I am a historian of science who studies the environmental and life sciences, the physical and earth sciences, and geographical exploration. My current research topics are the history of coral reef science, the history of underwater listening, and the history of Polynesian explanations for the origin of the islands in the Pacific. My first book, Darwin’s Evolving Identity, was published in 2018 by the University of Chicago Press. You can find more information about it here.
My primary appointment is as Senior Research Fellow in the Program on Science, Technology & Society at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
Since June 2019, I have also been Historian of the Life Sciences at the Center for Humanities & History of Modern Biology at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. In addition to being a major site for biomedical research, CSHL holds extensive historical collections in the library and archives. I encourage humanities scholars at any career stage to consider applying for one of our visiting fellowships.
After completing my Ph.D. (Princeton) in History of Science in 2009, I held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution, worked for the Darwin Correspondence Project, and taught as a lecturer in history of science at Harvard University. From 2012 to 2018, I was Assistant Professor of History at Vanderbilt University. My research has taken me to archives and field sites on several continents; you will find photos from my travels throughout these pages and several photo essays here.
My writing has appeared in Science and Nature, in Cabinet magazine, and in a number of other academic journals and books. Find more information on my publications here.
About the banner photo: Cocos (Keeling) Islands in 2016, a view from inside the lagoon of the south atoll eastward to the Indian Ocean.
About the inset photo: Tahiti in 2016, looking across to the neighboring island of Moorea. (I write about this view in chapter 4 of Darwin’s Evolving Identity.)