Brown Bag Lecture: Toxic Globe

Lunchtime Lectures
Monday, March 5, 2018
12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
Science History Institute
315 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
United States

Join us for a Brown Bag Lecture by Lucas Müller, Price Dissertation Fellow at the Science History Institute.

Toxic substances have been systematically addressed by governments around the world for their severe impacts on health and the environment since the mid-20th century. My study investigates how the global history of toxic substances gave rise to new forms of international politics in the postcolonial world. Aflatoxin, a poison produced by molds that grow on peanuts, corn, and other crops in warm climates, was one of the first substances addressed by scientists and officials across the global North and South. This talk centers on three scientific and political responses to aflatoxin across Europe, India, Kenya, the United States, and international organizations since 1960 to reveal divergent visions among officials and experts for the control of toxic substances and postcolonial international politics.

About the Speaker

Lucas Müller is a historian of science and medicine in the 20th century. His research analyzes the interplay of scientific knowledge, expertise, and politics, focusing on the institutions and practices of international research in the postcolonial world. His current project concerns the international history of carcinogens at the intersection of cancer research, nutrition science, and agricultural research since 1960 in Great Britain, Kenya, India, and the United States. His research also draws on methods in science and technology studies, environmental history, and international history.

Lucas is a PhD candidate in the Program in History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology, and Society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a Price Dissertation Fellow at the Science History Institute. He received degrees in chemistry from ETH Zurich and a master’s degree in history of science, medicine, and technology from Imperial College and University College London. His research has been supported by the Social Science Research Council, the National Science Foundation, and the Science History Institute.

About the Series

Brown Bag Lectures (BBLs) are a series of (mostly) weekly, informal talks on the history of chemistry or related subjects, including the history and social studies of science, technology, and medicine. Based on original research (sometimes still in progress), these talks are given by local scholars for an audience of the Institute staff and fellows and interested members of the public.