Drawing of elementary components of a plant from the 19th century

Life Sciences

The History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences in the 19th and 20th Centuries
Drawing of elementary components of a plant from the 19th century
Image: Pierre Jean François Turpin, „Organographie microscopique, élémentaire et comparée des végétaux.“ Mémoires du Museum d’histoire naturelle, Band 18, 1829, Tafel 7

A main research area of the Ernst-Haeckel-Haus is the history and philosophy of the biological sciences in the 19th and 20th centuries. In the late 18th century and during the 19th century, new concepts of the living, theories of cells, organization and reproduction, evolutionary theories and ideas about biological inheritance emerged which contributed to the formation of biology as a new field of knowledge. In the 20th century, biology changed in manifold respects: from the genetics and eugenics at the beginning of the 20th century through molecular biology up to the genome, embryo and cloning research (to take only a handful of examples) in the early 21st century, new research themes and fields took shape. The life sciences became the new leading sciences, creating new social challenges. The history of the biological sciences in these two centuries is the focus of different research projects at the Ernst-Haeckel-Haus. We investigate the historical development of research practices and of theory and model-building. Our historical-epistemological focus on the dynamics of the genesis of biological knowledge also involves situating this knowledge within the historical context of its emergence, which also means reflecting on its impact on society.

Contact: Christina Brandt