I recently returned from research leave, during which time I have been working on a major research project involving a comparative study of the ways in which Anglo-American biology helped define the public sphere in the first quarter of the twentieth century. I am also writing a new biography of Charles Darwin for Routledge.

I am a specialist in the history of science, with particular interest in the impact of empire on nineteenth-century Britain, science and literature, and in the reception and influence of Darwinism. I am interested in hearing from prospective postgraduate students with interests in any area of Victorian British history, particularly the history of the sciences, or in the early/mid-twentieth century life sciences, particularly their social and cultural impacts.

I recently completed a cultural history of orchids, which was published by the University of Chicago Press (November 2016) and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in January 2017.

During 2010, I was a Distinguished International Scholar and visiting professor in the Department of History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA.

My first book, A Guinea Pig's History of Biology (2007), won the Royal Society of Literature's Jerwood Prize and was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. It has been published in hardback and paperback in the UK and USA, and a Spanish translation was published in 2009 and a German translation appeared in October 2012. My second, Imperial Nature: Joseph Hooker and the practices of Victorian Science (2008), was published by the University of Chicago Press and appeared in paperback in 2010. I edited a new edition of Darwin's On the Origin of Species that was published by Cambridge University Press in May 2009.

I did my first degree in History and Philosophy of Science at the University of New South Wales, followed by an MPhil and PhD in the HPS Department at Cambridge, after which I was a post-doctoral research fellow at Darwin College, Cambridge. I joined Sussex in 2007, was promoted to senior lecturer in 2009 and to Reader in the History of Science in 2013.

Community and Business

I have worked closely with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew for many years, most recently on an exhibition and conference to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Joseph Hooker's birth, in 2017. I have also been a historical consultant to BBC to and Radio 4, and presented my first program for the "Crafty Orchids" in 2016.