Notre invité sera Charles Kollmer (doctorant, Princeton University). Son intervention portera sur le sujet suivant:
"From the Elephant to the Bacterium: Microbes, Metabolism, and the Chemistry of Life"
During the interwar period, microbes took on a new role in the laboratory. They became exemplary life forms, used to shed light on the chemistry of metabolism. Where microbiologists working in the late nineteenth century had emphasized the specificity of microbial fermentation and infections, interwar microbiologists cultivated a different expertise; by paying careful attention to what microbes ate and excreted, these investigators extrapolated general theories of how living things obtain the energy that sustains them. From this work emerged compelling evidence for life's biochemical unity, an idea that would have profound effects for the shape of biology to come. In my dissertation, I trace the transformation of microbiology in the interwar period by comparing research conducted by microbiologists in the Netherlands, Germany, Great Britain, France, and the United States. This talk will feature a presentation of one of these case studies and a discussion of its implications for my broader argument.