My research has been largely in the field of Victorian Studies, with a particular emphasis on the inter-relations between literature and science. My most recent book is The Mind of the Child: Child Development in Literature, Science and Medicine, 1840-1900 (OUP, 2010). Research for the book was supported by a British Academy Readership . Together with Professor Geoffrey Cantor of the Division of the History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Leeds, I directed Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical, a large AHRC, Leverhulme Trust, and MHRA-funded project which analyses the role of science in the mainstream and popular periodical press of the nineteenth century. The project produced three books, and the SciPer Index, a large electronic database which is published free online at www.sciper.org
I am currently extending my work on the interface of literature, science and culture with two large projects, for which I am Principal Investigator. I hold a European Advanced Investigator grant for a five year project, ‘Diseases of Modern Life: Nineteenth-Century Perspectives’. I am also Principal Investigator for a large AHRC four year grant in the field of Science and Culture, on ‘Constructing Scientific Communities: Citizen Science in the 19th and 21st Centuries’. I am working with Dr Gowan Dawson at the University of Leicester, and my colleague in Astrophysics at Oxford, Dr Chris Lintott, and also our partner institutions, the Natural History Museum, the Royal Society, and the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons.