Alex Aylward

Alex Aylward

PhD Student

Summary: Population Genetics as a Human Science


My current doctoral research revisits the origins of theoretical population genetics (ca. 1915-1935), asking how far the emergence of this discipline can be understood as a contribution to the project of understanding and controlling human heredity and evolution.

Research Interests

History and Philosophy of Biology; Historiography; Philosophy of Science in Practice; Science and Literature; Feminist Science Studies

See more here


Prof Gregory Radick


Aylward, AM. (2017). Book Review. Science as It Could Have Been: Discussing the Contingency/Inevitability Problem. British Journal for the History of Science. 50(2), 379-81. Available online here.

Conference Presentations & Talks 

'Not a 'book on evolution': Reason(s) and representation in science and HPS' - Get Real! Realism as a goal for the sciences and for HPS, September 2017 (Leeds, UK)

''... a veritable key of the future': The nature of selection in R. A. Fisher (1890-1962)' - British Society for the History of Science Annual Conference, July 2017 (York, UK)

''Beyond versus': Towards a resolution of the contingentism vs. inevitabilism debate' - Annual UK Integrated History and Philosophy Workshop, June 2017 (Nottingham, UK)

'How Fisher became Fisherian: The making of the populational gene' - University of Leeds HPS Work-in-Progress seminar, June 2017 (Leeds, UK)

'H. G. Wells and the identity of the 'scientist,' 1895-1925: Negotiations in Nature and the novel' - British Society forthe History of Science Postgraduate Conference, April 2017 (Florence, Italy)

'The vitalism controversy at the Royal College of Surgeons, 1814-19: How IHPS can bring new life to a controversy about life (which has been done to death)' - The Past, Present and Future of IHPS: An International Postgraduate Forum, January 2017 (Leeds, UK)

'What's in a word? H. G. Wells and the identity of the 'scientist' in British popular writing, 1895-1925' - International Conference on Science and Literature, September 2016 (Poellau, Austria)

'Between distance and domination: Feminism, experimentalism, and the manipulation of nature' - British Society for the Philosophy of Science Annual Conference, July 2016 (Cardiff, UK) and London Philosophy of Science Graduate Conference, September 2016 (London, UK)

'The vitalism controversy in early nineteenth-century Britain: packaged-histories and faulty fault-lines' - British Society for the History of Science Postgraduate Conference, January 2016 (Cambridge, UK)

'Does Hacking get the most from his microscopes?' - Congress on Logic, Methodology, and Philosophy of Science, August 2015 (Helsinki, Finland)


MPhil History, Philosophy, and Sociology of Science, Technology, and Medicine, University of Cambridge (2016)

BA Natural Sciences, University of Cambridge (2015)


Semester 1, 2017-18: Tutoring on the Level 1 module 'Introduction to the History of Science'

Public Engagement

During October 2017, I led a reading group at Ilkley Literature Festival on H. G. Wells' classic scientific romance, The Time Machine (1895).

Awards and Scholarships

University of Leeds Anniversary Research Scholarship, 2016-2019

University of Cambridge Jacob Bronowski Prize in History and Philosophy of Science, 2015