I am a historian of science and of twentieth-century America, currently teaching as Assistant Professor in Carnegie Mellon's History Department. My research focuses on the history of the United States, particularly the authority and expertise claimed for scientific practices and mathematical methods. I am also interested in the role of the sciences in liberal education and the history of justifications of "thinking mathematically" or "thinking scientifically."

Before Carnegie Mellon, I taught as an Assistant Professor & Faculty Fellow at NYU-Gallatin School of Individualized Study, and before that lectured in the Department of History of Science, Harvard University.

I received my Ph.D. in History of Science in 2011 from Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. Previously, I received an MPhil. (2005) in History and Philosophy of Science, Technology and Medicine, from the University of Cambridge, and an A.B. (2004) in History and Science from Harvard College.



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5000 Forbes Ave.

Pittsburgh, PA 15213 USA


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Current Research

I am currently working on a history of statistics in medicine, tentatively titled Number Doctors: Health, Statistics, and the Reformation of Modern Medicine. It centers on a group of biostatisticians at the National Institutes of Health and their efforts to transform measures of causality and proof in medicine through the development of novel statistical measures from the 1930s to the 1970s. It is, in a sense, the prehistory of our current moment of "risky medicine" and "precision medicine," as well as of algorithms and artificial intelligence in medicine. In this project I ask how and why medicine became fundamentally a science of number.