Science and Technology Studies


STS offers degrees at each university level: undergraduate, masters, and PhD


Dr Emma Tobin

Senior Lecturer

Dept of Science & Technology Studies

Faculty of Maths & Physical Sciences

Joined UCL
1st Sep 2010

Research summary

Emma's research interests are in the metaphysics of science; natural kinds, laws of nature and causation. Her current research is on natural kinds in biology and chemistry. Emma is interested in classification at the interface of a number of disciplines including biochemistry, evolutionary biochemistry, molecular biology, structural biology and astrobiology. She is particularly interested in the scientific classification of biomolecules and protein classification in particular and the problems that arise for classification in the context of biological complexity. Her other interests in the philosophy of science include include laws of nature, reductionism, scientific explanation and causation.

Teaching summary

HPSC1003/HPSC0005 Philosophy of Science

HPSC2022 Philosophy of Social Science

HPSC2003 Topics in Philosophy of Science

HPSC2007 History and Philosophy of Chemistry (with Catherine Jackson)

HPSC3022 Special Topics in STS (A): Topics in the Philosophy of Biology and Chemistry with MOO8 Advanced Philosophy of Science

HPSC3030/HPSC0050 Philosophy of Natural Science

Tutor on HPSCGA01 - Introduction to Historical Social and Philosophical Studies of Science, Medicine and Technology

HPSCGA28/HPSC0085 Knowledge Explanation and Classification


Emma joined STS in October 2010. Previously, she was a postdoctoral research fellow on the AHRC Metaphysics of Science Project. She joined the Philosophy Department in Bristol in October 2006. After completing her B.A. in University College Dublin, Emma completed a Ph.D. at Trinity College Dublin, funded by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences. She was also a visiting student at the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at Cambridge from May–August 2005, where she worked with Professor Peter Lipton. She was awarded her Ph.D. entitled ‘On the Disunity of the Sciences and Ceteris Paribus Laws’ in March 2006, examined by Prof. Stephen Mumford. (Ph.D. Abstract). Emma worked on an AHRC sponsored project on the Metaphysics of Science as a postdoctoral research fellow based in Bristol working with Alexander Bird from 2006-2010. More about the Metaphysics of Science Project