Dr Helen Curry

Position: Visiting Fellow
School and/or Centres: Humanities Research Centre

Location: University of Cambridge

I am a Senior Lecturer in the history of science. I joined the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge in September 2012, having received my PhD in History from Yale University in May 2012.

My book Evolution Made to Order: Plant Breeding and Technological Innovation in Twentieth Century America (University of Chicago Press, 2016) traces the history of several early technologies used to modify genes and chromosomes, including their development as research tools in genetics and evolutionary biology, their application as novel methods of plant breeding, and their celebration in American popular culture as means of engineering life. You can learn more in a review of the book that was published in Science in November 2016.

My current research considers the history of global conservation, in particular efforts made to preserve the genetic diversity of agricultural crop species through the practice of seed banking. This work has been supported by the Rockefeller Archive Center and the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities at the University of Cambridge. It will be the focus of a Wellcome Trust Seed Award in 2016–17 and CRASSH ProFutura Scientia Fellowship in 2017–20. You can watch me talk about aspects of this researchin a short film produced by the University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute.

I am a fellow and director of studies in the History and Philosophy of Science at Churchill College.

Seeds for Survival: A Global History of Seed Banking

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