UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies


Au, Yin Chung

Contact: yin.au.11 (at) ucl.ac.uk

A note

This page is to be updated whenever something new or interesting comes up. Also, its layout is not guaranteed to be the same for all time. It is subject to unpredictability, just like the person it describes.

So if you do not find it fun enough at the moment, perhaps you will – on your next visit.


Research Plan

My current supervisory team are Dr Joe Cain and Dr Chiara Ambrosio.

I work on epistemology of visual reasoning in contemporary life sciences. A preliminary title of my plan is “Mapping Apoptosis:
exploring imagery as a communication format in the late twentieth
century life sciences.”. Through looking into the converting process
from microscopic raw data to schematic diagrams, I try to explore the
roles of imagery in conceptualisation of cell mechanisms between the
late 20th century and the first decade of 21st century. Sciences
that are highly relevant to visual thinking count as an important
part of my references. For example, as I am developing a
map-landscape metaphor to analogise the relationship between diagram
and raw data, I survey the functions of visual language in geology
and cartography.

Part of my work is an extension from Norberto Serpente's PhD thesis. I am testing his introduction of art theory to this field. My planned case study centres around the history of knowing apoptosis (also known as “programmed cell death”, PCD), which has led to a profound explosion of biomedical knowledge, from bench to bedside.

[image reference is broken]

Academic Backgrounds

Before I started my PhD I received a BA in history (concentrating on politics and rituals in Medieval Imperial China, especially Tang Dynasty), an MS in physiology (concentrating on human gastroenterology at cellular and molecular levels), and an MSc in history of science (with a dissertation on history of a simulation technique in chemistry). Other scientific backgrounds include (a) laboratory work experiences in biomedical experimentation, (b) courses taken in veterinary science, and (c) qualified trainings in biochemical techniques. I have also worked at a science communication centre, where my responsibilities were knowledge management and policy research. One of my achievements at that position was a draft Green paper for science communication policy in Taiwan.


My academic publications earlier than 2008 are all biology-related. Recent works relevant to history and philosophy of science are as below:

• 2011. “A Renaissance in New Places: A Story of Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationships (QSAR).” 8th Annual Junior Scholar Conference and Paper Competition, Chinese Society for History of Science and Technology. Xining, China.

* Won Second Prize (First Prize not awarded)

• 2010. “Seeing is communicating: possible roles of Med-Art in communicating contemporary scientific process with the general public in digital age.” 15th Biannual Meeting of the European Association of Museums for the History of Medical Sciences. Copenhagen.

• 2010. “Knowledge management as the infrastructure for Science Communication industry: a Taiwan initiative”--The 3rd Cross-Strait Symposium on Popularisation of Science. Tao-Yuan.

• 2010. “Overlap and Cross over: exploring visual representations as boundary objects between science and the public from science communication perspective.“—The 4th Annual Conference for Science Communication, Taipei.