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John Wallingford, “Reconsidering Buddhist Embryology as Science History” (History and Philosophy of Science talks)
It has not gone unnoticed in recent times that the history of science is
heavily Eurocentric. A striking example can be found in the history of
developmental biology, the science of embryonic development. Textbooks and
popular science writing frequently trace an intellectual thread from Aristotle
through a small handful of 19th century German pioneers to 20th century
genetics and 21st century genomics. Few historians and fewer still biologists
are aware, however, of the depth and breadth of early embryological thinking
outside of Europe. Here, I provide a series of vignettes highlighting the rich
history of embryological thinking in early Asia. The impact of this body of
thought on the “development" of modern developmental biology is unclear, but I
contend that because culture shapes our thinking, these early Asian studies
have significant implications for the modern practice. My goal is to provide
an entertaining, even provocative, synopsis of an important but understudied
topic, with the hope that this work will spur others to more thorough

John Wallingford holds the William and Gwyn Shive Endowed Professorship in
UT’s Department of Molecular Biosciences. His work combines in vivo imaging
with systems biology to explore the cell biological basis of embryonic
development. He also has a strong interest in the history of embryology and
associated sciences.

This event is part of the History and Philosophy of Science weekly talk series, which will be held virtually during Fall 2020.

Nov 13, 2020 12:00 PM in Central Time (US and Canada)

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