David Baneke


I am a historian of modern science in its cultural and social setting, with a particular interest in astronomy. One of my leading research question is: what do we expect from science, and how did this change over time?

My research topics include:

- history of astronomy and space science in the 20th century;
- Science, diplomacy, and the politics of international cooperation in science;
- the role of science and scientists in modern society, culture and politics;
- the role of universities and science education in modern society and culture.

I have also published book reviews and essays.

I teach history of science at Utrecht University, and I am coordinator of the master's programme History and Philosophy of Science.

I am also involved in organizing the 2019 Annual Meeting of the History of Science Society (HSS) in Utrecht.

Brief CV

I have studied history in Groningen. After graduating, I wrote a small book about the history of the faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences in Groningen. I have spent several months at the University of Aarhus (Denmark) and Imperial College, London.

I obtained my PhD in 2008 at Utrecht University. This resulted in the book Synthetisch Denken, an analysis of intellectual debates about the role of sciences, scientists and engineers in modern society. In 2009 I was awarded the Gold Medal of Teylers Foundation in Haarlem for my work.

As a postdoc in Leiden and the VU Amsterdam, I have looked at the history of astronomy in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, especially the development of the astronomical community and the training of new generations of astronomers. Besides, I catalogued the Leiden Observatory Archives. As Guggenheim Fellow at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, I investigated American-Dutch cooperation in space research during the Cold War.

My book De ontdekkers van de hemel, about the history of the Dutch astronomical community in the twentieth century, appeared in March 2015. It received positive reviews. An English version is in preparation.

I recently published a book on the history of the International Astronomical Union, together with Johannes Andersen and Claus Madsen (forthcoming Springer, spring 2019).

I am currently assistant professor (tenured) at Utrecht University, where I programme coordinator of the master's programme History and Philosophy of Science. I am a member of the Descartes Centre for History and Philosophy of Science.

I teach the masterís courses History of the Natural Sciences and Science and the Dilemmas of Modernity, as well as several smaller courses and regular guest lectures.


I play the double bass. I have played in many (amateur) orchestras and ensembles, including the inimitable Ricciotti Ensemble, the Youth Orchestra of the Netherlands, and the Dutch Student Orchestra (NSO 1998, 2002, 2003). I currently play in Pulcinella Chamber Orchestra.


d.m.baneke#uu.nl / david_baneke#hotmail.com (private)




Reviews Ontdekkers

Reviews Synthetisch Denken