Dr. Sophia Roosth, Associate Professor at New York University, is Max Planck Sabbatical Award Laureate.
Sophia Roosth writes about the contemporary life sciences. She is the author of Synthetic: How Life Got Made (Chicago 2017), an ethnography of synthetic biologists that documents the profound shifts biology has undergone in the post-genomic age. Her next book, The Quick and the Dead (under contract with Chicago), will offer a historically and ethnographically informed travelogue into the worlds of contemporary geobiologists, scientists seeking ancient microbial life-forms fossilized in stone. She has published widely in journals including Critical Inquiry, Representations, Differences, American Anthropologist, Science, and Grey Room, as well as in popular venues such as Slate, The Los Angeles Review of Books, American Scientist, e-flux, and Aeon.
Roosth was previously a Predoctoral Fellow at the MPIWG. She earned her PhD in 2010 in the Program in History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology, and Society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She joined the faculty of the Gallatin School of Individualized Study, New York University in 2021.
While at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, she will extend her own research into how earth scientists learn to think about geological time. In her project Time Scales: Historicizing Deep Time, Roosth will collaborate with colleagues at the MPIWG and other historians of science to collectively address how researchers in the geological sciences and allied natural and exact sciences (such as astronomy, climatology, glaciology, and cosmology) have conceived of, conceptualized, and delineated deep time. How, for example, do researchers define local and global time periods? What methods, techniques, and material supports assist them in marking, cataloging, and (especially) understanding deep time?