My research has dealt with the study of the physical sciences in 19th-century France, England, Spain and the USA with a special focus on discipline formation, education, book culture, scientific instruments, comparative history and international circulation of knowledge.
My work has emphasized the role of material culture in the making of scientific knowledge, the agency of actors traditionally discarded or undervalued in standard
narratives, and the formulation of historical questions beyond the still usual focus on local and national frameworks.
This work has resulted in a number of publications, conference panels and workshops, and the development of individual projects and participation in collective projects funded by national and international agencies in five different countries.
I am currently developing three long-term projects, characterized by international and interdisciplinary scope, which build upon my experience and open new ground for my research through the development of case studies on Latin America, the US and Europe across the 19th and 20th centuries.
1. Cold War Pedagogy: Physics, Democracy and Educational Innovation in the Americas and Europe (1945-1975)
A social history of the making of Cold War physics,
built upon an interdisciplinary, comparative and cross-national analysis of three major projects of pedagogical innovation, and their appropriation by teachers in Europe and the Americas, between
the end of WWII and the university reforms of the mid 1970s. The project is built on three case studies (Physical Science Study Committee, Harvard Project Physics, Nuffield Physics) in four
national contexts which exemplify different pedagogical, scientific and political cultures (USA, Colombia, Brasil, Chile, Mexico, Spain, UK). The project stands on an already estbalished
tradition of studies on science education, but contribues to renew it. It questions long-held conceptions about science pedagogy castes on a Kuhnian pattern. By means of particular case studies
in comparative and cross-national perspective, this project intends to produce global results with exemplary value for historians, science education scholars and policy makers.
The first part of this project has been funded for two semesters (spread in two years) by a Spencer Fellowship of
the National Academy of Education, for research on the Physical Science Study Committee in the USA, Colombia, Brasil and Mexico.
2. Medical Physics: Technology, Discipline Building and Experimental Knowledge in the Nineteenth Century
In this project I investigate the shaping of 'medical physics' as a scientific discipline and a medical specialism in the long nineteenth century, before the advent of X-rays. My research deals comparatively with two national contexts (France, Mexico), with different scientific and medical cultures, but connected by international relations. This exploration is the first step in a project which aims at integrating further national case studies in the future. It is connected with the urge for a stronger integration of the history of science and the history of medicine, the development of the international research cluster Science X Medicine, and my participation in related research projects in Mexico, Colombia and Spain. The project looks for a more symmetrical treatment of physics and medicine, and their historiographies, a better integration of the literature available on different aspects of the intersections between physics and medicine between the 19th and 20th centuries, and a critical revision of the current standard picture of 'medical physics', which is built as a teleological history of invention, arising from a single event of discovery (X-rays).
3. Teaching at the Crossroad of History, Science and Didactics
A long-term project which connects my research with my teaching and arises from my interdisciplinary training in science, history of science, and science education, and my experience in museum work and outreach. It has two streams, aimed respectively at developing new proposals for the integration of history and philosophy of science in science education, and at the design of innovative proposals for the teaching of history and philosophy of science based on the experience of science education research past and present. It responds to a preoccupation which is both intellectual (exploiting the intersections between these two academic areas for the benefit of both), and practical (offering students professional avenues beyond standard history and philosophy of science academic positions).
I intend to re-appropriate major historical cases based on my research for the development of new schemes for the teaching of history and philosophy of science. I am also involved in the preparation of a book providing a global picture of science education from the nineteenth century to the present, for the use of historians, educationists, teachers, and policy makers.
I am also interested in contributing to the development of interdisciplinary teams for the design of pedagogical activities integrating history and philosophy of science in the teaching of science in school and museum context, and producing innovative proposals for the teaching of history and philosophy of science at university level.