The molecular vista: current perspectives on molecules and life in the twentieth century

Mathias Grote, Lisa Onaga, Angela N.H. Creager, Soraya de Chadarevian, Daniel Liu, Gina Surita, Sarah E. Tracy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This essay considers how scholarly approaches to the development of molecular biology have too often narrowed the historical aperture to genes, overlooking the ways in which other objects and processes contributed to the molecularization of life. From structural and dynamic studies of biomolecules to cellular membranes and organelles to metabolism and nutrition, new work by historians, philosophers, and STS scholars of the life sciences has revitalized older issues, such as the relationship of life to matter, or of physicochemical inquiries to biology. This scholarship points to a novel molecular vista that opens up a pluralist view of molecularizations in the twentieth century and considers their relevance to current science.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number16
JournalHistory and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • History
  • History and Philosophy of Science


  • Chemistry
  • Historiography
  • Molecular Biology
  • Molecular Genetics
  • Molecularization
  • Nutrition
  • Physical Science
  • Structural Biology


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