David C Sepkoski

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Personal profile

Personal profile

David Sepkoski is the Thomas M. Siebel Chair in History of Science at the University of Illinois.  He specializes in transnational history of biological, environmental, and information sciences in cultural context.

Sepkoski's most recent book, Catastrophic Thinking: Extinction and the Value of Diversity, will be published by the University of Chicago Press.  He is also the author of Rereading the Fossil Record: The Growth of Paleobiology as an Evolutionary Discipline (Chicago, 2012) and Nominalism and Constructivism in Seventeenth-Century Natural Philosophy (Routledge, 2007), as well as several edited volumes and special journal issues.  

His current research interests include the history of data practices in the natural sciences, the cultural impact of the sciences of "deep time" at the turn of the current millennium, and the history of biological determinism.

Research Interests

History of Science


PhD, Program in History of Science and Technology, University of Minnesota
MA, Social Sciences, University of Chicago
BA, Carleton College

Office Address

History, 301 Greg Hall
810 S. Wight Street M/C 466
Urbana, IL 61801

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the expert's scholarly documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

Paleontology Arts & Humanities
History Arts & Humanities
Fossil Arts & Humanities
1970s Arts & Humanities
1980s Arts & Humanities
Revolution Arts & Humanities
Stephen Jay Gould Arts & Humanities
Extinction Arts & Humanities

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Research Output 2005 2019

The Unfinished Synthesis? Paleontology and Evolutionary Biology in the 20th Century

Sepkoski, D., Dec 1 2019, In : Journal of the History of Biology. 52, 4, p. 687-703 17 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Biological Sciences
Modern 1601-history
Visual Languages

Data in time: Statistics, natural history, and the visualization of temporal data

Sepkoski, D. C., Nov 2018, In : Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences. 48, 5, p. 581-593 13 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Introduction: Historicizing big data

Aronova, E., Von Oertzen, C. & Sepkoski, D., Jan 1 2017, In : Osiris. 32, 1, p. 1-17 17 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

history of science