne, made some balanced comments at the press conference, but the report’s summary and its press release,as Sarah Hartley and I described here, demonstrated a level of blind support that even the scientists involved might be embarrassed by.

You can BANKS on it

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STS announces the award of an AHRC Research Networking Grant in which STS and the National Maritime Museum are the leading partners. 

Irena McCabe (1931-2015)

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STS sadly reports the death of one of our alumni, Dr Irena McCabe (1931-2015), who passed away on 23rd December 2015.

Three STSers publish in special journal issue

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STS is well represented in the latest issues of Studies on History and Philosophy of the Biological and Biomedical Sciences, including papers from a symposium on "Towards future archives and historiographies of ‘big biology’" (here).

Leonard Darwin and Evolutionary Theory

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Dr Norberto Serpente, STS Honorary Research Fellow, has published an article about the contribution of Leonard Darwin to evolutionary theory.

STS lecturer helps with 2015 books

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Did you hear STS's Dr Carina Fearnley on BBC Radio Wales this week?

She was taking part in Science Café. The show focused on their annual review of books in for Xmas.

Colourful work from STS's Simon Werrett

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Special Issue: “Early Modern Color Worlds”

STS's Dr Simon Werrett contributes an essay to a new special issue on the place of colour in early modern science and society. It has commonly been assumed that there were no colours in fireworks prior to the early nineteenth century. In “Fireworks and Color in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries” Werrett shows that this view has overlooked various colour recipes in early modern manuals on fireworks and the uses of colour in painted scenery, decorations and costumes used in early displays. Werrett explores the ingredients that were believed to add colour to fireworks, and the various social, alchemical and medical meanings of colour in early modern pyrotechnics. He also considers why this early modern “colour world” of fireworks was subsequently forgotten.

STS key to UCL Natural Sciences

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Natural Sciences logo

STS now offers two core streams in UCL's Natural Sciences degree

UCAS U80 CFG0 Natural Sciences BSc

PhD success! New discovery published

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Congratulations to Dr Hsiang-Fu Huang (STS PhD 2015) on the publication of a project resulting from a discovery made during his PhD thesis research. 

Book: Perfectly Correct

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Werrett 2015

Finding the Longitude

STS's Dr Simon Werrett contributes an essay to a new volume on the history of longitude and navigation out this month. In “'Perfectly Correct': Russian Navigators and the Royal Navy,” Werrett explores the history of Russian methods of finding position at sea, and Russian approaches to the discovery of the longitude at sea, one of the great scientific problems of the eighteenth century. The essay appears in Navigational Enterprises in Europe and its Empires, 1730–1850, edited by Rebekah Higgitt and Richard Dunn, and published by Palgrave Macmillan (link).

Stilgoe speaks to Parliament

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STS senior lecturer Dr Jack Stilgoe

STS senior lecturer Dr Jack Stilgoe was called as a witness to the House of Lords Science and Technology committee. The committee are currently conducting and inquiry into the use of genetically modified insects. 

Economics Prize for STS Lecturer Tiago Mata

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STS Lecturer Dr Tiago Mata has been awarded the Clarence Ayres Scholar prize for 2016 by The Association for Evolutionary Economics (AFEE). 

STS awarded BRONZE Athena SWAN

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STS has been awarded a BRONZE award by the Athena SWAN Equality Challenge Unit (link). The bronze award is a certification that STS is engaged in the pursuit of gender equity and has in place commendable practices towards that end. Receipt of this award fits into UCL's Equalities Strategy and is supported by research councils and other research funders across the UK.

Science in Public Conference

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A presentation by UCL STS PhD student Oliver Marsh has been picked as a “stand-out” of the 2015 Science In Public conference.  Hosted by the Science Communication Unit at the UWE, Bristol, the conference brought together around 80 researchers and practitioners for four workshops and 35 presentations dealing with many aspects of ‘science in public’ in its broadest sense.  Oliver’s presentation, entitled Billions and Billions of Likes: Understanding and Representing Online Science Enthusiasm, introduced and discussed various research considerations and methods for dealing with huge datasets produced by online social network sites.  The conference report can be found at https://www.pcst.co/newsitem/8 and a copy of Oliver’s presentation is hosted on https://sidewayslookatscience.wordpress.com/2015/07/10/resources-for-my-presentation-on-researching-large-social-media-sites-science-in-public-uwe-9th-10th-july-2015/ .

Summer Challenge Students 2015-16

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Summer Challenge image

Heroes, Villains and Invisibles

Congratulations to the 13 bright AS-Level students who graduated from this year’s STS Summer Challenge course, Heroes, Villains and Invisibles.

Techno-liberation workshop - video

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call for papers: Technology, Environment and Modern Britain

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Workshop in STS during April 2016

This is a call for papers for a workshop that will explore the intersections of history of technology and environmental history in modern British contexts. “It can be difficult to write environmental history without paying at least passing attention to technology”, noted Jeffrey K. Stine and Joel A. Tarr over a decade ago, in a ground-breaking survey article, “Conversely, it can also be difficult to write technological history without touching on some environmental element”. This entanglement has remained the case even as both historical specialties have explored an increasing diversity of technologies and environments. Yet it is also true to say that both specialties have taken different, perhaps more expansive, trajectories in the United States and continental Europe than in Britain, both as a location for writing and as a topic of study.

Restaging Chemistry

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Simon Werrett (UCL) and Marie Thébaud-Sorger (CNRS) ran an international collaborative workshop on Restaging Chemistry at UCL on Monday July 6, 2015. The project, funded by the Netherlands Scientific Research Organization (NWO) and the project Situating Chemistry 1760-1840 brought together historians, a theatre director, an artist and chemist from Britain and France to consider new directions in the practice of restaging experiments or practices from the history of chemistry. The participants, mostly from UCL and the Centre national de la recherche scientifique in Paris, explored issues such as the nature of past experiences of materials and how to reproduce them, the value of making practices in understanding materials, the uses of theatre and artistic performance for understanding history, and the problems of restaging practices or working with materials we may no longer believe in such as phlogiston or divining rods. Werrett and Thébaud-Sorger plan to develop a research funding bid based on the workshop to explore these issues further. The participants were

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