Science and Technology Studies


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

Dr Jean-Baptiste Gouyon

Dr Jean-Baptiste Gouyon

Associate Professor

Dept of Science & Technology Studies

Faculty of Maths & Physical Sciences

Joined UCL
6th Jan 2014

Research summary

Jean-Baptiste Gouyon is an Associate Professor in Science communication. 

Jean-Baptiste is the author of BBC Wildlife Documentaries in the Age of Attenborough, published in 2019 (Palgrave). The book traces the history of wildlife television in Britain from the beginnings of TV in 1936 to the first decade of the 21st Century. It revolves around the figure of David Attenborough whose influence on wildlife broadcasting in Britain has been epoch-making, and looks at the relationship between wildlife television and the life sciences, mostly zoology and ethology. 

More broadly, Jean-Baptiste’s research is in the history of the presentation of science in visual media. In addition to wildlife TV, he’s also published on the history of British science television as well as on the history of the Science Museum.

His research rests mostly on the study of archival material (documents and films) as well as on oral history interviews with television science producers past and present. He notably produced a series of 17 oral history interviews with past producers and editors of the BBC science series Horizon, as part of his ongoing exploration of the history of this series.

Research interests:

  • Science communication as practice
  • History of science communication 
  • Science in visual media (film, television, museum)
  • Sociology of the life sciences
  • History of the life sciences
  • Human and non-human animals
  • Actor-Network Theory

Teaching summary

Jean-Baptiste's teaching is mostly about the theories and practices of science communication, with a focus on science journalism. But he also lectures on broader themes related to the sociology of science as well as methodological issues involved in conducting research on science communication and the sociology of science.

Jean-Baptiste supervises dissertation at all levels: undergraduate, Masters and PhD. 

Modules taught in the academic year 2022-23: 

HPSC0153 - science communication in a global perspective

HPSC0107 - Science Journalism (level 6 course [UG])

HPSC0122 - Science Journalism (level 7 course [MSc])


University College London
Other Postgraduate qualification (including professional), ATQ03 - Recognised by the HEA as a Fellow | 2016
University of York
Doctorate, Doctorat | 2010
University of York
Other Postgraduate qualification (including professional), ATQ02 - Recognised by the HEA as an Associate Fellow | 2009
Universite Denis Diderot (Paris VII)
Other higher degree, Diplome d'etudes approfondies | 2000
Universite de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines
Other higher degree, Maitrise | 1998


I was born in France in the mid-1970s and grew up between Normandy, Bordeaux and Paris. I first had a stint at Medical Studies but quickly found out that it was not for me. I then trained as a biologist, graduating just before the Human Genome project reached completion. After graduating, I turned to science journalism, working for three years as a trainee writer in popular science magazines for children, Science & Vie Junior and Science & Vie Découverte. At the same time I took a DEA (Advanced Studies Diploma) in the Epistemology and History of Science and Technology, under the supervision of Jean Gayon (1949-2018), at the University of Paris 7. 

All this came to a momentary halt when I could not further delay my national service, for which I spent a year and a half living and working in Oslo (Norway), as deputy science and technology attache at the Embassy of France--which may sound grander than it really is. Since this stay I've kept a deep attachment to Norway.

Back in France I worked for three years mostly as a science journalist, with papers published in La Recherche, Science & Vie, Les Cahiers de Science & Vie. After a while, though, I got frustrated at constantly changing topics, with never a chance of going down the rabbit hole. So, encouraged by Jean Gayon, I started looking for PhD studentships in the UK. I eventually obtained one from the department of Sociology at the University of York. After four lovely years there, supervised by Dr Amanda Rees, I spent two years and half in Berlin, on the back of a one year Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, in Lorraine Daston's department. 

Living in Berlin was fun. I remember fondly walking in the woods, around the lakes, and in the colony gardens. But eventually, I got back to Britain, as a Research Fellow at the Science Museum in London, working with Tim Boon on a great project comparing displays of science at the museum with television science programmes, funded by the AHRC. After a short but fascinating Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of  Kent, looking at the art-science relationship as part of Charlotte Sleigh's project ChainReaction! to mark the 30th anniversary of the PCR machine, I began teaching at UCL's department of Science and Technology Studies, which quickly felt like finally reaching home.