Advertisement

BioSocieties

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 303–310 | Cite as

What Happened to Molecular Biology?

  • Hans-Jörg Rheinberger
Article

Abstract

‘Molecular biology’ emerged in the first half of the twentieth century as a fundamentally novel type of biology. Its coming into being was by no means simply a linear continuation of classical genetics, the biological Leitwissenschaft of the time, and it took much more than new methods and technologies for the new discipline to arise. In this article I outline the development of molecular biology—from its beginnings to its zenith and dissolution as a discipline in its own right—in its historical context and from an epistemological perspective.

Keywords

Assemblage History Molecular Biology 

Notes

Acknowledgements

A version of this article was first published in B.I.F. FUTURA, 22 (2007), 218–223.

References

  1. Abir-Am P. (2002). The Rockefeller Foundation and the rise of molecular biology. Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology, 3, 65–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Abir-Am P. (1982). The discourse of physical power and biological knowledge in the 1930s: A reappraisal of the Rockefeller Foundation's ‘policy’ in molecular biology. Social Studies of Science, 12, 341–382.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Braudel F. (1975 [1949]). The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean world in the age of Philip II. London: Fontana.Google Scholar
  4. Forman P. (1997). Recent science: Late modern and post-modern. In: Söderqvist T. (Ed.), The historiography of contemporary science and technology, 179–213. Amsterdam: Harwood Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  5. Foucault M. (1973). The order of things: An archaeology of the human sciences. New York: Vintage.Google Scholar
  6. Holmes F.L. (1997). Writing about scientists of the near past. In Söderqvist T. (Ed.), The historiography of contemporary science and technology, 165–177. Amsterdam: Harwood Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  7. Holmes F.L. (2002). Meselson, Stahl, and the replication of DNA: A history of the most beautiful experiment in biology. New Haven, CT: Yale UP.Google Scholar
  8. Holmes F.L. (2006). Reconceiving the gene: Seymour Benzer's adventure in phage genetics. New Haven, CT: Yale UP.Google Scholar
  9. Jacob F. (1993). The logic of life: A history of heredity. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP.Google Scholar
  10. Jacob F. (1970). La logique du vivant : Une histoire de l'hérédité. Paris: Gallimard.Google Scholar
  11. Kohler R.E. (1991). Partners in science: Foundations and natural scientists 1900–1945. Chicago, IL: U Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  12. Morange M. (1998). A history of molecular biology. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP.Google Scholar
  13. Morange M. (1994). Histoire de la biologie moléculaire. Paris: La Découverte.Google Scholar
  14. Olby R.C. (1974). The path to the double helix. Seattle, WA: Washington UP.Google Scholar
  15. Rabinow P. (2004). Anthropologie der Vernunft. Studien zu Wissenschaft und Lebensführung. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  16. Rabinow P. (2000). Epochs, presents, events. In Lock M., Young A., & Cambrosio A. (Eds), Living and working with the new medical technologies, 31–46. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge UP.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Rheinberger H.-J. (2000). Beyond nature and culture: Modes of reasoning in the age of molecular biology and medicine. In Lock M., Young A., & Cambrosio A. (Eds), Living and working with the new medical technologies, 19–30. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge UP.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Rheinberger H.-J. (1997). Conjunctures, hybrids, bifurcations, experimental cultures. In Rheinberger H.-J., Toward a history of epistemic things: Synthesizing proteins in the test tube, 133–142. Stanford, CA: Stanford UP.Google Scholar
  19. Rockefeller Foundation. (1938). Annual report. New York: Rockefeller Foundation.Google Scholar
  20. Shinn T., & Joerges B. (2002). The transverse science and technology culture: Dynamics and roles of research-technology. Social Science Information, 41, 207–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Szybalski W., & Skalka A. (1978). Editorial: Nobel prizes and restriction enzymes. Gene, 4, 181–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Vettel E. (2006). Biotech: The countercultural origins of an industry. Philadelphia, PA: U Pennsylvania Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© London School of Economics and Political Science 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans-Jörg Rheinberger
    • 1
  1. 1.Department IIIMax Planck Institute for the History of Science, Boltzmannstraße 22BerlinGermany

Personalised recommendations