Research: Ute Deichmann

Ute Deichmann

is Research professor at LBI and Adjunct Full Professor at the Department of Philosophy at Ben Gurion University. She is the director of the Jacques Loeb Centre for the History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences at this university. Her work has focused on the biological and chemical sciences in the 19th and 20th centuries, where she has reviewed the history of experiments and theories on the one hand and examined political, social, and personal factors and their impact on the advancement of science on the other. In 1995 she was recipient of the Ladislaus Laszt Award of Ben-Gurion University and in 2005 of the Gmelin Beilstein Medal of the Society of German Chemists. In 2011, she received the Outstanding Paper Award from the Division of the History of Chemistry of the American Chemical Society for her article “‘Molecular’ versus ‘Colloidal’: Controversies in Biology and Biochemistry, 1900-1940” (see below). With Deichmann as the director, Anthony S. Travis, a longstanding senior research fellow in the LBI project as vice director, and Ulrich Charpa as member of the international advisory board, the Jacques Loeb Centre at Ben-Gurion University cooperates in various ways with the LBI project “Jews in German-speaking academia”.

Book publications:

– (Co-Ed. with E. Davidson & M. Morange) Animal evolution as the reformulation of developmental gene regulatory programs: Historical origins and current impact on research and theory. Special Section Developmental Biology 357,1/2011. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

– (with A. S. Travis) eds., Darwinism and Functional Biology, Other Sciences, and the Humanities (Journal for General Philosophy of Science, Special Issue 1), Dordrecht: Springer 2009.

– (with Anthony S. Travis, eds.), “Philosophies in Modern Biology”, History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, vol. 30.1 (2008).

– (with Ulrich Charpa, eds.), Jews and Sciences in German Contexts. Case Studies from the 19th and 20th Centuries, Tübingen 2007: Mohr-Siebeck.

– (with Simone Wenkel, eds.), Max Delbrück and Cologne. An Early Chapter of German Molecular Biology, New Jersey 2007: World Scientific.

– (with Ulrich Charpa eds.), ‘Schwerpunkt Wissenschaftsgeschichte’, Yearbook of the Simon Dubnow Institute, Vol. 3, Göttingen 2004: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, S. 149-312.

– Flüchten, Mitmachen, Vergessen. Chemiker und Biochemiker im Nationalsozialismus, Weinheim 2001: Wiley/VCH.

a) Biologen unter Hitler. Vertreibung, Karrieren, Forschung, Frankfurt 1992: Campus. Second edition: Biologen unter Hitler. Portrait einer Wissenschaft im NS-Staat, Frankfurt 1995: Fischer.
b) Biologists under Hitler, Cambridge, London 1996: Harvard University Press, (a revised and enlarged version of Biologen unter Hitler, translated by Thomas Dunlap).

Recent papers:

– “Chemistry and Engineering Life around 1900 – Research and Reflections by Jacques Loeb”, Biological Theory 4 (4), pp. 323-332.

– “Gemmules and Elements: On Darwin’s and Mendel’s Concepts and Methods in Heredity”, in Darwinism, Philosophy, and Experimental  Biology (see above) pp. 31-58.


– “Early 20th Century Research at the Interfaces of Genetics, Development, and Evolution: Reflections on Progress and Dead Ends”, Developmental Biology (forthcoming).

– “Different Methods and Metaphysics in Early Molecular Genetics – A Case of Disparity of Research?”, in: History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 2008/30, pp. 57-82.

– “Challenging the Protein Dogma of the Gene: Oswald T. Avery – a Revolutionary Conservative”, in: Oren Harman and Michael Dietrich (eds.), Rebels of Life: Iconoclastic Biologists of the Twentieth Century, New Haven 2008: Yale University Press, pp. 154-173.

– “Politik und Forschung: Heinrich Wieland und andere Chemiker in der NS-Zeit”, in: Sibylle Wieland, Anne-Barb Hertkorn, Franziska Dunkel (eds.), Heinrich Wieland. Naturforscher, Nobelpreisträger und Willstätters Uhr, Wiley-VCH,  2008, pp. 81-114.

– ““Molecular” versus “Colloidal”: Controversies in Biology and Biochemistry, 1900–1940”, in: Bulletin for the History of Chemistry 32, 105-118, 2007.

– (with Ulrich Charpa) “Problems, Phenomena, Explanatory Approaches – Introduction by the Editors”, in: Charpa and Deichmann, Jews and Sciences in German Contexts, pp. 3-36.

– “‘I Detest his Way of Working’. Leonor Michaelis (1875-1949), Emil Abderhalden (1877-1950) and Jewish and non-Jewish Biochemists in Germany”, in: Charpa and Deichmann, Jews and Sciences in German Contexts, pp. 101-126.

– “Empiricism and the Discreteness of Nature: Ferdinand Cohn (1828-1998), the Founder of Microbiology”, in: Charpa and Deichmann, Jews and Sciences in German Contexts (2007), pp. 39-50.

– “A Brief Review of the Early History of Genetics and its Relationship to Physics and Chemistry”, in: Wenkel and Deichmann, Max Delbrück in Cologne. An Early Chapter of German Molecular Biology, pp. 3-18.

– (with Ulrich Charpa) “Jewish Scientists as Geniuses and Epigones – Scientific Practices and Attitudes towards them: Albert Einstein, Ferdinand Cohn, Richard Goldschmidt”, in: Studia Rosenthaliana, 40, 12-55, 2007.

– “Collective Phenomena and the Neglect of Molecules: An Historical Outlook on Biology”, in: History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 29, 83-92, 2007.

– “Botaniker und Zoologen der Universität Heidelberg”, in Wolfgang U. Eckart et al. (eds.) Die Universität Heidelberg im Nationalsozialismus, Springer Verlag: Heidelberg, 2006, pp. 1195-1211.

– “Vertrauen, Betrug und Politik: Proteinforschung in Deutschland während der NS-Zeit”, in: Expeditionen in die Wissenschaft, Weinheim: Wiley-VCH, 2006, pp. 21-37.

– “‘Dem Duce, dem Tenno und unserem Führer ein dreifaches Sieg Heil!’ Die Deutsche Chemische Gesellschaft und der Verein deutscher Chemiker in der NS-Zeit”, in: Dieter Hoffmann and Mark Walker (eds.) Physiker zwischen Autonomie und Anpassung. Die Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft im Dritten Reich, Weinheim: Wiley-VCH, 2006, pp. 459-498.

– “Biochemie an den Reichsuniversitäten in Straßburg und Posen. Wissenschaft, Betrug und Verbrechen”, in: Christian Baechler et al. (eds.) Les Reichsuniversitäten de Strasbourg et de Poznan et les résistances universitaires, 1941-1944, Strasbourg: Presses Universitaires de Strasbourg, 2005, pp. 127-141.

– “La biologie et la chimie á Reichsuniversität de Strasbourg entre 1941-1945. Science ou idéologie national-socialiste?”, in Elisabeth Crawford and Josiane Olff-Nathan (eds.) La science sous influence. L’ université de Strasbourg enjeu des conflits franco-allemands 1872-1945, Strasbourg: Editions de la Nuée Bleue, 2005, pp. 275-287.

– “Jewish Refugee Scientists”, in: Thomas Adam (ed.) Germany and the Americas. Culture, Politics and History, Santa Barbara: ABC-Clio Transatlantic Series, 2005, pp. 575-586.

– (with Ulrich Charpa) “Vertrauensvorschuß und wissenschaftliches Fehlhandeln – Eine reliabilistische Modellierung der Fälle Abderhalden, Goldschmidt, Moewus und Waldschmidt-Leitz”, Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte 27,  2004, pp. 187-204.

– “Erfolg und Fachdisziplin – Juden in Chemie und Biomedizin in Deutschland bis 1933”, in: Yearbook of the Simon Dubnow Institute 3, pp. 269-292, 2004.

– (with Ulrich Charpa) “Jews in the Sciences – Sciences and the Jews – The 19th and 20th Centuries: Introductory Remarks”, in: Yearbook of the Simon Dubnow Institute 3,  pp. 149-159, 2004.

– “Early Responses to Avery’s et al.’s 1944 Paper on DNA as Hereditary Material”, in: Historical Studies in the Physical and Biological Sciences 34:2, pp. 207-233, 2004.

– (with Anthony S. Travis) “A German Influence on Science in Mandate Palestine and Israel: Chemistry and Biochemistry”, in: Israel Studies 9.2, pp. 34-70, 2004.

– “Proteinforschung an Kaiser-Wilhelm-Instituten 1930-1950 im internationalen Vergleich”, Ergebnisse 21, Präsidentenkommission “Geschichte der Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gesellschaft im Nationalsozialismus” der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, pp. 44, 2004.

– “Politische Ökologie, biologische, chemische und medizinische Umweltforschung in der NS-Zeit”, in: Acta Historica Leopoldina 39, pp. 117-134, 2004.

E-mail Ute Deichmann