Department of History
Old Horticulture
506 E. Circle Dr
Room 256
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824
Main: 517.355.7500
Fax: 517.353.5599
Hours: 8:00-5:00 M-F

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Dr. John Waller, Associate Professor of the History of Medicine, received his B.A. in Modern History and his M.Sc. in Human Biology from the University of Oxford, his M.Sc. in History of Science and Medicine from Imperial College, London, and his Ph.D. in the History and Philosophy of Science from University College, London (in 2001). Following his graduate work, he served as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard and as a Research Fellow and Part-time Lecturer at University College, London, and then became a Lecturer in History of Medicine and Biology at the University of Melbourne (Australia).

Dr. Waller’s research has largely focused on nineteenth-century medical science and society. He has published four books.  Einstein’s Luck and Leaps in the Dark, published by Oxford University Press in 2002 and 2004 respectively, are re-examinations of iconic moments in the histories of science and medicine.  Discovery of the Germ (Columbia University Press, 2004) is a study of the advent of the germ theory of disease. The Real Oliver Twist: Robert Blincoe, a Life that Illuminates an Age (Cambridge: Icon Books, 2005) is a social biography which explores the lives of parish apprentices in the early 19th century.  A Time to Dance, A Time to Die (Cambridge: Icon Books, 2008) is an account of an epidemic of dancing in the 16th century Holy Roman Empire. It was shortlisted for the Dingle Prize of the British Society for the History of Science.  Dr. Waller is currently completing  a history of ideas of innate difference from classical antiquity to the present. It is entitled Breeding: A History of Heredity, Sex and Race and will be published by OUP in 2011.

Dr. Waller has also published a number of peer-reviewed articles on the history of heredity, eugenics, Victorian science and psychic epidemics. In addition, he is editor of the history of science and medicine journal, Endeavour.

Dr. Waller teaches classes in History on the history of science (HST 850) and several classes on the history and philosophy of science in Lyman Briggs College.

John Waller

Position: Associate Professor

Field: 18th Century, 19th Century, Science/Medicine, Social

Region: Europe & Russia, United States

Contact Info

Office: 211 Old Horticulture


Phone: (517) 884-4916