Luis Campos

Campos Book cover

Luis A. Campos is a historian of science whose scholarship brings together archival discoveries with contemporary fieldwork at the intersection of biology and society. He has written widely on the history of genetics, synthetic biology, and astrobiology and is the author of Radium and the Secret of Life (University of Chicago Press, 2015), and co-editor of Making Mutations: Objects, Practices, Contexts (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, 2010) and Nature Remade: Engineering Life, Envisioning Worlds (University of Chicago Press, 2021).

Prof. Campos recently concluded a six-year term as Secretary of the History of Science Society, “the world’s largest society dedicated to understanding science, technology, medicine, and their interactions with society in their historical context.” He is also an associate editor of the Journal of the History of Biology, and recently served as the program chair for the International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology.

Luis Campos Book 2

In 2023, Prof. Campos organized two international conferences on the history of science policy related to genetic engineering: “Engineering Life: Legacies of Asilomar” in Houston and “Engineering Life: Regulating Science, Society, and Risks in Europe” in Paris at the Rice Global Paris Center. He also co-organized a workshop on the “History of Recombinant DNA” in collaboration with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. In 2024 he will be helping to lead the Scientia Institute’s biennial DeLange conference on the theme of “Brave New Worlds: Research, Risk, and Responsibility,” exploring futures of synthetic biology, AI, and environmental engineering. He is also a Faculty Scholar at the Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Prof. Campos received his AB in biology and PhD in the history of science from Harvard University in 1999 and 2006, and his MA in the history and philosophy of science from the University of Cambridge in 2000. He has taught at Drew University and at the University of New Mexico, where he was Regents’ Lecturer and Associate Professor of the History of Science.

Prof. Campos was appointed the Baruch S. Blumberg NASA/Library of Congress Chair of Astrobiology at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. and has served as Scholar-in-Residence at Ginkgo Bioworks (Boston) and as a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University, the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton), Fondation Brocher (Geneva), Akademie Schloss Solitude (Stuttgart), and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (Berlin).

In 2021 he delivered the distinguished George Sarton Memorial Lecture in the History and Philosophy of Science for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Prof. Campos teaches courses in the history of science, atomic history, environmental history, queer history, space history, and the history of biology.


PhD in the History of Science, Harvard University

MA in the History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge

A.B. in Biology, Harvard University

Teaching Areas

History of Science

Atomic History

Environmental History

Queer History

Space History

History of Biology

Societies & Organizations

History of Science Society

International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology

Society for the Social Studies of Science

American Association of University Professors

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Honors & Awards

Baruch S. Blumberg NASA Chair of Astrobiology, Library of Congress

Regents’ Lecturer, University of New Mexico

George Sarton Memorial Lecturer, American Association for the Advancement of Science


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