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Myles Jackson

Gallatin Research Excellence Professor
(212) 998-8488
1 Wash Pl, Room 405

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Office Hours
Monday 12:30-1:30
Tuesday 2-4
Wednesday 12:30-1:30

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 Myles W. Jackson is also Professor of History of the Faculty of Arts and Science at NYU, a professor in the Division of Medical Bioethics at the NYU-Langone School of Medicine, and faculty affiliate of the Engelbert Center of Innovation Law and Policy of the NYU School of Law. He currently serves as the Director of Science and Society, an inter-school minor at NYU. Professor Jackson is the advisory board for the bioethics program at NYU and is a member of the American Council on Germany, and serves on the editorial boards of the journal History of Science and the book series Science and Culture in the Nineteenth Century. His research interests include molecular biology and intellectual property in Europe and the US, genetic privacy issues, and the history of 18th- and 19th-century German physics. He has published more than fifty 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 was Harmonious Triads: Physicists, Musicians and Instrument Markers in Nineteenth-Century Germany (MIT Press, 2006). He is co-editor of Music, Sound, and the Laboratory (University of Chicago Press, 2013) for the History of Science Society’s Yearbook, Osiris, and he is the editor of DNA Patenting: Perspectives on Science (MIT Press, 2015). His book, The Genealogy of a Gene: Patents, HIV/AIDS, and Race was published by The MIT Press in 2015. He is currently working on a popular book on the relationship between science, technology, and music from the 18th century to the present as well as continuing to conduct research on gene patenting and privacy issues in Europe. Before coming to NYU, he taught at Caltech, 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 a fellow at 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 was the recipient of a 2014 Berlin Prize Fellowship from The American Academy in Berlin and, during 2016-2017, he will be a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin.

Teaching and Research 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

Myles Jackson

Recent News

Myles Jackson was named a 2016-2017 Fellow by the Institute for Advanced Study, Berlin, to support his projects "Gene Patenting and Race and Genomics in Biomedicine in the US and Germany" and"The Role of Physics and Electrical Engineering in Shaping Musical Aesthetics in Germany During the Late 19th and Early 20th Century." 

Effective as of the 2015-2016 academic year, Professor Jackson was appointed to an endowed chair as the Gallatin Research Excellence Professor. In 2016, Jackson was named faculty affiliate of the Engelberg Center of Innovation Law and Policy of the NYU School of Law.

Jackson delivered “Genealogy of a Gene: Patents, HIV/AIDS, Race,” to Harvard STS Circle, in October 2015; Department of Philosophy, Mississippi State University, in November 2015; and Department of Immunology, University of Michigan School of Medicine, in November 2015. Jackson delivered the keynote “Genealogy of a Gene: Patents, HIV/AIDS, Race,” Center of Law and Bioethics 10th Anniversary, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary, in January 2016.  

Jackson will deliver the keynote “The History of Human Classification: A Story of Alternatives,” to Willamette University, Salem, Oregon, in April 2016. He will also deliver the keynote “Musical Machines in the Twentieth Century” to the Conference on Machines, Ideas, and Metaphors, Tel Aviv University, in Israel, in May 2016.

Recent Publications:

“Die Geschichte des Kammertone oder: Woher klint der Chor eine Töne,” in Gemeinsam Klingen: Festschrift zum 50-jährigen Berliner Capella (Berlin 2015) pp. 37-39.

“Die Genealogie eines Genes,”Acta Historica Leopoldina: Vorträge und Abhandlungen zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte; 2013/2014 Nr. 65: (Halle: 2016)

“Patenting in the Biological Substances,” in International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, Second Edition, vol. 17, edited by James D. Wright (London: Elsevier, 2015): 584-591.

“Introduction” to Perspectives on Science: Gene Patenting in the Age of Biocapitalism (vol. 23:1; Spring 2015): 1-12.

“How Gene Patents are Challenging Intellectual Property Law: The History of the CCR5 Gene Patent” in Perspectives on Science: Gene Patenting in the Age of Biocapitalism (vol. 23:1; Spring 2015): 80-105.



2018 Spring

Intro to Science and Society

The Artificial and the Natural

2017 Fall

History of Science, Medicine and Technology

Biology and Society

2016 Spring

History of Science, Medicine and Technology