Institutionalizing molecular biology in post-war europe: A comparative study

Abstract
The intellectual origins of molecular biology are usually traced back to the 1930s. By contrast, molecular biology acquired a social reality only around 1960. To understand how it came to designate a community of researchers and a professional identity, I examine the creation of the first institutes of molecular biology, which took place around 1960, in four European countries: Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and Switzerland. This paper shows how the creation of these institutes was linked to the results of post-war economic reconstruction. Then, it compares how the promoters of these different institutional projects delimited the goals of their discipline, reflected on its history, and suggested how research should be organised. I show how they carefully positioned their new discipline within the emerging national science policy discourse of the 1950s, and aligned it with the current vision of scientific modernity. In particular, I discuss how they articulated the meaning of molecular biology with respect to five common themes: the role of physics in the atomic age, the relations between fundamental research and medical applications, the 'Americanisation' of scientific research, the value of science in the reconstruction of national identities, and the drive towards interdisciplinary research. This paper thus demonstrates that beyond the local and national accounts there is a European history of molecular biology.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 29,174
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Homology in Comparative, Molecular, and Evolutionary Developmental Biology: The Radiation of a Concept.Ingo Brigandt - 2003 - Journal of Experimental Zoology (Molecular and Developmental Evolution) 299:9-17.
Mechanism Schemas and the Relationship Between Biological Theories.Tudor M. Baetu - 2011 - In Phyllis McKay Illari Federica Russo (ed.), Causality in the Sciences. Oxford University Press.
The Birth of EMBO and the Difficult Road to EMBL.J. Krige - 2002 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 33 (3):547-564.
Reconstructing Life. Molecular Biology in Postwar Britain.S. Chadarevian - 2002 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 33 (3):431-448.
Emigration, Isolation and the Slow Start of Molecular Biology in Germany.U. Deichmann - 2002 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 33 (3):449-471.
Naturalists, Molecular Biologists, and the Challenges of Molecular Evolution.Joel B. Hagen - 1999 - Journal of the History of Biology 32 (2):321 - 341.
National Politics and International Trends: EMBO and the Making of Molecular Biology in Spain (1960-1975).J. M. - 2002 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 33 (3):473-487.
Institutionalizing Molecular Biology in Post-War Europe: A Comparative Study.Bruno J. Strasser - 2002 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 33 (3):515-546.
Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total downloads
1 ( #895,364 of 2,180,039 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
0

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.
My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums