Paul D. Brinkman

Head, Environmental Humanities Research Lab and Curator of Special Collections

121 West Jones Street, Raleigh, NC 27601


  • PhD in History of Science and Technology, University of Minnesota, 2005
  • BA in History and Geology, Augustana College, 1991


  • Adjunct Associate 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. 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. 2018. “John Conrad Hansen (1869-1952) and his scientific illustrations.” Archives of Natural History 45(2): 233-244.
  • Brinkman, P. 2018. “Valuable so far as it goes: establishing zoology at Chicago’s Field Columbian Museum, 1893-1894.” Journal of the History of Collections.
  • Brinkman, P. 2018. “Following the lure: field experience and professional opportunities in turn-of-the-twentieth-century American vertebrate paleontology.” In Naturalists in the Field: Collecting, Recording and Preserving the Natural World from the Fifteenth to the Twenty-First Century. Leiden and Boston: Brill Academic Publishers, pp. 775-805.
  • Brinkman, P. 2016. “Edward Drinker Cope’s final feud.” Archives of Natural History 43(2): 305-320.

Curriculum Vitae

Fields of Research

  • History of Science


  • Environmental Humanities Research Lab