Credit: Universitätsbibliothek Augsburg, Anatoli Oskin
I am a PhD student in the History of Science, based at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Munich. My doctoral project explores the science of snowflakes from the early 17th to the 20th century. I am particularly focusing on practices of observation and visualisation, and how these related to different environments in which snowflakes were studied. This project is designed to shed light on the value of studying snowflakes to scientists, how and where these objects have been known and pictured, and how important these elements were to our understanding of the natural world. The project is being carried out as part of the international doctoral programme ‘Rethinking Environment: The Environmental Humanities and the Ecological Transformation of Society‘, run jointly by the Environmental Science Center WZU (Augsburg) and the Rachel Carson Center.
As a historian of science I am mainly interested in histories of the physical and earth sciences, including their material and visual cultures. I am also broadly interested in the socio-political dimension of this kind of scientific knowledge and practice, particularly as it relates to contemporary debates about climate science and geoengineering. My previous work has focused on episodes in the history of 18th-century Dutch science, including the meaning of “useful” science and the emergence of electrotherapeutic theory and practice.

Research Interests:

  • Earth and environmental sciences
  • Visual culture of science
  • Geographies of science
  • Environmental history
  • Environmental humanities


Floris Winckel

Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society

Leopoldstraße 11A
80802 München