UCL Mathematical & Physical Sciences


Science & Technology Studies

Research case study: biological disarmament

A new project led by Prof Brian Balmer, and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, aims to explore the history of biological weapons control.

Funded for three years, the project will examine the context and policies surrounding the Biological Weapons Convention. The treaty, which entered into force in 1975, was the first ever weapons control treaty to entirely prohibit an entire class of weapons.
The 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention followed a similar model.

Prof Balmer’s project will be run in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Sussex’s Science and Technology Policy Research (SPRU).

Research case study: Dinosaurs in south London

Prof Joe Cain has carried out extensive research into the history of the famous Victorian dinosaur statues in Crystal Palace Park. His work reveals that, far from being scientific reconstructions, they are works of art, in which the sculpture was able to take extensive liberties in the way he represented them.

Cain has also become closely involved with the efforts to restore and preserve the statues, and is a board member of the Friends of Crystal Palace Dinosaurs.

Research case study: Evaluating Evidence in Medicine (EEiM)

EEiM is an international consortium of researchers currently undertaking a three-year collaborative project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research council. Led by Professor Jon Williamson at the University of Kent, it is jointly led at UCL by Dr. Phyllis Illari and Dr. Brendan Clarke within the Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS).

Now entering its second year, the project examines the many facets of Evidence-based Medicine (EBM) with the aim of improving the way in which EBM handles evidence of mechanisms. EEiM seeks to understand how to evaluate mechanistic evidence alongside statistical evidence, and how to use both together to make stronger medical decisions.

This project is based in a number of institutions. These include:

  • The Centre for Reasoning at the University of Kent: Christian Wallmann, Michael Wilde, Jon Williamson.
  • The Department of Science and Technology Studies at University College London (UCL): Brendan Clarke, Charlie Norell, Donald Gillies, Phyllis Illari.
  • The department of Philosophy at the University of Amsterdam (UvA): Federica Russo.
  • The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE): Beth Shaw.
  • The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC): Kurt Straif.
  • The Institute of Public Health at Cambridge University: Mike Kelly.
  • The Medical School at Leiden University: Jan Vandenbroucke.