Didactique des Sciences

Science education and history of science

University of Geneva
Institut Universitaire de Formation des Enseignants (IUFE)
Pavillon Mail 40
Bd du Pont-d’Arve
CH -1211 Geneva 4

Professeur Bruno StrasserBruno J. Strasser

Professor, Section of Biology
and IUFE, University of Geneva
Adjunct professor, Yale University
Tel +41 22 379 0712


Céline Brockmann, scientific collaborator, Bioscope. Celine.Brockmann@unige.ch
Kostas Kampourakis, scientific collaborator, Bioscope. Kostas.Kampourakis@unige.ch
Rémy Kopp, lecturer, IUFE. Remy.Kopp@unige.ch
François Lombard, lecturer, IUFE. Francois.Lombard@unige.ch
Patricia Silveira, assistant, IUFE. Patricia.Silveira@unige.ch
Candice Yvon, scientific collaborator, Bioscope. Candice.Yvon@unige.ch


Bruno J. Strasser’s research focuses on the history of the life sciences and science education. His first book, La fabrique d’une nouvelle science: La biologie moléculaire à l’âge atomique, 1945-1964 explores the emergence of molecular biology as new scientific discipline and professional identity in the atomic age. It received the Henry-E. Sigerist prize 2006.

He is currently working on a new book project on collections and data banks in 20th century life sciences. He has published on the history of international scientific cooperation during the Cold War, the interactions between experimental science and clinical medicine, the transformations of the pharmaceutical industry, the development of scientific instrumentation, the role of collective memory, and the relationships between science and society. He has developed an outreach lab, the Bioscope.

Past appointments

  • Assistant professor, Yale University
  • Visiting professor, University of Manchester
  • Visiting professor, University of Barcelona
  • Visiting fellow, Princeton University
  • Senior lecturer, University of Lausanne
  • Research fellow, Max Planck Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Berlin
  • Research fellow, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris
  • PhD University of Geneva and University of Paris 7 (2002)


Books and edited volumes

  • Strasser BJ (2014) Biomedicine: Meanings, assumptions, and possible futures (Document SSIC 6/2013), Berne: CSST (pdf)
  • Strasser BJ (2006) La fabrique d’une nouvelle science, La biologie moléculaire à l’âge atomique, 1945-1964, Florence: Olschki. Awarded the Henry-E. Sigerist Prize 2006. (pdf)
  • Strasser BJ and Bürgi M, Eds. (2005). Science, Industry and the State in the XXth Century, special issue of the Revue Suisse d’Histoire, 55(1)
  • Strasser BJ and Chadarevian S, Eds. (2002). Molecular Biology in Post-War Europe, special issue of Studies in the History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 33(3)

Papers (selection)

  • Kampourakis, K and Strasser, BJ (2014), « The Evolutionist, the Creationist, and the ‘Unsure’: Picking-Up the Wrong Fight? », International Journal of Science Education, Part B: Communication and Public Engagement (article)
  • Kampourakis, K, Reydon, TAC, Patrinos, GP and Strasser, BJ (2014), “Genetics and Society- Educating Scientifically Literate Citizens”, Science & Education, 23(2), 251-258 (pdf)
  • Strasser BJ (2012) “Practices, Styles, and Narratives: Collecting in the History of the Life Sciences », Osiris, 27(1), 303-340 (pdf)
  • Strasser BJ (2012) “Data-driven sciences: From wonder cabinets to electronic databases”, Studies in the History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 43, 85-87 (pdf)
  • Strasser, BJ and de Chadarevian, S (2011), « The Comparative and the Exemplary: Revisiting the History of Molecular Biology « , History of Science, xlix, 317-336 (pdf)
  • Strasser, BJ (2011), « The Experimenter’s Museum: GenBank, Natural History, and the Moral Economies of Biomedicine, 1979-1982″, Isis, 102, 60-96 (pdf)
  •  Strasser, BJ (2010), “Collecting, comparing, and computing sequences: The making of Margaret O. Dayhoff’s Atlas of Protein Sequences and Structure, 1954-1965”, Journal of the History of Biology, 43, 623-660 (pdf)
  • Strasser, BJ (2010), “Laboratories, Museums, and the Comparative Perspective: Alan A. Boyden’s Serological Taxonomy, 1925-1962”, Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences, 40(2), 149-182 (pdf)
  • Strasser, BJ (2009), “The Co-Production of Neutral Science and Neutral State in Cold War Europe: Switzerland and International Scientific Cooperation, 1951–1969”, Osiris, 24, 165-187 (pdf)
  • Joye-Cagnard, F. and Strasser BJ (2009), “Energie atomique, guerre froide et neutralité: La Suisse et le plan ‘Atomes pour la Paix’, 1945–1957”, Traverses, 2, 37-53 (pdf)
  • Bürgi, M. and Strasser, BJ (2009), “Pharma in Transition – New Approaches to Drug Development at F. Hoffmann-La Roche & Co., 1960–1980”. In: Perspectives on 20th-Century Pharmaceuticals, edited by V. Quirke and J. Slinn, Oxford: Peter Lang, 391-432 (pdf)
  • Strasser, BJ (2008). “GenBank: Natural History in the 21st Century?” Science 322: 537-538 (pdf)
  • Strasser, BJ (2008). “Magic Bullets and Wonder Pills: Making Drugs and Diseases in the Twentieth Century”, Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences 38 (2), 303-12 (pdf)
  • Strasser, BJ (2007) “Collectionner ou expérimenter ? Les bases de données bioinformatiques, un nouveau lieu de production du savoir”, In: Les lieux de savoir, edited by C. Jacob, Paris: Albin Michel, 681-703 (pdf)
  • Strasser, BJ (2006), “A World in One Dimension: Linus Pauling, Francis Crick and the Central Dogma of Molecular Biology”, History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, 28, 491-512 (pdf)
  • Strasser, BJ (2006), “UNESCO and the Life Sciences: International Scientific Cooperation During the Cold War”. In: Sixty Years of Science at UNESCO 1945-2005, edited by P. Petitjean. Paris: UNESCO, 60-65
  • Strasser, BJ (2006) “Collecting and Experimenting: The moral economies of biological research, 1960s-1980s.”, Preprints of the Max-Planck Institute for the History of Science, 310 (pdf)
  • Strasser, BJ et Joye, F (2005) “L’atome, l’espace et les molécules : La coopération scientifique internationale comme nouvel outil de la diplomatie helvétique (1951-1969)”. Relations Internationales, 121, 59-72 (pdf)
  • Strasser, BJ et Joye, F (2005) “Une science « neutre » dans la Guerre froide ? La Suisse et la coopération scientifique européenne (1951-1969)”. Revue Suisse d’Histoire, 55(1), 95-112 (pdf)
  • Strasser BJ and Bürgi M, (2005). “L’histoire des sciences, une histoire à part entière ?” Revue Suisse d’Histoire, 55(1), 3-16 (pdf)
  • Strasser BJ and Dubochet J (2005), “Orbituary: Eduard Kellenberger (1920-2004)”, Nature, 433, 817 (pdf)
  • Strasser BJ (2004) “Microscopy : from Abbe to the scanning electron microscope.”, Storia della scienza, edited by S. Petrucciolo, Rome, Instituto della Encoclopedia Italiana, 8, 753-758
  • Strasser BJ (2003) “Who cares about the double helix ?”, Nature, 422, 803-804 (pdf)
  • Strasser BJ (2003) “The transformation of biological sciences in post-war Europe: EMBO and the early days of European molecular biology research”, EMBO Reports, 4(6), 540-543 (pdf)
  • Strasser BJ (2002) “Institutionalizing Molecular Biology in Post-War Europe: A Comparative Study”, Studies in the History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 33, 533-564 (pdf)
  • de Chadarevian S et Strasser BJ (2002). “Molecular Biology in Post-War Europe: Towards a ‘Glocal’ Picture” Studies in the History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 33, 361-365 (pdf)
  • Strasser BJ (2002) ”Linus Pauling’s ‘Molecular Diseases’, Between History and Memory”, Amercian Journal of Medical Genetics, 115, 83-93 (pdf)
  • Strasser BJ (2002) “Microscopes électroniques, totems de laboratoires et réseaux transnationaux: L’émergence de la biologie moléculaire à Genève (1945-1960)”, Revue d’Histoire des Sciences, 55(1), 5-53 (pdf)
  • Strasser BJ (1999) “‘Sickle Cell Anemia, a Molecular Disease’”, Science, 286, 1488-1490 (pdf)

Book reviews (selection)

  • Strasser BJ (2010) “Review of: Lynch, M., Cole, S.A., Mc-Nally, R., Jordan, K., 2008,  Truth Machine: The Contentious History of DNA Fingerprinting.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008, Isis 101(1), 260-261 (pdf)
  • Strasser BJ (2007) “Review of: Doel R.E., Söderqvist T., 2006, The Historiography of Science, Technology, and Medicine : Writing Recent Science, New York: Routledge”, Isis 98(4), 867-868 (pdf)
  • Strasser BJ (2007), “How Alternative is Alternative Medicine?”, Nature Medicine, 13(7), 775 (pdf)
  • Strasser BJ (2004) “A Scientific Entrepreneur: Review of Berg, P. and Singer, M. (2003) George Beadle: An Uncommon Farmer. The Emergence of Genetics in the 20th Century », American Scientist, 92, 176-178 (pdf)
  • Strasser BJ (2003) “Review of : Holmes, F. L. (2001). Meselson, Stahl, and the Replication of DNA”Isis, 94(3), 558-560 (pdf)
  • Strasser BJ (2003) “Review of : Summers, W. C. (1999), Félix d’Hérelle and the Origins of Molecular Biology”, Journal of the History of Biology, 33, 191-194 (pdf)
  • Strasser BJ (1999) “Review of : Molecularizing Biology and Medicine, New Practices and Alliances, 1910s to 1970s”History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, 21 (1), 120-121
  • Strasser BJ (1999) “Review of : Friedberg, E. C. (1997), Correcting the Blueprint of LifeHistory and Philosophy of the Life Science, 21(1): 397-399
  • Strasser BJ (1999) “Molecular Biology, Macroscopic History”, BioScience, 49(11), 929-931 (pdf)
  • Strasser BJ (1999) “DNA: A Story of a Thousand Heroes”, BioScience, 49(3), 241-243 (pdf)