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Durham University

The Department of Philosophy


Professor Matthew Daniel Eddy, BA, MA, PhD

Personal web page

Professor/Chair DEC in the Department of Philosophy

Contact Professor Matthew Daniel Eddy

Office Hours

By appointment.


I am a historian of early modern Europe. The aim of my research and teaching is to explore how, why and where different kinds of people learned to create, represent and value scientific knowledge ca. 1660 to 1900. I am fascinated by the ways science was used to understand nature as changeable entity that evolved over time. Under this rubric I have longstanding interests in the history of gender, race, childhood, disability and the environment.

My recent book Rewriting Reason: The Art and Science of Student Notebooks during the Scottish Enlightenment (Chicago: 2021) tells the story of how children created fascinating forms of communications media that helped them understand themselves and the natural world. My first book, The Language of Mineralogy: John Walker, Chemistry and the Edinburgh Medical School (Routledge: 2008), reveals the vital interface that took place between the humanities and medicine in early modern environmental history.

I’ve worked at Princeton, Harvard, MIT, UCLA, the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (Berlin) and Caltech. My research has been supported through grants or fellowships awarded by the British Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Royal Society of London, the Wellcome Trust, the Huntington Library, the Mellon Foundation and Durham’s Institute for Advanced Study.

In addition to serving on the executive councils for the British Society for the History of Science and the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry, I've given evidence for a number of British government organisations (including the Department of Work and Pensions) and I served as an assessor for the National Research Exercise coordinated for the Greek Ministry of Education.

I live in Durham with my wife, children and a pet spider named Marioula. My articles and books are downloadable from Academia. My twitter handle is @BookScribbler.


I supervise theses and dissertations on all aspects of science and society from the 17th- to early 20th-century, and on the cultural history of gender, race, childhood and the environment.

Research Groups

Research Interests

  • Environmental History
  • Gender History
  • History of Childhood
  • History of Information
  • History of Mental Health
  • Postcolonial History
  • History of Science and Society


Authored book

Chapter in book

Edited book

Journal Article