University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Departmental Seminars in History and Philosophy of Science > Scavengers of nature: recycling in the history of science and medicine

Scavengers of nature: recycling in the history of science and medicine

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Recycling has played an important role in post-war environmentalism, yet equivalent practices of salvage, re-use, and recovery have a much older history. This paper explores the history of recycling and its significance in the history of the sciences and medicine. Exploring sites such as chemical laboratories, coffee-house auctions, flea markets, and dust heaps, I examine the changing relationships between recycling, medicine, and science from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries, and consider how practices of thrift, repair, re-use, and recovery helped shape a range of scientific and medical ideas, techniques and instruments in this period.

This talk is part of the Departmental Seminars in History and Philosophy of Science series.

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