I study the thinkers of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe and the ways in which they investigated the natural world. My current work focuses on early forms of biological thought in the Royal Society of London and how individual members, such as Robert Hooke, wove together speculative theory, astute observation, and bookish learning to create scientific knowledge. Other lines of research include the relationship between natural and civil history, the emergence of a distinctively historical outlook within the sciences of nature, and the notion of time in Mercator’s Chronologia. I also maintain an interest in intellectual history and the history of philosophy, broadly conceived.
Before coming to Princeton, I was a researcher at Caltech and assisted in editing the Collected Papers of Albert Einstein, as well as a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley, where I wrote an obscure little treatise on Wittgenstein’s later philosophy. I hold my B.A. and M.A. degrees from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, Germany.