What You Can Find Here

You can find many different things on this website, all of them relevant to the sciences of embryology, development, and reproductive medicine. The things on this site emphasize the histories of those sciences, but they do not neglect other aspects of those sciences. We think that history provides us a route to understand not just old science and its contexts, but also to understand current science and its contexts.

First, you can find encyclopedia articles that describe and explain everything from the people and experiments that made those sciences, to the laws and social contexts that shaped them and were in turn shaped by them. For instance, you can read about how cocaine affects fetuses of mothers who use, but you can also read about the legal disputes that such science informed and how those disputes shaped doctors’ practices.

Second, there are visualizations that help you organize history, like a timeline of the Marine Biological Laboratory, or that help you see hard to describe phenomena, like a drawing of conjoined twins (esophogal).

Third, you can find things like pictures of historical figures, some of their original lectures, or images of their slides. For instance, you can watch John Tyler Bonner’s video of slime mold, as he recorded it through his microscope at Princeton University in the late 1940s.

Fourth, there are Embryo Project Essays, like this introduction to the concept of homology, or a review of a book about the history of embryos. Compared to encyclopedia articles, Embryo Project essays are more scholarly contributions, written by professional scientists, historians, philosophers, sociologists, lawyers, etc., and they often provide arguments in ways that the regular encyclopedia articles don’t. Those essays represent the views of their authors and not necessarily of the Embryo Project editors.

Finally, you can find exhibits, which bundle up any of the above things about a single topic—for instance encyclopedia articles, pictures, and EP Essays about the Spemann-Mangold Organizer—into a single interface so you can learn a lot about that topic from many sources.

We strive to make the Embryo Project Encyclopedia accessible to many audiences. But we don’t aim to oversimplify science or its contexts. We think that clear presentations of science, presentations made easier by highlighting the historical, social, and political contexts of science, open those sciences to more people than just researchers and academics. As we learn better how to clearly present science, we plan to use new technologies and strategies and hope to put new kinds of things in this digital encyclopedia.