Paul Brinkman

Head, History of Science Research Lab and Curator of Special Collections

121 West Jones Street, Raleigh, NC 27601


  • Ph.D. in History of Science and Technology, University of Minnesota, 2005
  • B.A. in History and Geology, Augustana College, 1991


  • Teaching Assistant Professor, History Department, North Carolina State University
  • Library Research Associate, The Field Museum

Research Interests

Dr. Brinkman is a historian of science specializing in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century natural sciences, especially geology and vertebrate paleontology. He is also interested in the history of museums; the spread of science from Europe to the New World; the trans-Atlantic exchanges of specimens and ideas; and the life and work of Charles Darwin, his contemporaries, and their contributions to geology, paleontology, and biogeography. Of particular interest is the question of what Darwin did during the voyage of HMS Beagle and how this influenced his thinking about the mutability of species.

His approach to history of science is largely sociological: science was what scientists did. He writes narrative accounts of scientific events that reconstruct scientific practice – what scientists did, how they did it, and how this affected their results. He tries to practice what he calls "hands-on" history as much as possible. Likewise, he aspires to write the kind of micro-historical narrative that places the reader in the boots of the naturalist with a Marsh pick or a plant press in hand.

Peer-Reviewed Publications

  • Brinkman, P. and Vizcaíno, S. 2014. “Clemente Onelli’s sketch map and his first-hand, retrospective account of an early fossil-hunting expedition along the Río Santa Cruz, southern Patagonia, 1888-1889.” Archives of Natural History 41(2): 326-337.
  • Brinkman, P. 2013. “Red Deer River shakedown: a history of the Captain Marshall Field Paleontological Expedition to Alberta, 1922.” Earth Sciences History 32(2): 204-234.
  • Brinkman, P. 2010. The Second Jurassic Dinosaur Rush: Museums & Paleontology in America at the Turn of the Twentieth Century. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.
  • Brinkman, P. 2010. "Charles Darwin’s Beagle voyage, fossil vertebrate succession, and the gradual birth & death of species." Journal of the History of Biology 43(1): 363–399.
  • Brinkman, P. 2009. "Dinosaurs, museums, and the modernization of American fossil preparation at the turn of the 20th century." Methods in Fossil Preparation: Proceedings of the First Annual Fossil Preparation and Collections Symposium 21–34.
  • Brinkman, P. 2009. "Frederic Ward Putnam, Chicago’s cultural philanthropists, and the founding of the Field Museum. Museum History Journal 2(1): 73–100.
  • Brinkman, P. 2005. Henry Fairfield Osborn and Jurassic dinosaur reconnaissance in the San Juan Basin, along the Colorado-Utah border, 1893–1900. Earth Sciences History 24(2): 159–174.

Fields of Research

  • History of Science


  • History of Science Research Lab