Science and Technology Studies


History of Science

History of Science is a research cluster in the UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS).

The History of Science research cluster has a common interest in how knowledge, and the practices it has entailed, shaped and was shaped by past societies. Scientific ‘knowledge’ is understood very broadly to include systematic understanding of the natural and human world together with the technologies and material objects that enable, represent and embody such knowledge. We hold that there is a rich variety of routes to scientific knowledge that can be found in the past and make the present. Our goal is to recover, understand and communicate this variety. Ours is a crossroads subject, and we will always be learning from cognate specialties and disciplines.

Members of our History of Science cluster believe there is a vital purpose to our work. Understanding of past science not only illuminates past cultures as a good in itself, but also offers challenges, critique or support to conversations of the present. We aim to shape the present by representing the past empathetically. We aim to surprise. We uncover the stories of past actors that have been neglected, and we reinterpret the figures we thought we knew well. We do this research to offer new ways of thinking about present and past science, to strengthen or challenge identities in contemporary communities, to remind us of what was once possible and may frame action again.

Core History of Science Staff

  1. Professor Jon Agar
  2. Professor Joe Cain
  3. Professor Andrew Gregory
  4. Professor Frank James
  5. Professor Simon Werrett (cluster lead)
  6. Dr Jenny Bulstrode
  7. Dr Cristiano Turbil
  8. Dr Maria Kiladi

Our cluster also includes our PhD students researching the history of science in addition to research and teaching fellows

Funded Projects

Current and recently funded projects within the department are listed below, along with the names of the relevant staff involved:

Humphry Davy's Notebooks: How Poetry Helped Create Scientific Knowledge (James)

Joseph Banks, Science, Culture and the Remaking of the Indo-Pacific World (Werrett)

Popularizing Palaeontology: Current and Historical Perspectives (Cain)

The Historical Context of the Origins of the Biological Weapons Convention (Balmer)


Reading Group

STS operates several reading groups. One focuses on History of Science in a broad sense. For information about joining the group, please contact Professor Jon Agar, who manages access.