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

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Research Output

  • 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

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

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

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

  • Data Histories

    Aronova, E., Von Oertzen, C. & Sepkoski, D. C., Oct 2017, In : Osiris. 32, 304 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issue

    Honors & Recognition