William Bynum


After my academic career at UCL and the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine it was a pleasure to think about writing and speaking about medicine and science in different ways.

Besides my books and talks I write and review for Nature, Lancet, the TLS, The Wall Street Journal among others

I explore contemporary developments as Science and Society editor for the Wiley Blackwell online Encyclopaedia of the Life Sciences and continue thinking historically as Professor Emeritus of the History of Medicine at UCL I am also proud to be a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of London.


Despite becoming an historian I never regretted studying medicine and Yale was a fantastic place to do it. I developed a passion for medical history in New Haven and after qualifying moved to King's College Cambridge for my PhD in the history of science and medicine. When UCL gave me my dream job, I was able to facilitate the creation of an academic unit within the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, an exciting time to be shaping the discipline.

I have always been intrigued by the tensions between the science of medicine and its practice.  My interest in the biological dimensions of disease have led me to examine the impact which evolutionary thinking has had on medicine.

I share Helen’s passion for plants and our garden, and follow cricket avidly (one of my most treasured possession is my MCC pass). I'm a hold out for Test Cricket, but then a good ODI and a fast and furious T20...


Backlist favourites:

  • Science and Practice of Medicine in the Nineteenth Century

  • Oxford Dictionary of Scientific Quotations (with Roy Porter)

  • A Cultural History of the Human Body (series editor with Linda Kalof)

  • The Western Medical Tradition (co-author)

  • A Dictionary of the History of Science (with Roy Porter & Janet Browne)