Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge

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The Department of History and Philosophy of Science (HPS), of the University of Cambridge is the largest department of History and Philosophy of Science in the United Kingdom.[citation needed] It received a maximum rating of 4* for the majority of its submissions to the RAE 2008 Research Assessment Exercise.[1] Located in the historic buildings of the Old Physical Chemistry Laboratories on Free School Lane, Cambridge, the Department teaches undergraduate courses towards the Cambridge Tripos and graduate courses including a taught Masters and PhD supervision in the field of HPS. The Department shares its premises with the Whipple Museum and Whipple Library which provide important teaching resources for its teaching and research.[2]

Academic staff

The Department of HPS at Cambridge employs twelve full-time teaching staff, approximately thirty research staff, numerous supervisors and research associates from departments and colleges across the University of Cambridge, in addition to external supervisors and examiners. Until 2013 the head of department was Professor John Forrester, an international authority in the History of Mind, and a leading figure on Sigmund Freud and the history of psychoanalysis. The current head of department is Professor Jim Secord. [3]Other teaching staff include, Professor Hasok Chang, Dr Eleanor Robson, Professor Simon Schaffer, Dr Tim Lewens and Dr Patricia Fara. Emeritus Professor Nicholas Jardine retired from full-time teaching duties in the summer of 2010.

Degree courses

The Department offers a nine-month MPhil course in History, Philosophy and Sociology of Science, Medicine and Technology (formerly History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine). It also supervises graduate students for the Cambridge PhD in HPS and provides advisors in the related fields of research in History, Philosophy and Social Science. The Department provides undergraduate teaching and supervision for students who have completed their first year at Cambridge. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the Cambridge Tripos system, undergraduates from a wide range of fields may study HPS. The resources of the Whipple Museum provide for first-hand study of scientific instruments which often provide topics for student dissertations.

History of medicine

In recent years, the Department has regained its position as a major[citation needed] centre for the study of the History of Medicine having formerly been a Wellcome Unit in this field. It has played a major[citation needed] role in the Wellcome Trust funded Generation to Reproduction project at Cambridge, led by Dr Nick Hopwood, and hosted seminars and day conferences in this field.[4]


  1. RAE 2008 University of Cambridge: Philosophy: History and Philosophy of Science. Retrieved 6 September 2010.
  2. 'About the Department' HPS Cambridge. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
  4. HPS: History of Medicine'. Retrieved 5 September 2010>

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