Graduate Students of the Program in History of Science

Current Students and ABDs

Alumni of the Program

First Year

Second Year

Sultana Banulescu [email]

Daniel Bouk [email] (B.S. Michigan State - mathematics) Dan's interests draw from problems in environmental history, the history of the U.S. in the 20th century, and the history of biology -- particularly the history of ecology. He plans to investigate the roles scientists play in public debates over topics in agriculture and public health.

Third Year

Renee Raphael [email] (B.A. Harvard University) Renee plans to study Renaissance humanism and its interaction with emerging empiricism. She is especially interested in examining the effects that developments in science and technology and the discovery of the New World had on the relationship between the two intellectual traditions.

Donna Sy
[email] (B.A., B.S. Stanford University; M.A. Univ. California, Berkeley) Donna is Interested in 17th-century European scientific and medical publishing, especially in the Elzevirs and their associates, the origins of the printed scientific/medical anthology, and associated processes of textual canonization in the early modern period.

Fourth Year

Alistair Sponsel [email] (B.A. (History), B.S. (Biology) Indiana; MSc Imperial College, London) Alistair studies the history of modern science. He is interested in the history of experiment and of science training, especially with respect to life sciences in the twentieth century.

Jeris Stueland Yruma [email] (B.A., B.S. Michigan State) Jeris studies twentieth century physics and technology. She is especially interested in the relationships between science and government in late-twentieth century America.

Doogab Yi [email] (B.S., M.A. Seoul University) Doogab's research focuses on the history of biomedical research in the twentieth century. His dissertation looks at the development of recombinant DNA technologies in the context of ongoing research in biochemistry, molecular biology, and microbiology in the 1960s and 1970s. His other research interests include the history of biotechnology and the commercialization of biology in the last half of the twentieth century.

Fifth Year

James S. Byrne [email] (B.A. Columbia) James studies medieval natural philosophy, mathematics, and logic with a focus on thirteenth and fourteenth-century scholasticism. He seeks to understand what might be called ?scholastic science? within the wider context of the scholastic system. In particular, he is interested in the application of logical and mathematical techniques to various natural and theological subjects.

John P. DiMoia [email] (B.A., M.Ed. Temple; M.A. Georgetown) studies technical exchange between the United States and the nations of East Asia--the two Koreas, Japan, and China--in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. His dissertation looks at the transformation of biomedicine and the physical sciences in South Korea, as American models began to supplant Japanese practice after 1945 and 1953. Related interests include efforts to track the origins of a North Korean scientific community, Russian & Soviet science, and recent stem-cell research in South Korea.

Catherine Nisbett [email] (B.A. Grinnell)

Nicholas S. Popper [email] (B.A. Haverford) Nick studies how the techniques of Renaissance humanism contributed to the Scientific Revolution, and how methodologies of reading were applied to experience in the early modern period. He is focused on Tudor and Stuart England, investigating the relationship between scholarly information and political power. He also has an interest in how humanists depicted the histories of ancient cultures including Greece, Rome, Egypt and the Near East.


Joe Conley [email] (B.A. Univ. of Pennsylvania; MSc Imperial College, London) Joe is interested in American environmental history, 20th century U.S. history, and the history of biology. His dissertation will explore the response of American business to the modern environmental movement, with a focus on theuse of public relations, advertising, and science. It will investigate the origins and development of the backlash against environmentalism that emerged as a powerful political force in the 1980s.

Ole Molvig [email] (B.A. University of Wisconsin, Physics, Astronomy, and History of Science, 1998.) In his dissertation, "From Kosmogonie to Kosmologie: Defining and Debating the Study of the Universe, 1900 - 1930," he examines early-twentieth-century approaches to the origin and structure of the physical universe before and after Einstein's theory of General Relativity.He emphasizes how the practice of the universe's study changed from one of geo- astrophysics to theoretical physics, and what these changes meant to Europe's scientific and popular audiences.

Tania Munz
[email] (B.A. Univ. of Chicago, M.A. Univ. of Minnesota) works on the history of animal behavior. In particular, she's interested in studies of lower organisms and the history of ethology.

Jane Holt Murphy
[email] (B.A., Yale, Mathematics and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations) is interested in Islamicate and European science.Her current project is a study of the encounter between Cairene and Ottoman scientific communities and the French savants who accompanied Napoleon's troops in the occupation of Egypt, 1798-1801. This project examines the relationship of rationality, scientific experiment and state and social authority in these two cultural milieus.

Carla S. Nappi [email] (A.B. Harvard (Paleobiology), A.M. Harvard U. (History of Science) works on the history and philosophy of early modern Chinese natural history, with a particular interest in worms and other creepy-crawlies. Her dissertation looks at the historical epistemology of knowledge of natural objects and their metamorphoses in Ming and early Qing China. Other research interests include the philosophy of language, the history of cookbooks, riddles, and classifications of nature and genre in premodern societies, and stuff. She can also recite the entire McDonald’s Big Mac song in under 60 seconds.

Joseph November [email] (B.A., Hamilton College; M.A., University of Chicago) studies how computer technology has transformed the life sciences since the mid-20th century. He is particularly interested in the role played by computers in the development of molecular biology.

Rebecca Press Schwartz
[email] (B.A. Case Western Reserve University, Physics and History of Science, 1998) Rebecca is working on an as-yet-untitled dissertation about the cultural history of the Manhattan Project. The window into this is the Smyth Report, the official history of the Manhattan Project. By examining the stories that it tells, and those that it doesn't, she tries to get at a broader range of experiences of working on the Manhattan Project than those in the standard histories of the Project. Among these unsung (or at least less-sung) individuals are the technical workers, engineers, and Army officers who worked with the better-known physicists.

Manfred Dietrich Laubichler [email] (M.S. University of Vienna, Austria - 1991, zoology; Ph.D. Yale Univerity - 1997, biology; M.A. Princeton University - 1998, history) works on topics in the history of biology and on conceptual and mathematical problems in evolutionary developmental biology. His thesis is devoted to the history of theoretical biology. He is also affiliated with the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science as a vistiting scholar.

Jakub Novak [email] Jakub Novák is interested in how evolutionary theory and biological, especially morphological, practice were integrated in nineteenth-century biology. His dissertation focuses on the role of an object of study, butterflies, in the work of three scientists, Alfred Wallace, August Weismann, and Theodor Eimer.

Gail Schmitt [email] (A.B. Biology, Vassar College) Gail's central interests are in history of twentieth-century plant biology, genetics, and cell biology, and history of women in science. I am also interested in the history of twentieth-century Europe.

Matt Wisnioski [email] (B.S. Johns Hopkins, Materials Science & History of Science) Matt has a general fascination with all aspects of the history of science, though he is most interested in 19th and 20th century physical sciences and technology. Matt likes to think about questions of how technology and theory interact, and how culture and society shape science and vice-versa.