Department Name Centre for History and Philosophy of Science, Technology and Medicine
Institution Name University of Aberdeen

Departmental Information

Department Profile The history, philosophy and ethics of science, technology and medicine are taught at Aberdeen in association with various departments (notably, but not exclusively, History, Philosophy and English) and coordinated within the College of Arts and Social Science’s Centre for History and Philosophy of Science, Technology and Medicine (CHPSTM). CHPSTM, which works closely with the Centre for Cultural History, approaches the development of scientific cultures in an interdisciplinary manner, integrating perspectives from philosophy, history, anthropology, sociology, literature, film, art history, religion, and science. Within the History department, history of technology, science popularization, and literature and science are areas of significant research strength. History also has close links with the School of Life Sciences and Medicine, and with its Centre for Medical Humanities. The Philosophy department at Aberdeen has particular strengths in early modern natural philosophy, modern history and philosophy of physics, and issues of representation, explanation and metaphor in modern biology. The University’s libraries have excellent collections for research in the history of science, technology and medicine from the early modern period to the present day; there are extensive local manuscript resources; and the Marischal Museum and other sites provide further resources for students of material culture. The University has a fine Natural Philosophy collection comprising instruments associated with the teaching of natural philosophy at Aberdeen from the eighteenth century to the present day.
Faculty Teaching Staff Guido Bacciagaluppi, Jenny Downes, Tony Heywood, Hazel Hutchison, Catherine Jones, Ben Marsden, William Naphy, Ralph O’Connor, John Reid (honorary), David Smith, Greg Smithers, Ulrich Stegmann, Catherine Wilson
Areas of Expertise Cultural history of nineteenth century science and technology; Philosophy of science and technology; History and philosophy of modern physics, especially quantum mechanics; History and philosophy of medicine; Medical ethics; History of plague; Twentieth-century nutrition; Literature and science, in the 19th and early 20th centuries; The history of geology, especially in popular discourse; The material culture of anatomy, death and disease; Railway history, especially in Russia; The history of scientific instruments.
Special Resources Large manuscript collections ranging from the thirteenth-century Aberdeen Bestiary (also available on-line) through the archives of Thomas Reid to records of local societies and industries; Strong collections of science books and periodicals from seventeenth century to the present day; Nineteenth-century medical pamphlets; Marischal Museum; anatomical museum; Medico-Chirurgical Society; Collection of scientific instruments in the Natural Philosophy collection and at Marischal Museum.

Course & Degrees

Undergraduate Courses History MA; Natural Philosophy MA; Philosophy MA; Physics and Philosophy MA; Physics with Philosophy BSc
Undergraduate Units Modules on: Philosophy of Science; History and Philosophy of Science I; History and Philosophy of Science II; Science and Religion; Literature and Science; Tools of Empire; Cultural History of Medicine; History of Medicine for Medical Students; Philosophy of Time; Philosophy of Physics; Cultures of Victorian Science and Technology; Medicine in the Twentieth Century; Philosophy of Biology; Genes, Brains, and Evolution; Mental Representation.
Taught Postgraduate Courses MLitt in History and Philosophy of Science
Postgraduate Units Modules on: Writing the History of Science; Researching History and Philosophy of Science; Nutrition in the Twentieth Century; Narratives of Nature; Witchcraft; Enlightenment in Comparison; Recent Topics in Philosophy of Science and Biology.
Research Degrees MPhil; PhD

Contact Details

Contact Name Dr Ben Marsden, Director CHPSTM
Postal Address

History Department,
School of Divinity,
History and Philosophy,
University of Aberdeen,
Crombie Annexe,
Meston Walk,
Aberdeen AB24 3FX,
United Kingdom

Phone +44 (0)1224 272637
Fax +44 (0) 1224 272203
Email [email protected]