Biography

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.

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 am currently writing a cultural history of the Orchid for Reaktion books, due for delivery in late 2014 for publication in 2015.

My next research project will involve a comparative study of Anglo-American biology in the early twentieth century, looking at the ways in which the broad social and cultural impacts of new biological discoveries functioned to shape the public sphere.

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.