No lone heroes

Lecture Theatre, Faculty of History, George Street, Oxford


ferry photo credit newsquest oxfordshire

Newsquest Oxfordshire


No lone heroes: is there a place for life stories in the history of science?

Biography has been regarded with suspicion by historians, as neglecting the currents of technological change and historical contingency in favour of a focus on the individual. An alternative view is that the life history of a scientist can be told in such a way as to illustrate these larger themes, while providing a compelling narrative that offers the opportunity to reach audiences beyond the academy. I will illustrate this argument with reference to the lives of 20th century molecular biologists and Nobel prizewinners, Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin and Max Perutz.