UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies is an interdisciplinary centre for the integrated study of science's history, philosophy, sociology, communication and policy, located in the heart of London. Founded in 1921. Award winning for teaching and research, plus for our public engagement programme. Rated as outstanding by students at every level.

At UCL, the academic mission is paramount. Our ambition is to achieve the highest standards in our teaching and research.

Join us for BSc, MSc, and PhD study.

Staff books include:

Tobin - Philosophy of Science

STS news

call for papers: Technology, Environment and Modern Britain

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Workshop in STS during April 2016

This is a call for papers for a workshop that will explore the intersections of history of technology and environmental history in modern British contexts. “It can be difficult to write environmental history without paying at least passing attention to technology”, noted Jeffrey K. Stine and Joel A. Tarr over a decade ago, in a ground-breaking survey article, “Conversely, it can also be difficult to write technological history without touching on some environmental element”. This entanglement has remained the case even as both historical specialties have explored an increasing diversity of technologies and environments. Yet it is also true to say that both specialties have taken different, perhaps more expansive, trajectories in the United States and continental Europe than in Britain, both as a location for writing and as a topic of study.

Restaging Chemistry

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Simon Werrett (UCL) and Marie Thébaud-Sorger (CNRS) ran an international collaborative workshop on Restaging Chemistry at UCL on Monday July 6, 2015. The project, funded by the Netherlands Scientific Research Organization (NWO) and the project Situating Chemistry 1760-1840 brought together historians, a theatre director, an artist and chemist from Britain and France to consider new directions in the practice of restaging experiments or practices from the history of chemistry. The participants, mostly from UCL and the Centre national de la recherche scientifique in Paris, explored issues such as the nature of past experiences of materials and how to reproduce them, the value of making practices in understanding materials, the uses of theatre and artistic performance for understanding history, and the problems of restaging practices or working with materials we may no longer believe in such as phlogiston or divining rods. Werrett and Thébaud-Sorger plan to develop a research funding bid based on the workshop to explore these issues further. The participants were

An Evening with the Planets

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Professor Steve Miller is organising a summer meeting for the UCL Centre for Planetary Sciences of short, public-orientated talks on planetary science on June 24 (6pm drinks, 6:30pm event, 8:00pm drinks) in the Marquee in the UCL Front Quad. Amongst other great things, our very own MSc student Minna Nygren and her colleague Catherine Kontz have composed a waltz for Pluto and Charon (Pluto's moon) to coincide with the arrival of NASA's New Horizon's spacecraft at Pluto; June 24th will be the premier of this musical piece.  Sounds like a wonderful evening.  

Newton on the Eye

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On Thursday June 11, Dr. Simon Werrett will be speaking on the subject of Isaac Newton’s time in London as Warden of the Mint and President of the Royal Society. The talk is part of the "32 Londoners" festival to be held on the London Eye at Southbank. 32 lectures will be happening inside the London Eye, each lasting for one rotation. The talks celebrate famous individuals who have had deep connections to London.

STS staff speak at the WHO

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On 21st May 2015, Prof. Brian Balmer and STS alumni, Dr Caitriona McLeish (University of Sussex), participated in the 88th Global Health Histories seminar at the World Health Organisation (WHO), Geneva.   They spoke about the research coming from their AHRC funded collaborative project, with Dr Alex Spelling (STS), on the history of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC).  The BWC is the treaty that outlaws the use of disease as a weapon of war and was negotiated in the late 1960s and early 1970s.   Their talk concentrated on the media coverage of biological weapons during this period and on the role of the WHO in providing expert advice to the negotiating process.  Dr Maurizio Barbeschi, Preparedness, Mass Gatherings and Deliberate Events Team, WHO also spoke about his experience of investigating allegations of chemical weapons use in Syria.  The event was attended by 40 WHO staff and interns and was scheduled to coincide with the 68th World Health Assembly meeting in Geneva.

Fully-funded PhD Studentship

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Following the award of a Collaborative Doctoral Partnership to us, with the Royal Society, full funding is available for a PhD degree at UCL on the topic of 

STS workshop on "scale" is big success

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The Department hosted a one-day workshop, “On Being the Right Size: Science, Technology and Scale” on Wednesday April 29, exploring issues of scale in science and technology studies. With contributions from scholars in Philosophy of Science, History of Science, Science Policy, Materials Science, Architecture, Photography and Science Communication the event presented a variety of perspectives on the question of scale.

STS PGTAs Shine at the Teaching and Learning Conference 2015

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PGTA T & L Conference

Current STS PhD students Elizabeth Jones and Harriet Lloyd received a strong reception at UCL’s recent Teaching and Learning conference https://www.ucl.ac.uk/calt/events/tlconference15.   Speaking as part of a session bringing together innovative teaching practices across UCL, Hattie and Liz focused on their experiences of being PGTAs (Post-Graduate Teaching Assistants) on the department’s first year module HPSC1008 Fundamentals of Science Communication  http://www.ucl.ac.uk/sts/study/hpsc/2014-15_syllabi/HPSC1008_Module_syllabus_2014-15.  Led this year by STS tutors Karen Bultitude and Steve Miller, this interdisciplinary course provides an introduction to key concepts in science communication, and is open to students from a wide range of disciplines including human sciences, chemical engineering and of course our own STS cohort.

STS Invited to the UN in Geneva

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In the Department of Science & Technology Studies, Brian Balmer, Professor of Science Policy Studies, and Alex Spelling, Research Associate in Cold War History, are working on a project:  ‘Understanding Biological Disarmament: The Historical Context of the Biological Weapons Convention’, in conjunction with STS alum (1996) Dr CaitrÍona McLeish at the Science Policy Research Unit - University of Sussex, and the Harvard-Sussex Programme. The three year project overlaps with the 40th anniversary of the Biological and Toxins Weapons Convention (known as the BWC) entering into force on 26th March 1975. From this date, biological warfare was banned under international law. The anniversary is of particular significance as the BWC has been called the world’s first genuine multilateral disarmament treaty: it prohibited an entire class of weapons from development, production and possession, rather than merely limiting or preventing nations acquiring certain weapons or provisions relating to use. Review conferences for members have been held every five years since it entered into force and work continues from Geneva to strengthen and develop its provisions.

London Ancient Science Conference

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The London Ancient Science Conference, run from STS@UCL by Prof. Gregory has received a British Society for the History of Science Strategic Conference Grant for the next two years.

Toxic World

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STS first year PhD Student, Alex Mankoo, has won a competitive award to attend the 8th European Spring School on History Of Science And Popularization.  This year’s theme is “Living In A Toxic World  (1800-2000), Experts, Activism, Industry And Regulation”  and will be held at Maó (Menorca), 14-16 May 2015.   There will be talks by a number of experts on all aspects of the history of toxic environments, as well as poster and workshop sessions on the same theme. Alex’s doctoral research is on the history tear gas, which fits well with the general theme of the Spring school.  

Science Communication Careers Event for STS Students

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4 March 2015 STS MSc students were joined from professionals from science communication to learn more about potential careers. 

New book: Politics of Geoengineering

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Stilgoe 2015 Experiment Earth

Congratulations to Jack Stilgoe on the publication of his new book:

Jack Stilgoe 2015 Experiment Earth: Responsible Innovation in Geoengineering

Student article on science funding

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Congrats STS MSc student Dewi Safari for publishing a commentary in The Jakarta Globe for publishing a commentary on the need to boost science funding in Indonesia (link).

Students Organise BSHS Postgraduate Conference 2015

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The BSHS Postgraduate Conference was held at UCL on 7-9 January 2015, organised by postgraduate students in UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies. 

Prof Frank James elected

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STS congratulates Professor Frank James on his election as Membre Effectif (full member) to the Académie Internationale d’Histoire des Sciences. He was previously a Membre Correspondant.

STS research seminars Term 2 announced

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We are delighted to announce the STSUCL seminars for next term. These will all take place in Darwin B15, starting at 4:30pm, with tea and coffee available from 4pm.

STS's Stilgoe speaks to Parliament

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Stilgoe speaks at House of Parliament

STS includes experts in science policy and public engagement who influence policy makers in the real world. In this video, Dr Jack Stilgoe (one of our lecturers) delivers testimony to the UK House of Parliament's Committee on Science and Technology.

CFP: Philosophy of Information workshop

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This is a call for proposals for the Seventh Workshop on the Philosophy of Information

“Conceptual challenges of data in science and technology”

RRI in Rome

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Stilgoe RRI in Rome

RRI Hub goes to Rome

Following the launch of UCL's Hub for responsible research and innovation, housed in Science and Technology Studies, Melanie Smallman and Jack Stilgoe attended a conference on responsible research and innovation hosted by the Italian government as part of the Italian presidency of the European Union. Jack Stilgoe gave the keynote talk on "why responsible research and innovation matters" at the start of the meeting, which also featured Stefania Giannini, the Italian science minister and the new Commissioner for Research Innovation and Science, Carlos Moedas.

Fireworks, with Simon Werrett

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It’s that time of the year again, and historian Simon Werrett has been presenting on fireworks in various places this week. 

STS PhD student on the BBC Breakfast Show

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Steph Ratcliffe on BBCresized

PhD student Steph Ratcliffe was interviewed on BBC Breakfast this morning.

Yesterday a video was released showing a women being catcalled over 100 times in one day. Steph went on BBC breakfast to talk about her reaction to the video and her work with the Good Night Out campaign which works with venues across the UK to prevent sexual harassment on nights out. More info about their good work is available here: www.goodnightoutcampaign.org

A Clichéd History of Computing

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This Wednesday, 22nd October, the STS seminar will be given by Dr James Sumner and will be titled 'A Clichéd History of Computing. Tea and coffee will be served from 4.00pm in Darwin B15, with the seminar starting at 4.30.

Eugenics at UCL: We inherited Galton

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This film features STS's Dr Carole Reeves discussing Francis Galton and the legacy of his racial eugenics. It also features UCL students doing what we like best: asking questions, engaging issues, and working to make a difference.

STS Seminars Confirmed

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STS are pleased to be confirm the first installments for the year of our ever-popular seminar series.

Getting things underway this year will be Prof Albert Weale of the UCL School of Public Policy who will be talking about 'The Presumption of NICE, or What Is in a Policy Paradigm when It Comes to Health Care.' The seminar will take place on Wednesday 8 Oct in B15 in UCL's Darwin building (PLEASE NOTE the change of room from previous years). Tea and Coffee will be available from 4pm, with the talk beginning at 4:30pm.

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UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS)
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