School of History

History of the Sciences

The Centre

The making of scientific knowledge

Francis Bacon’s bold claim about the significance of his researches into nature has proven true over the last four hundred years. The making of scientific knowledge has, arguably, been the defining feature of the modern era. Knowledge is indeed power; it has legitimated governance, weaponized empires, enabled commerce – even defined humanity itself.

As historians of the sciences, we offer a unique and intellectually exciting insight into the making of scientific knowledge. We discover the contingent historical processes by which apparently self-evident values as ‘fact’ and ‘objectivity’ have been painstakingly assembled. We look at the political, economic, religious and other human agendas that have shaped what comes to constitute scientific knowledge in any given time and place. And bearing in mind that scientists and technologists are always plugged into a wider world, we investigate the diverse public audiences for, and consumers of, the sciences.

Our Centre is a diverse one covering the physical and biomedical sciences, technology, animals, the environment, literature, and science communication. We are full-time staff and postgraduate students. We are intellectually curious and active scholars, committed to discussion and support of one another’s research.



Francis Bacon

“I have taken all knowledge to be my province... For knowledge itself is power” (Francis Bacon, 1561-1626)



School of History, Rutherford College, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NX

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Last Updated: 23/03/2017