Professor Gregory Radick
- Position: Professor of History and Philosophy of Science
- Areas of expertise: history and philosophy of biology; history of the human sciences; counterfactuals; intellectual property
- Email: G.M.Radick@leeds.ac.uk
- Phone: +44(0)113 343 3269
- Location: LG.12 Baines Wing, Parkinson Building
I'm a historian and philosopher of science whose work deals mainly with biology and the human sciences. I'm currently President-Elect of the International Society for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Biology, and I've held a number of roles in the field, including President of the British Society for the History of Science (2014-6) and Editor-in-Chief of Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (2012-7).
I received my BA in History from Rutgers (1992) and my MPhil and PhD in History and Philosophy of Science from Cambridge (1996, 2000). In my final year at Cambridge I was the Charles and Katharine Darwin Research Fellow at Darwin College and received the Singer Prize from the British Society for the History of Science for best essay by an early career researcher. I've been at the University of Leeds since 2000, based throughout at the Centre for History and Philosophy of Science. From 2006-8 I served as the Centre's Director, overseeing the creation of a new University Museum of the History of Science, Technology and Medicine. In 2010 I was promoted to a personal chair. In 2012 I gave an inaugural lecture which can be viewed here. From 2014-7 I served as Director of the Leeds Humanities Research Institute.
My publications have centred on Darwinism, genetics and the sciences of mind and behaviour. My book The Simian Tongue: The Long Debate about Animal Language (2007) was awarded the 2010 Suzanne J. Levinson Prize from the History of Science Society for best book in the history of the life sciences and natural history. My other books include, as co-author, Darwin in Ilkley (with Mike Dixon, 2009) and, as co-editor, The Cambridge Companion to Darwin (with Jonathan Hodge, 2nd edition 2009). Currently I'm at work on several book projects, including a book about the debate over Mendelism in the early twentieth century, Disputed Inheritance: The Battle over Mendel and the Future of Biology, under contract from the University of Chicago Press. Other interests include the theory and practice of counterfactual history and the interdisciplinary study of intellectual property.
I'm active in promoting the history of science to wider audiences, appearing on Genius by Stephen Hawking on PBS/National Geographic Channel and In Our Time on BBC Radio 4, contributing to the Times Literary Supplement, and regularly giving public lectures. In 2015 I gave the annual Darwin Memorial Lecture in Shrewsbury and the first annual John Innes Lecture in the history of science at the John Innes Centre, Norwich. In 2016 I gave the annual Thomas S. Hall Lecture in history and philosophy of science at Washington University in St. Louis. In 2017 I gave an address at Mendel University in Brno to mark the unveiling of a new statue of Gregor Mendel. I participated with Leeds HPS colleagues and students throughout 2016-7 on a major public lecture series, HPS in 20 Objects, based on the Leeds HSTM Museum collections.
I was primary investigator on the Leeds Genetics Pedagogies Project (2012-4), which developed experimental teaching materials in order to assess the role that traditional Mendelian emphases play in promoting a determinist attitude towards genes (and, counterfactually, whether students might be less determinist now if Mendelism had never become biological orthodoxy). From October 2017 to September 2020 I'm on full-time research leave thanks to the award of a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship.
I'd be glad to hear from anyone interested in doing postdoctoral, PhD or MRes/MA work on any aspect of the research interests outlined above.
Selected Recent Publications:
- "The Enemy Within." Review of Siddhartha Mukherjee's The Gene: An Intimate History. Times Literary Supplement 25 November 2016: 3-4.
- "Presidential Address: Experimenting with the Scientific Past." British Journal for the History of Science 49 (2016): 153-173. An abbreviated version, "Teach Students the Biology of Their Time: An Experiment in Genetics Education Reveals How Mendel's Legacy Holds Back the Teaching of Science," was published in Nature 533 (19 May 2016): 293. The full experimental report on the education experiment has now appeared: "Genetic Determinism in the Genetics Curriculum: An Exploratory Study of the Effects of Mendelian and Weldonian Emphases," with Annie Jamieson. Science and Education, published online July 2017.
- "The Unmaking of a Modern Synthesis: Noam Chomsky, Charles Hockett, and the Politics of Behaviorism, 1955-1965." Isis 107 (March 2016): 49-73.
- "Beyond the 'Mendel-Fisher Controversy': Worries about Fraudulent Data Should Give Way to Broader Critiques of Mendel's Legacy." Science 350 (9 October 2015): 159-160.
- BA Rutgers (History) 1992
- MPhil Cambridge (HPS) 1996
- PhD Cambridge (HPS) 2000
- British Society for the History of Science
- History of Science Society
- International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology
I generally teach on undergraduate and MA modules within history and philosophy of science.
Research groups and institutes
- Centre for History and Philosophy of Science