Leeds/British Library: AHRC PhD studentship on John Maynard Smith


"The Working Life of Evolutionary Biologists: Exploring the Culture of Scientific Research Through the Personal Archive of John Maynard Smith (1920-2004)"

An AHRC-funded PhD Studentship at the University of Leeds in collaboration with the British Library

The University of Leeds Centre for History and Philosophy of Science, in collaboration with the British Library, invites applications for a fully funded three-year PhD studentship exploring the research culture of mid-twentieth-century evolutionary biology through the personal archive of John Maynard Smith.

The studentship award has been made under the AHRC’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships scheme. The project, due to begin in October 2016, will be supervised by Professor Gregory Radick (Leeds) and Mr Jonathan Pledge (British Library).

The project student will research the working life of John Maynard Smith, whose extensive personal archive, held by the British Library, offers rich resources for a reinterpretation of post-war British scientific culture. Based at UCL and then Sussex, Maynard Smith was one of the most eminent and publicly visible British evolutionary biologists of the post-war generation, famed especially for his pioneer applications of mathematical techniques, in particular game theory, to the study of animal behaviour; his contributions to signalling theory, sociobiology and the understanding of macro-evolutionary transitions; his early Communist sympathies; and his lucid lectures, broadcasts and prolific writings.  An archivally based, contextually embedded reconstruction of his working life thus promises to illuminate topics of general relevance to the cultural history of modern science, including the history of science communication and scientists' political engagements.

The Leeds HPS Centre is one of the leading centres for the subject, supporting a large and vibrant community of postgraduate and postdoctoral students, with notable strengths in the history and philosophy of biology, and a strong commitment to outreach and engagement, most recently with its "HPS in 20 Objects" public lecture series, http://arts.leeds.ac.uk/museum-of-hstm/20objects/ The involvement of the British Library will provide students with a unique doctoral research and training experience. Collaborative doctoral students benefit from a range of training workshops, networking events and shared working facilities to enable them to develop together as a cohort. The British Library works with collaborative research partners in universities, museums, libraries and archives across the UK to maintain a track record of excellence in postgraduate training and research on a national scale.

The main contact and supervisor for this project is Professor Gregory Radick. If you are interested in applying for the studentship, please email: G.M.Radick@leeds.ac.uk.

The application deadline is 18th April 2016.

For further information about studying for a PhD at Leeds HPS, please see http://www.hps.leeds.ac.uk/.