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John Waller
John Waller, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Department: HPS
Address: 307 Berkey Hall
Phone: (517) 353-3898
Email: wallerj1@msu.edu

John Waller, Assistant Professor, History of Medicine (LBC/HST) Dr. Waller received his B.A. in Modern History and his M.Sc. in Human Biology from the University of Oxford, his M.Sc. in History of Science and Medicine from Imperial College, London, and his Ph.D. in the History and Philosophy of Science from University College, London (in 2001). Following his graduate work, he served as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard and as a Research Fellow and Part-time Lecturer at University College, London, and then became a Lecturer in History of Medicine and Biology at the University of Melbourne (Australia).

Dr. Waller's research has largely focused on nineteenth-century medical science and society. He has published four books (with Oxford University Press and Cambridge: Icon Books), is working on a fifth, and has also published seven peer-reviewed articles, and a number of conference articles, reviews, and book chapters. His latest research project is a study of the "dancing mania" that arose in several different locations in sixteenth-century Europe. Dr. Waller will teach courses in the Lyman Briggs College of Science and the Department of History on the history of medicine, psychiatry, and evolutionary biology.

Honors
    2010 -Teacher-Scholar Award, Michigan State University
    2006 -Dean's Teaching Commendation, Melbourne University
    2005 -Dean's Teaching Commendation, Melbourne University
    2001 -Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship (two-year award)


Grants
    National Science Foundation, (Waller), Psychometrics and Self-Fulfilling Prophecies: Reconstructing Debates about Intelligence and Educational Opportunity in Post-WWII United States [2014 -2015] $14,974
    Australian Research Council, (PI: Name, Co-PI: John Waller), N/A [2007 -2009] $250,000

Articles
    2009 'Dancing Plagues and Mass Hysteria,' The Psychologist 22 (July 2009).
    2009 'The Forgotten Plague,' The Lancet (March, 2009).
    2008 'In a Spin: Explaining the Dancing Plague of 1518,' Endeavour (September 2008): 1-6.
    2006 ‘A Real Oliver Twist?’ Camden Historical Review, 2006.
    2005 'Evolution’s Inside Man,' New Scientist, 22 August 2005.
    2005 'Interesting Times: The Melbourne Medical School in its Early Years,' Chiron 5.3 (June 2005): 56-58, with Ann Brothers.
    2005 'Medical Discourses,' in Stefan Berger (ed.), A Companion to Nineteenth-Century Europe, 1789-1914 (Oxford: Blackwell Companions to European History, 2005).


 Books

A Time to Dance, a Time to Die book image
A Time to Dance, a Time to Die:
The Extraordinary Story of the Dancing Plague of 1518
The true story of a wild dancing epidemic that brought death and fear to a 16th-century city, and the terrifying supernatural beliefs from which it arose.In July 1518 a terrifying and mysterious plague struck the medieval city of Strasbourg. Hundreds of men and women danced wildly, day after day, in the punishing summer heat. They did not want to dance, but could not stop. Throughout August and early September more and more were seized by the same terrible compulsion.
Pages: 256
Publisher: Icon Books Ltd
Date Published: September 2008
ISBN-13: 978-1848310216
The Real Oliver Twist: Robert Blincoe: A Life that Illuminates a Violent Age book image
The Real Oliver Twist: Robert Blincoe: A Life that Illuminates a Violent Age
Robert Blincoe's political, personal and turbulent story illuminates the Dickensian age like never before. His life provides an outstanding example of courage and a refusal to be downtrodden.
Pages: 468
Publisher: Icon Books UK
Date Published: February 2007
ISBN-13: 978-1840467277
Leaps in the Dark: The Making of Scientific Reputations book image
Leaps in the Dark: The Making of Scientific Reputations
In Leaps in the Dark, John Waller presents another collection of revelations from the world of science. He considers experiments in which the scientists' awareness was not perhaps as keen as they might have claimed in retrospect; he investigates the jealousy and opposition that scientific ideas can provoke; he celebrates the scientists who were wrong, but for very good reasons; and he demonstrates how national interest can affect scientists and their theories. The result is an entertaining and highly readable re-examination of scientific discoveries and reputations from the Renaissance to the twentieth century. The tales in Leaps in the Dark range across a wide historical field, from a seventeenth-century witch-finder, Joseph Glanvill, to Sir Robert Watson-Watt, the self-proclaimed 'Father of radar'. Each story underscores the rich, fascinating complexity of scientific discovery.
Pages: 300
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Date Published: December 2004
ISBN-13: 978-0192804846
Einstein's Luck: The Truth Behind Some of the Greatest Scientific Discoveries book image
Einstein's Luck: The Truth Behind Some of the Greatest Scientific Discoveries
As John Waller shows in Einstein's Luck, many of our greatest scientists were less than honest about their experimental data. Some were not above using friends in high places to help get their ideas accepted. And some owe their immortality not to any unique discovery but to a combination of astonishing effrontery and their skills as self-promoters.

Here is a catalog of myths debunked and icons shattered. We discover that Louis Pasteur was not above suppressing "awkward" data when it didn't support the case he was making. We also learn that Arthur Eddington's famous experiment that "proved" Einstein's theory of relativity was fudged And while it is true that Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin by lucky accident, he played almost no role in the years of effort to convert penicillin into a usable drug.
Pages: 320
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Date Published: March 2004
ISBN-13: 978-0192805676
Fabulous Science: Fact and Fiction in the History of Scientific Discovery book image
Fabulous Science: Fact and Fiction in the History of Scientific Discovery
The great biologist Louis Pasteur suppressed 'awkward' data because it didn't support the case he was making. John Snow, the 'first epidemiologist' was doing nothing others had not done before. Gregor Mendel, the supposed 'founder of genetics' never grasped the fundamental principles of 'Mendelian' genetics. Joseph Lister's famously clean hospital wards were actually notorious dirty. And Einstein's general relativity was only 'confirmed' in 1919 because an eminent British scientist cooked his figures. These are just some of the revelations explored in this book. Drawing on current history of science scholarship, "Fabulous Science" shows that many of our greatest heroes of science were less than honest about their experimental data and not above using friends in high places to help get their ideas accepted. It also reveals that the alleged revolutionaries of the history of science were often nothing of the sort.
Pages: 308
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Date Published: January 2004
ISBN-13: 978-0198609391
The Discovery of the Germ:<br /> Twenty Years That Transformed The Way We Think About Disease book image
The Discovery of the Germ:
Twenty Years That Transformed The Way We Think About Disease
The discovery of the germ led to safe surgery, large-scale vaccination programs, dramatic improvements in hygiene and sanitation, and the pasteurization of dairy products. Above all, it set the stage for the emergence of antibiotic medicine. This book deals with the ideas and experiments of the giants of microbiology, Pasteur and Koch, as well as less-well known figures such as Casimir-Joseph Davaine and Max von Pettenkofer.
Pages: 200
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Date Published: October 2003
ISBN-13: 978-0231131506