Research Initiatives

Biology and Society is home to both traditional and more collaborative research projects that draw on the interdisciplinary strengths of programs in the history and philosophy of science, environmental sciences, and bioethics, policy and law.

Computational History & Philosophy of Science

We use a variety of computational tools and techniques to aid historical and philosophical study of the life sciences.

Developmental Evolution

The Laubichler Developmental Evolution Laboratory develops and deploys computational approaches to reconstruct and interrogate the the social, material, and conceptual evolution of scientific fields. Our research focuses specifically on pivotal innovations in 20th-century biological and biomedical sciences. Learn more

Digital Innovation Group (DigInG)

The Digital Innovation Group (DigInG) brings together students from computer science and the history and philosophy of science to create new and innovative tools, infrastructure, and methods for computational HPS research and training. Learn more

Environmental History, Ecology, and Economics

Biology and Society researchers explore the historical, ethical, philosophical, ecological, and economic dimensions of human interactions with the environment.


The ecoSERVICES Group at ASU studies the causes and consequences of change in ecosystem services – the benefits that people derive from the biophysical environment. We analyse biodiversity change in terms of its impacts on the things that people care about, ranging from food production to disease regulation to the ethical impulse to protect other species. Learn more

Conservation Studies

What obligations do we have toward species and wildlands in a rapidly changing and increasingly human-shaped environment?  How can a better understanding of the American conservation tradition enhance our efforts to secure a biologically and culturally rich environmental future? Learn more

Fire and History, Worlds and Words

We are uniquely fire creatures on a uniquely fire planet.  Contrasting the usual approach to fire as solely a physical phenomenon, our research concentrates on fire as biologically and culturally constructed as well.  We consider all aspects of fire, including issues of industrial combustion and climate change, although attention to pyrotechnologies and urban fire is minor.  Learn more

History & Philosophy of Science

The interdisciplinary field of history and philosophy of science examines the conceptual foundations of science and the connections of science to society.

Carnap Project

The Carnap Project is an intitiative to produce a set of volumes that will contain all of the works of philosopher of science Rudolf Carnap in English, as well as the original language of publication, with introductions from distinguished scholars. Learn more

digital HPS (dHPS) Consortium

Biology and Society is a founding member of the dHPS Consortium—a network that brings together historians and philosophers of science, with informaticians, computer scientists, and reference librarians with the goal of thinking of new ways to integrate traditional scholarship with digital tools and resources. Learn more

Embryo Project

The Embryo Project engages and connects researchers who aim to capture and investigate the history, science, and contexts of embryos in new ways. Learn more

History of Biology Seminar at the MBL

The seminar covers a range of topics and brings together historians, philosophers, biologists, and social scientists in a week-long intensive discussion. Learn more

HPS Repository

The HPS Repository is an open-source, open-access digital repository that seeks to store in a sustainable way the materials that support the digital HPS projects at Biology and Society. The HPS Repository contains thousands of digitized items in formats ranging from video and audio files to photographs to the graph-products of the DigInG group. Materials in the HPS Repository are available to the public under creative commons license, and storage options will soon be open to HPS-related groups. Learn more

MBL History Project

The MBL History Project seeks to bring to public attention the rich history of the Marine Biological Laboratory, located in Woods Hole, MA. The MBL has been home to many award-winning scientists since it opened in 1888, and this project, run through Biology and Society at ASU, documents that history for the public by digitizing the MBL’s rich archives and creating digital exhibits that put the science of the institution into context for the public. Learn more

Life Science Ethics

Biology and Society researchers combine bioethics, environmental ethics, research ethics, and science studies to bring multiple critical perspectives to bear on ethical issues in the life sciences.

Environmental Ethics

Investigation of the ethical context of decision-making in ecological research and biodiversity management, especially under conditions of rapid environmental change. Supported by the National Science Foundation. Learn more

Ethics Education

Ethical engagement is a vital part of the ongoing development of knowledge and practices in the life sciences.  Biology and Society researchers foster engagement through developing and assessing life science ethics education materials. Learn more

Ethics & Governance

Developments in the biosciences in the last half-century have posed new ethical challenges that have strained existing institutions of governance.  This research engages with these emergent ethical issues, attending in particular to changing relationships between science, politics and law in the governance of the life sciences and technologies in contemporary democracies. For more information, please contact Ben Hurlbut.

Neuroscience & Society

Neuroscience and society includes projects on the comparative study of the evolution and development of brains and behavior, emerging technologies for brain repair, psychiatric diagnosis and classification, and the relationship between psychiatry and neuroscience. Learn more

Research Collections

Biology and Society houses important holdings in the history and philosophy of science. For more information, please contact the Center for Biology and Society.

David L. Hull


David L. Hull
The David L. Hull Collection consists of books from the personal library of philosopher of science David L. Hull. Learn more

Richard C. Jeffrey


Richard C. Jeffrey
The Richard C. Jeffrey Collection consists of books and reprints from the personal library of philosopher Richard C. Jeffrey. Learn more

Philip J. Pauly


Philip J. Pauly
The Philip J. Pauly Collection consists of article reprints, books, research notes, manuscripts, and correspondence from historian of science Philip J. Pauly. Learn more

Alfred H. Sturtevant


Alfred H. Sturtevant
The Alfred H. Sturtevant Collection consists of reprints from the personal library of geneticist Alfred H. Sturtevant. Learn more

Research Publications

Biology and Society's faculty and researchers are active and prestigious scholars, publishing well reviewed books, as well as engaging in critical conversations about science and science in society within our ASU community and beyond in both audio and video formats.

Collaborating Centers & Institutions

Biology and Society collaborates with research centers and institutions around the world:

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Center for Biology and Society
PO Box 873301
Tempe, AZ 85287-3301
Phone: 480.965.8927
Fax: 480.965.8330

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