Brightening Biochemistry: The Role of Humor in Scientific Research

Lunchtime Lectures
Wednesday, February 17, 2021
1:00 p.m.–1:45 p.m. EST (UTC -5)

In the 1920s members of the Sir William Dunn Institute for Biochemistry at Cambridge University published Brighter Biochemistry, a comic journal “better than Punch.” Humor, however, is no laughing matter for modern science: it provides a means of addressing conflict, change, and chance in the laboratory. In this talk Robin Wolff Scheffler will use Brighter Biochemistry to illustrate the important perspective that humor offers on the process of scientific work and the historical experience of scientists.


Robin Wolfe Scheffler

Robin Wolfe Scheffler

About the Speaker

Robin Wolfe Scheffler is an associate professor in the program in science, technology, and society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His first book, A Contagious Cause: The American Hunt for Cancer Viruses and the Rise of Molecular Medicine, addressed the growth of molecular biology and cancer research. He is currently working on a second book documenting the history of the biotechnology industry in Boston.

About the Series

Now combined with our Saturday Speaker Series, Lunchtime Lectures take a rigorous and entertaining approach to exploring topics for scholars and anyone interested in stories about the history of science. The talks help expand perceptions of the nature of science and how it’s done. This season focuses on the human lives behind biological research.