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Myles Jackson

Myles Jackson

B.A. German Literature & Molecular and Cell Biology, Cornell University, 1986
M.Phil. History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge, 1988
Ph.D. History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge, 1991

Albert Gallatin Research Excellence Professor of the History of Science at Gallatin, Myles W. Jackson is also Professor of History of the Faculty of Arts and Science. He was the inaugural Dibner Family Professor of the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology of Polytechnic Institute of NYU from 2007-2012. He currently serves as the Director of Science and Society, an inter-school minor at NYU. His research interests include molecular biology and intellectual property in Europe and the U.S., genetic privacy issues, and the history of 18th- and 19th-century German physics. Professor Jackson received his Ph.D. in the history and philosophy of science from the University of Cambridge. Before coming to NYU, he taught at Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Chicago. He has been a senior fellow of the Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology at MIT and the Max-Planck-Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. He was a recipient of Bosch Public Policy Fellowship of the American Academy in Berlin, and the Reimar Lüst/Humboldt Prize of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. He has also been an awarded a fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin. He has published more than 50 articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia entries on the history of science and technology from the Scientific Revolution to the present. His first book, Spectrum of Belief: Joseph von Fraunhofer and the Craft of Precision Optics (MIT Press, 2000) received the Paul Bunge Prize from the German Chemical Society for the Best Work on Instrument Makers and the Hans Sauer Prize for the Best Work on the History of Invention. It was translated into German as Fraunhofers Spektren: Die Präzisionsoptik als Handwerkskunst (Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen, 2009). His second book, Harmonious Triads: Physicists, Musicians and Instrument Markers in Nineteenth-Century Germany (MIT Press), was released in 2006 with the paperback edition appearing in 2008. He is co-editor of Music, Sound, and the Laboratory  for the History of Science Society’s Yearbook, Osiris, with the University of Chicago Press published in 2013, and he is the editor of DNA Patenting: Perspectives on Science , forthcoming in November of 2014 with MIT Press. Professor Jackson received the Francis Bacon Prize for Contributions to the History of Science and Technology from Caltech, where he served as the Francis Bacon Visiting Professor of History during the winter and spring terms of 2012. He has won teaching awards from Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania. He is a member of the Erfurt Academy of Sciences in Germany, the German National Academy of Sciences- Leopoldina, and a corresponding member of the Académie Internationale d'Histoire des Science in Belgium. His latest work, The Genealogy of a Gene: Patents, HIV/AIDS, and Race , is forthcoming with MIT Press in March of 2015.


Professor Myles Jackson is the recipient of the 2014 Humboldt Prize, the Reimar Lüst Award for Scholarly and Cultural Exchange, from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.  This award supports outstanding humanities scholars and social scientists who have made exceptional contributions to the promotion of bilateral relations between Germany and their home countries, with an invitation to spend up to a year in Germany. Professor Jackson's book, The Genealogy of a Gene: Patents, HIV/AIDS, and Race (Transformations: Studies in the History of Science and Technology) will be released in Spring 2015. His article, Pharmacogenomics and the Biology of Race, was featured in Huff Post Healthy Living. He is a guest-editor on a special issue on gene patenting for the journal 'Perspectives of Science' published by MIT Press.


Contact Information

Myles Jackson

1 Wash Pl, Room 405
(212) 998-8488
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Office Hours
Monday Sabbatical
Tuesday Sabbatical
Wednesday Sabbatical
Thursday Sabbatical
Friday Sabbatical


2015 Fall

Genetics and Society
Mon,Wed 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM

Music and Science
Mon,Wed 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM

Biology and Society
Mon,Wed 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM

2014 Winter

Biology and Society
Mon,Tue,Wed,Thu 2:00 PM - 5:30 PM

2014 Spring

Science and Culture
Mon,Wed 12:30 PM - 1:45 PM

Research and Teaching Interests

history and philosophy of science and technology; cultural history of physics in 19th-century Germany and Britain; the relationships among music, physics, and technology from 1800 to the present; the history of automata; the history of creativity; intellectual property and human genetics; genetic privacy; bioethics

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New York University
Gallatin School of Individualized Study
1 Washington Place
New York, NY 10003
(212) 998-7370