Rebecca Mertens is a postdoctoral researcher in the history and philosophy of science and a member of the collaborative research program “Practices of Comparison: Ordering and Changing the World” at the University of Bielefeld. Her main interest is on the various uses of analogies in the construction of theoretical models and experimental set ups in the life sciences in the 20th century. Another closely connected point of interest is the role of comparative language in the development of multidisciplinary research areas and agendas in molecular biology and molecular genetics.
In 2016 she received her PhD from the University of Bielefeld, after completing her Masters in a German-French program in the history, philosophy, and sociology of science. In her dissertation she analyzed the role and development of the so-called “lock-and-key-analogy” in biochemical and biomedical research programs in the late 19th and 20th century. She was a visiting student at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris and a visiting graduate fellow at the Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science in Minneapolis. In the course of her work as a coordinator for the German Council of Science and Humanities, Mertens gained experience in the area of science policy and management. Since November 2018 she has been a guest researcher at the GMPG research program, working on comparative semantics in the development and organization of molecular fields of research within the MPG.