Living Matter Under the Microscope: Protoplasm Theory, “wissenschaftliche Mikroskopie,” and the Molecularization of Cell Structure, 1840–1940
Post-Doc Projekt von Dr. Daniel Liu
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) - Projektnummer 463389772
From the 1860s to the 1940s protoplasm theory existed alongside cell theory and Darwinian evolution as one of the three core theoretical foundations of modern biology. During this period biologists of all sorts were unanimous in identifying protoplasm—the moving, reactive, and metabolizing part of the cell—as “living matter” and the material substrate of life itself. The objectives of the proposed project are: 1. Reconstruct the history of protoplasm theory’s development, decline, and impact on the life sciences; 2. Situate the history of cell and protoplasm theory in the technical and social history of “wissenschaftliche Mikroskopie” as the latter developed into an independent, auxiliary science in the German-speaking lands; and 3. Show how protoplasm theory and microscopy were important routes through which theories and methods in the physical sciences were brought into the life sciences, therefore laying the groundwork for post-WWII molecular and structural biology.
For an english description, please see here.