Fields of Research

The Program in History of Science, Technology, and Medicine at Minnesota offers comprehensive opportunities for advanced research and study in history of the physical sciences, the biological sciences, technology, and medicine. Within these areas, students are encouraged to make use of the perspectives and methods of intellectual, institutional, social, economic, and cultural history.  The program has special strengths in the history of science, technology, and medicine in North America and Europe, but students have the opportunity to study other geographic areas as well.

In the history of the physical sciences, the faculty's interests span the period from the Scientific Revolution of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries through the twentieth century. Their specific research areas include mechanics, optics, and astronomy through the nineteenth century; chemistry, relativity, quantum physics, and nuclear physics in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; the relation of art and science, and the institutional history of the modern physical sciences.

In the history of the biological sciences, the faculty's interests cover a broad range of topics from the late 18th century through the 20th. These include genetics, evolutionary biology, ecology, systematics, paleontology, natural history, museums, exploration, biology and gender, biology and ideology, biology and the state, biology in the schools and universities, social Darwinism and eugenics, and environmentalism and conservation biology.

In the history of technology, the faculty's interests span the 'modern' period, and include the history of industrialization, military technology, information technologies, and engineering. Specific research programs center on the nature of technological change; the interactions of technology and culture; and the history of information technology. The faculty takes a broad view of technology, and is interested in its connection to larger historical themes, such as the transition to modernity, post-industrialism, and globalization.

In the history of medicine, the faculty's interests span the period from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. Their interests include the evolution of theories of health and disease, the place of medicine in the Scientific Revolution, therapeutics and health care practices, the history of institutions for the care of the sick and injured, the development of the medical profession, the history of disease and epidemics, epidemiology and public health.

The University's excellent departments of History, Philosophy, Rhetoric, and American Studies as well as the Center for Science, Technology and Public Policy and the Center for Bioethics offer related activities and courses. (See Links and Related Programs)