15 December 2022: The new Cambridge History of the Pacific Ocean has been published online (print edition to follow in 2023). I am honored that my essay “Atolls, Experiments, and the Origin of Islands: Science as a Way of Knowing the Pacific since 1766” is among the contributions to these two remarkable volumes.
17-20 November 2022: Attended the annual meeting of the History of Science Society in Chicago and gave a talk entitled “‘Unsurpassed Concentration’: Competing Visions of Science in Efforts to Promote Cambridge, UK as a Biotechnology Cluster.”
25-27 July 2022: Attended a conference at the University of Cambridge held in celebration of the completion of the Darwin Correspondence Project and gave a talk entitled “Scientific Correspondence as a Medium for Mentorship.”
21-23 July 2022: Presented a talk in Belfast at the annual meeting of the British Society for the History of Science on recent visions of Cambridge, UK as a site for high-technology businesses.
8-9 April 2022: Attended the Joint Atlantic Seminar in History of Biology, hosted by MIT and Harvard.
24 March 2022: Contributed a poster presentation, “Brenner as a Commentator on Biotechnology, from Cambridge to the Courtroom,” with coauthor Antoinette Sutto, to the conference “Celebrating the Life and Science of Sydney Brenner” at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
10 December 2021: Met with Stefan Pukatzki’s class at CUNY to discuss the history of molecular biology.
20 November 2022: Served as commentator for the session “Maritime Cultures and the Translation of Scientific Knowledge” at the annual History of Science Society conference.
16-19 November 2022: Attended the annual meeting of the Pacific History Association (hosted virtually by the the University of the South Pacific, Suva).
15 September 2021: I have started a new job as lecturer in history at Tufts University. I also continue as the historian of the life sciences at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
13-15 July 2021: Attended the biennial meeting of the International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology. I organized and spoke in a panel about the historical collections at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
2 July 2021: I was the featured guest on the latest episode of the Ocean Matters podcast.
13 November 2020: Delivered a public lecture in the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences festival “Darwin Days.” Video of the presentation is available here.
4-5 September 2020: Attended the first annual Graduate Research in STS conference at the Harvard Kennedy School.
12-14 August 2020: Attended this year’s Science & Democracy Network annual meeting, for which I was a local organizing committee member.
1 July 2020: My colleagues and I are delighted to announce that the CSHL Center for Humanities has been awarded a substantial grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for an initiative called “Oral Histories of Biology, Medicine, and Pandemic Response.”
15 June 2020: My book Darwin’s Evolving Identity is the topic of an essay review by Piers Hale in the latest issue of Isis, the journal of the History of Science Society.
1 March 2020: I have been appointed Senior Research Fellow in the Program on Science, Technology & Society at Harvard. I also continue as the historian of the life sciences at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
5-6 December 2019: Attended the “New Earth Histories” conference at University of New South Wales, Sydney, and presented a paper, “Imperial ambitions and colonial organisms: how coral reefs have been valued across times and cultures.”
4 December 2019: Presented the paper “Siamese Fighting Fish and Humans as ‘Correlated’ Experimental Systems in Early LSD-based Schizophrenia Research” at the Australian and New Zealand Society for the History of Medicine in Auckland.
1-3 December 2019: In Blenheim, on the South Island of Aotearoa New Zealand, to attend the “Encounters & Exchanges” conference organized by the University of Otago. I presented a paper, “Beneath Tupaia’s map: Polynesian and European explanations for the origins of Pacific islands, 1770-1850.”
11 November 2019: Visited Franklin & Marshall College and gave a presentation to environmental history students there.
7-8 November 2019: Visited the Melbern G. Glasscock Center for Humanities Research at Texas A&M University to attend the “Oceanic Humanities” symposium and give a talk, “Barriers and guardians: A brief history of ideas and emotions about coral reefs.”
24-27 July 2019: Attended the annual meeting of the History of Science Society in Utrecht, Netherlands.
3 June 2019: Today I start a new position as historian at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. For more information on the lab’s history and on the extensive historical collections in the CSHL library and archives, please click here.
1-2 May 2019: Delivered the inaugural Lyell Distinguished Lecture at Georgia Southern University, entitled “Between Newton and Darwin: Charles Lyell’s Vision of a Modern Science,” and also presented on my research in progress in GSU’s Department of Geology and Geography.
30 March 2019: Attended the 54th annual Joint Atlantic Seminar in History of Biology, held at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.
27 February 2019: See the latest reviews of Darwin’s Evolving Identity here.
1-4 November 2018: Attended the annual meeting of the History of Science Society in Seattle and gave a talk, “Theory, Observation, and Discipline: The Funafuti Expeditions as Crucial Experiments?”
27-28 October 2018: Attended the annual North American Conference on British Studies in Providence, Rhode Island.
27 September 2018: Visited the department of history at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and gave a talk, “Darwin’s Evolving Identity.”
14-17 September 2018: Attended the joint meeting of the European Society for the History of Science and the British Society for the History of Science in London.
27 April 2018: Served as a discussant at a workshop on The Cultural History of the Sea organized by Jonathan Lamb (Vanderbilt University) and Margaret Cohen (Stanford University).
24 April 2018: Darwin’s Evolving Identity has been released in the UK by the University of Chicago Press.
23 April 2018: Delivered a talk at Oxford University’s history department, “How Darwin Learned to Theorize.”
21 March 2018: My book Darwin’s Evolving Identity has been released in the USA by the University of Chicago Press.
23-29 July 2017: Attended the 25th International Congress on the History of Science and Technology in Rio de Janeiro and delivered a talk, “Hearing, Fearing, and Exploiting the Unfamiliar Sounds of the 1940s.”
16-21 July 2017: Attended the biennial meeting of the International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology in São Paulo, Brazil and delivered a talk, “The symbiosis between studies of nuclear weapons and studies of coral reefs, 1946-1977.”
22 June 2017: Excursion on the Ecuadorean volcano Chimborazo.
15-20 June 2017: Excursion through the Galápagos Islands.
23 May 2017: Awarded a Research Scholar Fellowship by Vanderbilt University to support the project “Coral Reefs from Western and Nonwestern Perspectives.”
7-8 April 2017: Hosted and co-organized the annual Southern History of Science and Technology (SoHoST) conference in Nashville, Tennessee.
29 March 2017: My essay “Pacific Islands and the Problem of Theorizing: The U.S. Exploring Expedition from Fieldwork to Publication” has been published in Soundings and Crossings: Doing Science at Sea, 1800-1970, edited by Katharine Anderson and Helen M Rozwadowski.
24-25 March 2017: Delivered a talk, “Darwin’s Use of Species Diversity as an Indicator of Geographical Change,” at the workshop “Biodiversity and its Histories,” organized by Helen Anne Curry and Paul White at the University of Cambridge Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities.
20-22 March 2017: Excursion to Kinnordy House in Kirriemuir, Scotland, to do research on manuscripts held by the family of nineteenth-century geologist Charles Lyell.
3-6 November 2016: Attended the annual meeting of the History of Science Society in Atlanta and spoke in the roundtable session “History of Science and Environmental History,” which I co-organized with Lukas Rieppel (Brown University).
15-19 August 2016: Excursion to One Tree Island Research Station on the Great Barrier Reef.
13-15 August 2016: Excursion to Heron Island Research Station on the Great Barrier Reef.
12 August 2016: Spoke at the “Arts, Science, Oceans” event organized by the Sydney Environment Institute.
5-10 August 2016: Excursion to the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. The southern atoll of Cocos was visited by H.M.S. Beagle in 1836. I took photos for my forthcoming book to illustrate Charles Darwin’s research on this reef.
4 August 2016: Visited the GeoQuEST Research Centre at the University of Wollongong and delivered a talk, “An Amphibious Being: Charles Darwin’s Debt to Marine Science.”
2 August 2016: Visited the Geocoastal Research Group at the University of Sydney and delivered a talk, “An Amphibious Being: Charles Darwin’s Debt to Marine Science.”
31 July 2016: Excursion aboard the voyaging canoe S/V Moana between Viti Levu and Malolo islands, Fiji.
19-24 June 2016: Attended the quadrennial International Coral Reef Symposium in Honolulu, Hawai’i (and did some research at the Hawaiian Historical Society library and visited the Marine Education Training Center of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and Honolulu Community College).
10 June 2016: My article, “An Amphibious Being: How Maritime Surveying Reshaped Darwin’s Approach to Natural History,” has just been published in Isis.
21 May 2016: Excursion to Tetiaroa Atoll.
17-20 May 2016: In residence at the Gump South Pacific Research Station at Moorea, French Polynesia.
30 April – 13 May 2016: Aboard cargo ship Aranui 5 for a voyage from Papeete, Tahiti to Takapoto Atoll, the Marquesas Islands, Rangiroa Atoll, and Bora Bora. I delivered a series of lectures for other passengers on the days at sea.
12 April 2016: Jennifer Fay and I led a discussion of Louis Malle’s 1956 film about Jacques-Yves Cousteau and the crew of Calypso, Le Monde du Silence, as part of the Vanderbilt International Lens film series.
30 March – 2 April 2016: Attended the annual meeting of the American Society for Environmental History in Seattle and delivered a talk, “Something New Under the Sea? An Environmental History of the Post-Paleozoic World of Corals.”
16 December 2015: Along with co-PI Jonathan Lamb, I have been awarded a Vanderbilt International Office grant to foster collaboration with the Sydney Environment Institute, University of Sydney. The award will fund a residence in Sydney, and excursions to two research stations on the Great Barrier Reef, for four Vanderbilt scholars.
25 November 2015: Excursion to Mauna Kea, Hawai’i.
19-22 November 2015: Attended the annual meeting of the History of Science Society in San Francisco and delivered a talk, “Visualizing Time, Travel, and Publication in the History of Expeditionary Research, 1830-1930.”
23 October 2015: Spoke on Darwin at Vanderbilt’s Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities.
15-16 September 2015: Attended a workshop on “Underwater Worlds” at Oxford University.
10-11 August 2015: Attended the centennial meeting of the Ecological Society of America in Baltimore. In a session celebrating the society’s centenary I presented the talk “Coral Reefs and the Concept of Fragility in the Age of Ecology.”
4-6 July 2015: Excursion to Mount Etna, Sicily.
27 June – 3 July 2015: Attended the biennial Ischia summer school on the history of biology. This year’s theme was “Geographies of Life.”
10 June 2015: Presented a paper, “The Life Acousmatic: Musique concrète, Underwater Listening, and the Number 1 Crackling Noise,” in the colloquium of Department 2, Max-Planck Institute for the History of Science.
18 May 2015: Attended a workshop, “The Underwater Realm,” at the Stanford Humanities Center and presented a talk entitled “Coral Reefs since Cook: From Threatening to Threatened.”
May-June 2015: In residence as a visiting scholar at the Max-Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin.
15 April 2015: My essay “From Cook to Cousteau: The Many Lives of Coral Reefs” has been published in Fluid Frontiers: New Currents in Marine Environmental History, edited by John Gillis and Franziska Torma.
3 April 2015: I had the honor of being this year’s speaker at the annual Lone Star Historians of Science meeting, hosted by Rice University and the University of Houston. I first attended this event as an aspiring historian of science in 2002, so I was humbled and delighted by this invitation.
28 March 2015: Attended the fiftieth-anniversary Joint Atlantic Seminar in History of Biology at Yale University.
27 March 2015: Participated in the Historian Meets Curator event alongside curator Eric Lazo-Wasem at the Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University.
18-22 March 2015: Attended the annual meeting of the American Society for Environmental History in Washington, D.C., and presented in a session I co-organized with Helen Anne Curry entitled “Alternative Stories of Endangerment in the Twentieth Century.”
2-4 January 2015: Attended the annual meeting of the American Historical Association in New York City.
6-9 November 2014: Attended the annual meeting of the History of Science Society in Chicago and presented a talk in a panel I co-organized with Helen Anne Curry entitled “Under Threat: The Sciences of Extinction and Endangerment since 1850.”
26 September 2014: Visited the University of Minnesota and gave two presentations, one to the Biological Interest Group entitled “An Amphibious Being: How Darwin’s Theories Depended Upon the Practical Work of Maritime Surveying,” and another in the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine colloquium entitled “Writing the Origin with Burnt Fingers: Darwin’s Penance for the ‘Sin of Speculation.'”
20 August 2014: Attended the annual meeting of the Society for the Social Studies of Science in Buenos Aires and delivered a talk “The Musique concrète of Nature: Underwater Listening and the Acousmatic Predicament.”
18-19 August 2014: Excursion to Rapa Nui (Easter Island).
17 August 2014: I retraced some of Darwin’s (approximate) footsteps through the Andes by taking a bus from Mendoza, Argentina up through Uspallata and the Portillo Pass, and down the valley of the Aconcagua River, to Santiago, Chile.
3-6 July 2014: Attended the annual meeting of the British Society for the History of Science in St. Andrews and delivered a talk, “From Description to Theory: How Coral Reefs Changed Nineteenth-Century Hydrography.”
14-17 June 2014: Attended a workshop “Place and Practice: Doing Science in and on the Ocean, 1800-2012,” at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and presented a paper, “The Hydrographer-Naturalist: How Darwin’s Career Depended on his Study of the Ocean.”
4-5 April 2014: Attended the Joint Atlantic Seminar in History of Biology at Johns Hopkins University.
6 February 2014: Delivered a talk in Brown University’s lecture series on Science and Capitalism entitled “Imperial Ambitions and Colonial Organisms: When Corals Built Barriers to Commerce.”
2-5 January 2014: Attended the annual meeting of the American Historical Association in Washington, D.C. and delivered a talk in a panel I co-organized with Lukas Rieppel (Brown University), “Nineteenth-Century Science Outside the Laboratory.”
21-24 November 2013: Attended the annual meeting of the History of Science Society and presented a paper, “Naval and Zoological Opportunism during World War II: The Case of the Snapping Shrimp.”
11 November 2013: Presented a paper, “From Threatening to Threatened: How Coral Reefs became Fragile,” in the environmental history colloquium at Yale University.
26 September 2013: I visited the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in Durham, North Carolina and delivered a Director’s Lecture, “How Studying the Ocean Launched Charles Darwin’s Scientific Career.”
1 September 2013: I will spend the 2013-14 academic year on sabbatical as a visiting scholar in the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University.
7-12 July 2013: Attended the biennial meeting of the International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology in Montpellier, France and delivered a talk, “A Conflict between Biology and Geology: The ‘Thirty-Years’ War’ in Coral Reef Studies, 1910-1939.”
June 2013: In residence at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography as the biennial Ritter Memorial Fellow. This generous fellowship provided the opportunity to use the archives, attend seminars, and meet with active and retired researchers at SIO. As part of the institution’s annual “Scripps Day” graduation festivities I gave a public lecture entitled “How Studying the Ocean Launched Charles Darwin’s Scientific Career.”
3 June 2013: Visited the Science Studies Program at UCSD and gave a talk, “What is an Author, and how did Darwin Become One?”
3-6 April 2013: Attended the annual meeting of the American Society for Environmental History in Toronto.
14-19 November 2012: Attended the annual meeting of the History of Science Society and did research in the archives of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
9-11 November 2012: Attended the annual North American Conference on British Studies in Montreal and delivered a talk, “A Threat on the Map: The Growth of Coral Reefs as a Problem for British Surveyors, 1768-1850.”
16 August 2012: This fall I begin teaching at Vanderbilt University. This semester I will offer a graduate seminar on environmental history. In the spring I will teach “The Darwinian Revolution” and an undergraduate seminar, “Science and Empire.”
11-14 July 2012: Attended the joint meeting of the History of Science Society and the Canadian and British societies for the history of science in Philadelphia.