Professor Janet Browne


University Professorial Fellow

Janet’s interests range widely over the history of the life sciences and natural history. After a first degree in zoology she studied for a PhD in the history of science at Imperial College London, published as The Secular Ark: Studies in the History of Biogeography (1983). Ever since then she has specialised in reassessing Charles Darwin’s work, first as associate editor of the early volumes of The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, and more recently as author of a major biographical study that integrated Darwin’s science with his life and times. While it was framed as a biographical study, the intention was to explore the ways in which scientific knowledge was created, distributed and accepted, moving from private to public, as reflected in the two-volume structure of the work.

She was based for many years at the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at University College London where she taught in the MA, MSc and undergraduate programs in the history of science, biology, and medicine. She has been editor of the British Journal for the History of Science and president of the British Society for the History of Science.

Research Interests

  • History of Biology
  • History of Environmental Studies

Open all | Close all

Publications & Resources


Desmond, A., Moore, J., & Browne, J. (2007) Charles Darwin. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. 

Browne, J. (2006) Darwin's Origin of Species: A Biography. Crows Nest, Australia: Allen & Unwin.

Browne, J. (2002). Charles Darwin: The Power of Place. Knopf Publishing Group.

Browne, J. (1995). Charles Darwin: Voyaging. Princeton University Press.

Book Chapters

Browne, J. (2005). Do collections make the collector? In M. Beretta (Ed), From Private to Public: Natural Collections and Museums (pp. 171-187). Science History Publications.

Browne, J. (2005). Constructing Darwinism in Literary Culture. In A.J. Zweirlein (ed.), Unmapped Countries: Biological Visions in Nineteenth Century Literature and Culture (pp. 55-70). London Anthem Press.

Browne, J. (2003). Noah’s Ark and the Flood. In R. Numbers & D. Lindberg (eds.), When Science and Christianity Meet (pp.111-138). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 

Browne, J. (2001). Darwin. In J.A. Palmer (ed.), Fifty Key Thinkers on the Environment (pp.100-106). London: Routledge.

Browne, J. (2000). Darwin. Encyclopedia of Global Environmental Change. Wiley.

Browne, J. (2000). Darwin. Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature (3rd Edition pp. 2537-2541). Cambridge University Press.

Browne, J. (2000). I could have retched all night: Charles Darwin and his body. Reprinted in L. Schiebinger (ed.), Feminism and the Body (pp. 317-354). Oxford University Press.

Browne, J. (1998). I could have retched all night: Charles Darwin and his body. In C. Lawrence & S. Shapin (eds.), Science Incarnate: Historical embodiments of Natural Knowledge (pp. 240-287). University of Chicago Press.

Browne, J. (1997). Une science imperialiste: l’histoire naturelle britannique et les voyages d’exploration de Banks a Darwin. In C. Blanckaert (ed.), Le Museum au premier siecle de son histoire (pp. 197-210). Paris, Archives du Museum  nationale d’ Histoire Naturelle.

Journal Articles

Browne, J. (2010). Making Darwin: Biography and the Changing Representations of Charles Darwin. Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 40(3), 347–373. doi:10.1162/jinh.2010.40.3.347

Browne, J. (2009). Darwin the Scientist. Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology, 74, 1–7. doi:10.1101/sqb.2009.74.047.

Browne, J. (2005). Presidential Address: Commemorating Darwin. British Journal for the History of Science, 38(3), 251-274. doi: 10.1017/S0007087405006977.

Browne, J. (2003). Charles Darwin as a Celebrity. Science in Context, 16, 175–194. doi:10.1017/S0269889703000772.

Browne, J. (2001). Darwin in Caricature: A Study in the Popularisation and Dissemination of Evolution. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 145(4), 496-509.

Browne, J. (2001). A CD-Rom on Medicine in Literature. Health Information and Libraries Journal, 18(3), 156-158. doi: 10.1046/j.1471-1842.2001.00332.x.

Professional Positions, Memberships & Awards

Professional Positions

  • Aramont Professor of the History of Science
  • Chair, Department of the History of Science


  • James Tait Black award for non-fiction
  • WH.Heinemann Prize from the Royal Literary Society
  • Pfizer Prize from the History of Science Society
Janet Browne



Harvard University
Cambridge MA, USA