Experimental Life: Medicine, Science, and the Emergence of a Culture of Experiment


ACLS Fellowship Program




“Experimental Life” tracks the emergence and spread of modern experimentalism in Europe through the preeminent medical school of Leiden University from 1636 to 1718. Using hundreds of printed sources and manuscript notes from students, professors, administrators, and critics, this project recovers a history of collaboration and competition in the making of modern scientific culture. Demonstrating the power of pedagogy, it integrates new histories of changes in different cultural themes: sociability, philosophy, medicine, technical skill, bodily experience, anatomy, chemistry, and clinical practice. Above all, it restores historical messiness and violence to the new science and medicine, weaving a novel history of experiments on life and the way of life of the experimenters.