Professor Sachiko Kusukawa

Honorary Professor of History of Science, University of Cambridge
Fellow in History and Philosophy of Science, Trinity College

My research specialism is in history of science, cultural and intellectual history, and the history of the book.  I have published on Protestant natural philosophy,  university textbooks and libraries, and visual arguments in illustrated scientific books.

Recent research has focused on the observational, descriptive and pictorial practices in the development and production of scientific knowledge in the early modern period (1500-1720). My work on visual arguments in sixteenth-century botanical and anatomical works  has resulted in a monograph (Picturing the book of nature, University of Chicago Press, 2012).

I was a co-investigator in the AHRC-funded research project on 'Diagrams, figures and the transformation of astronomy 1450-1650' (Dept of History and Philosophy of Science, Cambridge), which examined the function of astronomical figures and diagrams in early modern astronomy (, and Principal Investigator of an international network, 'Origins of Science as a  Visual Pursuit: the case of the early Royal Society' also funded by the AHRC ( I am now directing a research project on the pictorial practices of the early Royal Society (AHRC) through CRASSH (

An on-line exhibition at Cambridge University Library I have curated to commemorate the quincentennial anniversary of the birth of the physician, Andreas Vesalius, 'Vivitur ingenio', is at A BBC news item featuring the exhibition:

I supervise undergraduates in early modern European history (paper 16), and contribute to Professor Ulinka Rublack's The uses of the visual in early modern Germany. I also teach history of science in the Natural Sciences Tripos (second- and third-year students). I am happy to supervise dissertation topics on early modern science and medicine (1450-1700).

Editorial Board, Annals of Science, Early Science and Medicine, Historia Scientiarum, Notes and Records of the Royal Society

Key Publications


  • Andreas Vesalius: Anatomy and the World of Books (London: Reaktion 2024) []
  • Picturing the book of nature: Image, text and argument in sixteenth-century human anatomy and medical botany (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012) [].
  • with A. R. Cunningham. Natural philosophy epitomised: Books 8-11 of Gregor Reisch's Philosophical Pearl (1503). Aldershot: Ashgate, 2010. []
  • The Transformation of Natural Philosophy: the case of Philip Melanchthon. Ideas in Context. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.
  • A Wittenberg University Library Catalogue of 1536. Libri Pertinentes. Cambridge: LP Publications, 1995. 

Edited Books

  • with T. Baker, S. Dupré, and K. Leonhard, ‘Early Modern Color Worlds’, Early Science and Medicine, 20/4 (2016).
  • with F. Henderson and A. Marr, Curiously Drawn’, Huntington Library Quarterly  (2015).
  • with S. Dupré, ‘Institutions of knowledge, circles of knowledge in early modern Europe’, Special Issue of History of Universities, XXIII/2 (2008).
  • with I. Maclean, eds. Transmitting Knowledge: Words, Images and Instruments in Early Modern Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.
  • Ed. Philip Melanchthon, Orations on Philosophy and Education, trans. C. F. Salazar. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.
  • with C. Blackwell, eds., Philosophy in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries: Conversations with Aristotle. Aldershot: Ashgate, 1999.

Recent articles

  • 'Authority’, in A Cultural History of Medicine: The Renaissance, ed. E. Leong and C. Stein (London: Bloomsbury, 2021).
  • ‘Images in early modern scientific books’, in Où va l'histoire du livre ? Bilans et chantiers dans le sillage d'Henri-Jean Martin (1924-2007), ed. C. Bénévent (Geneva: Droz, 2020), pp. 135-149
  • with F. Egmond, ‘Gessner’s fish: images as objects’, in Conrad Gessner (1516-1565): Die Renaissance der Wissenschaft/ The Renaissance of Learning, ed. U. Leu and P. Opitz (Munich: De Grutyer Oldenburg, 2019), pp. 581-606.
  • with S. Fransen and K. Reinhart, “Copying Images in the Archives of the early Royal Society.” Word and Image 35 (2019), pp. 256-76. []
  • ‘The Early Royal Society and Visual Culture’, Perspectives on Science, 27 (2019): 350–94 [
  • ‘Ad vivum Images and Knowledge of Nature in Early Modern Europe’, in Thomas Balfe and Joanna Woodall (eds.), Ad Vivum? Visual Materials and the Vocabulary of Life-Likeness in Europe before 1800 (Brill: Leiden, 2019), pp. 89-121
  • ‘Introduction to Making Visible: The Visual and Graphic Practices of the Early Royal Society’, Perspectives on Science, 27 (2019): 345-49.
  • ‘Gessner’s history of nature’, in H. A. Curry, N. Jardine, E. C. Spary and A. Secord James (eds.), Worlds of Natural History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018), pp. 33-43.
  • ‘William Courten’s Lists of ‘Things Bought’ from the Late Seventeenth Century’, Journal of the History of Collections, 28 (2017) []
  • ‘The Historia Piscium and Its Sources’, in Virtuoso by Nature: The Scientific Worlds of Francis Willughby, ed. T. R. Birkhead (Leiden: Brill, 2016), pp. 305-34.
  • ‘Classics from This Journal:  Martin Rudwick’s “The Emergence of a Visual  Language for Geological Science 1760–1840”,  History of  Science, XIV: 3, 1976, pp. 149–95’, History of Science, 54 (2016): 98-104. []
  • with F. Egmond, ‘Circulation of Images and Graphic Practices in Renaissance Natural History: The Example of Conrad Gessner ‘, Gesnerus, 73 (2016), 29-72.
  • with T. Baker, S. Dupré, and K. Leonhard, ‘Introduction: Early Modern Color Worlds’, Early Science and Medicine, 20 (2016). []
  • ‘Richard Waller’s Colour Chart (1686)’, in Colour Histories. Science, Art, and Technology in the 17th and 18th Centuries, eds, Steinle, F. and M. Bushart (Berlin: W. de Gruyter, 2015), pp. 3-21.
  • ‘Drawing as an instrument of knowledge: the case of Conrad Gessner’, in Vision and Its Instruments: Art, Science, and Technology in Early Modern Europe, ed. A. Payne (Penn State University Press, 2015), pp. 36-48
  • Conrad Gessner on an "Ad Vivum" Image', in Ways of Making and Knowing: The Material Culture of Empirical Knowledge, ed. by Pamela H. Smith, H. J. Cook and Amy R. W. Meyers (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2014), pp. 330-56.
  • 'Aligning Observations in Edward Tyson's "Lumbricus Latus" (1684)', Historia scientiarum, 23 (2014), 167-90.The fossil drawings by Robert Hooke and Richard Waller.' Notes and Records of the Royal Society 67 (2013) []
  • 'Patron's Review: The role of images in the development of Renaissance natural history', Archives of Natural History 38.2 (2011): 189-213 [].
  • 'Picturing knowledge in the early Royal Society: the examples of Richard Waller and Henry Hunt', Notes and Records of the Royal Society 65 (2011): 273-94. []
  • 'Andreas Nolthius' Almanach for 1575', Journal of the History of Astronomy 42 (2011): 91-110.
  • 'The sources of Gessner's pictures for the Historia Animalium', Annals of Science 67.3 (2010): 303-28. []
  • ‘Image, Text and “Observatio”: The Codex Kentmanus’, Early Science and Medicine 14, no. 4 (2009): 445-75.[DOI:10.1163/157338209X433462]