BSHS Council

Council is the elected governing body of the BSHS. It consists of five Officers and nine Ordinary Members, who meet three times a year to discuss and approve Society business. Terms of office are as laid out in the Policies and Procedures (available to members by a request to the [email protected].) Nominations for successors to outgoing members of Council are sought from the whole membership each spring; new members of Council are elected at an Extraordinary General Meeting, held in the summer of each year and open to all BSHS members.

This page lists the members of the Society’s governing Council and other committees.

Officers of Council

Dr Tim Boon
Dr Tim BoonPresident
Tim Boon, Head of Research & Public History for the Science Museum Group, is a historian and curator of the public culture of science. His published research (the books Films of Fact (2008) and Material Culture and Electronic Sound (co-edited with Frode Weium, 2013) and more than 30 papers) is mainly concerned with the history of science in documentary films, television, museums and, latterly, music. He is currently writing a book on the public culture of 20thc. science. He has contributed to the exhibitions Health Matters (1994), Making the Modern World (2000) and Oramics to Electronica (2011). In 2016-18 he was Visiting Cheney Fellow in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Culture at the University of Leeds. Arising from his historical research and his curatorial practice, he has developed strong interests in the public history of science, technology, engineering and medicine. He has acted as Principal- or Co-Investigator on several research projects on behalf of the Science Museum. More broadly, he is responsible for developing the Museum’s research and public history programme, and has oversight of the Science Museums & Archives AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Partnership. He was previously on BSHS Council in 1997-2000 and 2008-2012, and is currently a member of the AHRC Advisory Board.
Professor Charlotte Sleigh
Professor Charlotte SleighVice-President
Charlotte Sleigh is Professor in the Science Humanities at the University of Kent. Charlotte’s research interests encompass the life sciences over the past 150 years, with an on-going emphasis on animals – her books on this topic are Ant, (Reaktion, 2003); Six Legs Better: A Cultural History of Myrmecology (Johns Hopkins, 2007); Frog, (Reaktion, 2012); Cosmopolitan Animals (co-editor, Palgrave, 2015) and The Paper Zoo (British Library/Chicago, 2016). Besides this, she has written widely on the historical and textual relationships between science and writing (Literature and Science, Palgrave 2010) and twentieth-century history (Scientific Governance in Britain, 1914-79, MUP 2016, co-edited with Don Leggett). She is editor of the British Journal for the History of Science. More recently, Charlotte has begun to develop her long-standing interest in science communication, co-founding a successful Masters programme in the subject at Kent (2008) and curating the science/art project Chain Reaction which showed in 2013. Her recent projects include a co-edited collection on twentieth-century science in Britain, an AHRC-funded Art and Science project (Metamorphoses) and a monograph on literature and science in the interwar period with the working title Engineering Fiction. She is Director of the Kent Centre for the History of the Sciences and has supervised a number of PhD students on a wide variety of topics.
Dr Rebekah Higgitt
Dr Rebekah HiggittTreasurer
Rebekah Higgitt is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Kent. She received her PhD from Imperial College London in 2004 and undertook postdoctoral research at the University of Edinburgh on the history and geography of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. Between 2008 and 2013 she was Curator of the History of Science at the National Maritime Museum and Royal Observatory Greenwich. Her research, writing and public engagement activities have focused broadly on the relationship between science and society in 17th-19th-century Britain. This has included work on scientific biography, the material culture of science and its display in museums, and the relationship between science and government. She was a Co-​Investigator on an AHRC project on the Board of Longitude (2010-15) and is currently Principal Investigator on a Leverhulme project on cultures of knowledge and practice in London, 1600-1800. Her publications​ include Recreating Newton (2007) and Finding Longitude (2014), with Richard Dunn.
Dr Chiara Ambrosio
Dr Chiara AmbrosioHonorary Secretary
Chiara Ambrosio is a Lecturer in History and Philosophy of Science at the Department of Science and Technology Studies (UCL). Her research focuses on representation across art and science, with a specific focus on nineteenth and twentieth century visual culture. Her published works combine philosophical accounts of representation with historical investigations into particular modes of image-making, such as diagrams and photographs, and the debates around their epistemological status at the turn of the century. The conceptual framework underpinning her research draws substantially on the pragmatist philosophy of Charles S. Peirce, and she is currently working on Peirce’s history and historiography of science.
Dr Amanda Rees
Dr Amanda ReesEditor of BJHS
Amanda Rees, Reader in Sociology at the University of York, is a historian of science primarily interested in the history of the field sciences, of human/animal relationships and of the future. Her published research, from 2009’s The Infanticide Controversy: the Art of Field Science to 2019’s forthcoming edition of Osiris, Presenting Futures Past: Science Fiction and the History of Science (co-edited with Iwan Rhys Morus), reflect these broad-ranging interests. She has previously edited various journal special issues, including the second volume of BJHS THEMES (Animal Agents, 2017), and has also written widely for the popular press. She has just completed the AHRC-funded project Unsettling Scientific Stories, with colleagues at the Universities of Aberystwyth and Newcastle, is an academic adviser to the Science Museum’s forthcoming global exhibition, Science Fiction and the Human Imagination, and has acted as consultant to the Royal Society’s Science Policy Advisory committee on innovative models for science and public engagement.

Ordinary Members of Council

Professor Pratik Chakrabarti
Professor Pratik ChakrabartiUniversity of Manchester
Pratik Chakrabarti (Chair in History of Science and Medicine, Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, University of Manchester) has contributed widely to the history of science, medicine, and global and imperial history, spanning South Asian, Caribbean and Atlantic history from the eighteenth to the twentieth century. His current future research is in the convergence of histories of science, environment, human antiquity, and deep history. He has recently completed his new research monograph, Inscriptions of Nature: Geology and the Sciences of Antiquity. The book investigates the discovery of the geological past of Indian subcontinent in its philological, anthropological and cultural dimensions and its links with Indian antiquity. He has published four sole-authored research monographs on history of science and medicine. These are Western Science in Modern India: Metropolitan Methods, Colonial Practices (2004); Materials and Medicine: Trade, Conquest and Therapeutics in the Eighteenth Century (2010); Bacteriology in British India: Laboratory Medicine and the Tropics (2012) and Medicine and Empire, 1600-1960 (2014). In addition, he has published numerous research articles in leading international journals on history of science, medicine and imperialism, as well as chapters in edited volumes. He was also one of the editors of the journal Social History of Medicine (OUP).
Dr Isabelle Charmantier
Dr Isabelle CharmantierLinnean Society of London
Isabelle Charmantier is Head of Collections at the Linnean Society of London. Isabelle acquired a PhD in History of Science from the University of Sheffield (2008). Her post-doc at the University of Exeter (2009-2013) focused on the writing technologies of the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778). While retraining as an archivist, she was employed by the Linnean Society of London to catalogue Linnaeus’s manuscripts. After 18 months as Collections Manager at the Freshwater Biological Association, she came back to work at the Linnean Society. Her research interests include the history of ornithology, botany and natural history in general from the 16th to the 18th century, as well as the history of writing technologies. She has written numerous research articles on the subject.
Dr Sabine Clarke
Dr Sabine ClarkeUniversity of York
Sabine Clarke has a PhD in the history of science from the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at Imperial College. After completing her doctorate she was awarded a Wellcome Trust Fellowship which she undertook at the University of Oxford, before moving to the University of York where she is currently Lecturer in Modern History. Her research is concerned with the rise of scientific research as an activity deemed central to science by government and business and she has explored the relationship between research and colonial development in the British Empire after 1940. Her book, Science at the End of Empire: Experts and the Development of the British Caribbean, 1940-1962 is published by MUP later this year. She is currently working on the history of insecticides in Britain’s tropical empire.
Dr Rohan Deb Roy
Dr Rohan Deb RoyUniversity of Reading
Rohan Deb Roy, Lecturer in South Asian History at the University of Reading, is a historian of colonial science, medicine and environment. He is the author of Malarial Subjects: Empire, Medicine and Non-humans in British India (Cambridge University Press, 2017), and the co-editor of Locating the Medical: Explorations in South Asian History (Oxford University Press, 2018). He co-edited the special section ‘Nonhuman Empires’ (2015) for the journal Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East. He received the joint second prize at the 2018 BSHS John Pickstone prize (for Malarial Subjects). He received his PhD from University College London, and held postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Cambridge and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. He has also served as a Barnard-Columbia Weiss International Visiting Scholar in the History of Science. His public engagement essay, ‘Decolonise science’, appeared at The Conversation, and has been republished widely: 4S Sydney (Australia); The Wire, Scroll, Quartz (India); The Citizen (South Africa); Brainfactor (Italy), The Independent (UK) and The Smithsonian Magazine (US). He has organised nine conferences on themes related to the history of science and medicine. Currently, he is the book reviews editor of the Routledge journal South Asian History and Culture, a fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society, a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, a fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and Co-Director of the Centre for Health Humanities at Reading.
Dr Louisiane Ferlier
Dr Louisiane FerlierRoyal Society
Louisiane Ferlier, Digital Resources Manager at the Centre for the History of Science at the Royal Society. In her current role she facilitates research collaborations with the Royal Society collections, curates digital and physical exhibitions, as well as augmenting its portfolio of digital assets. An historian of ideas by training, her research investigates the material and intellectual circulation of ideas in the 17th and 18th centuries. She has published on a variety of subjects: an intellectual biography of pamphleteer and mathematician George Keith (Itinéraire dans la Dissidence, 2016), various articles on mathematician and decipherer John Wallis, the Bodleian Library and cross-Atlantic circulation of books. Her current interests centre around the development of digital tools to support the history of science and especially improving access to early mathematical collections.
Dr Elizabeth Haines
Dr Elizabeth HainesScience Museum / University of Bristol
Elizabeth Haines is a Research Fellow in History at the University of Bristol. She is a historian of colonial cartography and land rights in Southern Africa. She is also engaged in a variety of projects on heritage collections and public participation in history, including work with the Science Museum Group; Bristol Archives; National Museums Kenya; and the Royal Academy of Fine Art, Antwerp. She has previously worked on public engagement with research through radio, theatre and film. She has also been a member of the BSHS Outreach and Engagement Committee since 2012, and Chair since 2017.
Jemma Houghton
Jemma HoughtonUniversity of Manchester
Jemma Houghton is a PhD candidate at the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at the University of Manchester. Her research explores the changing role and perceptions of plants in British pharmacy following the rise of synthetic drugs during the beginning of the twentieth-century. Jemma attained her Master’s degree in the History of Science, Technology and Medicine and her undergraduate degree in Biology with Science and Society with Industrial/Professional Experience at the same university. Her Master’s thesis examined materia medica education in Britain during the late nineteenth-century, with particular consideration towards the differences between metropolitan and provincial institutions. She also works with museum collections as a volunteer at the Manchester Museum and has been involved in a range of public engagement activities, both with the museum and elsewhere.
Dr Sadiah Qureshi
Dr Sadiah QureshiUniversity of Birmingham
Sadiah Qureshi is a Senior lecturer in Modern History at the University of Birmingham. She joined in 2011 after a completing her education and postdoctoral research at the University of Cambridge. At the broadest level, she is interested in modern histories of race, science and empire. Her first book, Peoples on Parade: Exhibitions, Empire and Anthropology in Nineteenth-Century Britain (Chicago, 2011) explored the importance of displayed peoples for histories of race and the emergence of anthropology. It was joint-winner of Sonya Rudikoff Award for best first book published in Victorian Studies in 2011 (awarded 2013). In 2012, the Leverhulme Trust awarded her a Philip Leverhulme Prize for Medieval, Early Modern and Modern History in recognition of her outstanding and internationally recognised research. She is currently working on Vanished: Episodes in the History of Extinction for Allen Lane, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
Professor Rob Iliffe
Professor Rob IliffeUniversity of Oxford
Robert Iliffe is currently Professor of History of Science at the University of Oxford and co-editor of Annals of Science. Previously he was director of the AHRC Newton Papers Project from 1999-2015 and has been a General Editor of the Newton Project since 1998. He has published widely on the history of Early Modern/ Enlightenment science, especially on the work of Isaac Newton, and a monograph on Newton’s religious work, entitled Priest of Nature was published by Oxford University Press in 2017.
Dr James Sumner
Dr James SumnerUniversity of Manchester
James Sumner is Senior Lecturer in the History of Technology at the University of Manchester. His research ranges widely across the histories of applied science and technology, including computing and IT, technical education, industrial science, and the history and heritage of Manchester and its universities. He has a strong interest in public engagement, and has delivered over 50 public and general-audience events including talks, discussion sessions and guided tours, often working with local audiences in Manchester. He collaborates regularly on research supervision and public activities with colleagues at the Science and Industry Museum and other institutions. He previously served on Council from 2002 to 2005, and is a current member of the Outreach and Engagement Committee.

Advisory Members of Council

  • Conferences Committee Chair: Dr Adam Mosley, University of Swansea
  • Communications Officer: Nicola Sugden, University of Manchester
  • Viewpoint Editor: Hazel Blair, University of Lausanne
  • Archivist: Rebecca Fallas, University of Leeds

Executive Secretary

  • Society administration in general is dealt with on a paid basis by the Executive Secretary, who plays a crucial role in the running of the Council, and attends its meetings.
  • The Executive Secretary also supports the work of the Committees as appropriate.
  • Contact: [email protected]

Complete list of BSHS presidents

Details of previous BSHS committees are archived here: 2014-152013-142012-13 | 2011-12 | 2010-11 | 2009-10 | 2008-9 | 2007-8 | 2006-7 | 2005-6 | 2004-5 | 2003-4 | 2002-3