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Robert N. Proctor

Headshot of Robert Proctor

Robert N. Proctor

Professor of History of Science and, by courtesy, of Medicine (Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine)
History of Science
Ph.D., Harvard University 1984, History of Science
M.S., Harvard University 1977, History of Science
B.S., Indiana University (Bloomington) 1976, Biology

My current work centers around the history of scientific controversy, especially in 20th and 21st century science, technology, and medicine. I also work on the history of scientific rhetoric, tobacco and body history, Nazi science, expert witnessing, evolution and human origins, geology and gemstone aesthetics, and the cultural production of ignorance (agnotology). I am presently working on a book ("Darwin in the History of Life") arguing that the 19th century evolution revolution can be seen as an effort to historicize life. I am also finishing a book on the history of the lapidary art ("Agates Eyes") and a book on changing interpretations of the oldest tools ("The Acheulean Enigma").

Selected Publications & Projects

Robert N. Proctor
Gary Cross
From the candy bar to the cigarette, records to roller coasters, a technological revolution during the last quarter of the nineteenth century...
Robert N. Proctor
The cigarette is the deadliest artifact in the history of human civilization. It is also one of the most beguiling, thanks to more than a century of...
Londa Schiebinger, Robert N. Proctor
What don't we know, and why don't we know it? What keeps ignorance alive, or allows it to be used as a political instrument? Agnotology—the study of...