Lynn K. Nyhart

Position title: Emeritus Professor


Phone: 608.263.1850

Office: 5117 Mosse Humanities
Mailbox: 5021 Mosse Humanities
Curriculum Vitae (pdf)

Lynn Nyhart headshot


I study the history of biology in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, mainly in Europe. I am especially interested in the history of investigation into the organization of living things, the social organization of the sciences that study them, and relations between elite and popular science. My current research examines the history of ideas about biological individuality, parts, and wholes in nineteenth-century Europe, and their relationship to broader cultural and political movements. Beyond my research, I’m interested in rethinking how the discipline of the history of science should situate itself in relation to other disciplines and within our larger culture.


Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, History and Sociology of Science, 1986
M.A., University of Pennsylvania, History and Sociology of Science, 1982
A.B., Princeton University, History/History and Philosophy of Science, 1979


Selected Publication

  • “The Political Organism: Carl Vogt on Animals and States in the 1840s and 50s,” Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences, in Special Issue: “Revolutionary Politics and Biological Organization in Nineteenth-Century Europe,” edited by Lynn K. Nyhart and Florence Vienne, forthcoming December 2017.
  • Lynn K. Nyhart and Scott Lidgard: “Chapter 6: Alternation of Generations and Individuality, 1851,” in Biological Individuality, edited by Scott Lidgard and Lynn K. Nyhart. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017.
  • “Historiography of the History of Science,” in A Companion to the History of Science, ed. Bernard Lightman. Chichester, UK: John Wiley and Sons, 2016, pp. 7-22.
  • Wissenschaft and Kunde: The General and the Special in Modern Science” Osiris 27: When Clio Meets Science, ed. Kathryn Olesko and Robert E. Kohler. University of Chicago Press, 2012, pp. 250-275.
  • “Voyaging and the Scientific Expedition Report, 1800-1940,” in Science in Print: Essays on the History of Science and the Culture of Print, ed. Greg Downey, Rima Apple, and Christine Pawley. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2012, pp. 65-86.
  • “Emigrants and Pioneers: Moritz Wagner’s ‘Law of Migration’ in Context.” In Knowing Global Environments: New Historical Perspectives in the Field Sciences, ed. Jeremy Vetter. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2010, pp. 39-58.
  • “Civic and Economic Zoology in Nineteenth-Century Germany: The Living Communities of Karl Möbius.” Isis, December 1998, 89: 605-630.

Courses Taught

  • History 500 – Reading Seminar in History: Science above Politics? An Inconvenient History – Syllabus 2022 (pdf)
  • History of Science 132 – Bees, Trees, Germs, and Genes: A History of Biology – Syllabus 2023 (pdf)
  • History of Science 286 – Science above Politics? An Inconvenient History – Syllabus 2019 (pdf)
  • History of Science 333 – History of Modern Biology – Syllabus 2015 (pdf)
  • History of Science 343 – The Darwinian Revolution – Syllabus 2020 (pdf)
  • History of Science 555 – Making Visible (capstone) – Syllabus 2014 (pdf)
  • History of Science 720 – Introduction to Historiography and Methods – Syllabus 2021 (pdf)
  • History of Science 909 – Nationalism, Internationalism, and Transnationalism in the Modern Life Sciences
  • History of Science 909 – The New History of Natural History – Syllabus 2017 (pdf)