You are here

Biotech Origins in the Bay Area

You are here

A Community History

Biotech has been built on interconnections, collaborations, and breakthroughs. While the extensive literature on the emergence of this field details key moments and institutions, histories of and by the San Francisco Bay Area community of practitioners have yet to be told. This Science History Institute project gives these Bay Area practitioners the opportunity to become directly involved in capturing the history of their community. By telling the stories of their intertwined lives and careers and by contributing photographs, publications, and other relevant research material, Bay Area practitioners will be central in documenting the creation and development of the Bay Area community itself.

Uncovering the history of this complex community requires new methods of research. This “emergent history” project uses unique digital information technologies to record, organize, and make available for discussion different media that participants contribute to the project. Doing so allows the Institute to study and understand the relationship among the historical accounts, artifacts, and information, creating a complex system of narrative—something like a genome of history. 


Key Elements of the Project

Online Community Site: Capturing conversations and other historical artifacts in a digital space allows individuals to engage in online discussion as if they were in the same room.

Individual and Community Oral Histories: Generating interviews and oral histories will be a key feature of the community site.

Sharing the Conversation: Live events will bring the conversation offline and place it onstage.

Tracking and Mapping the Community: Researchers working on the project will perform regular historical analyses to track and map conversational threads, place them into the context of larger historical developments, and produce network maps of individuals, institutions, and ideas.


Get Involved

If you are interested, or would like more information, please contact Michael Hammerschmidt at communityhistory@sciencehistory.org or (617) 500-8668.