I am an historian of early-modern science and medicine, specializing in the cultural, intellectual, and social history of chymistry and chymical medicine in German territories. I am presently a Lecturer in History and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Center for Science and Society at Columbia University where I am working on The Making and Knowing Project with Prof. Pamela Smith. I completed my dissertation at Indiana University in 2014; it was titled Chymical Medicine, Corpuscularism, and Controversy: A Study of Daniel Sennert’s Works and Letters.

My current book project, Chymical Life in Early Modern Europe, stems from my dissertation and takes the Wittenberg professor and physician Daniel Sennert (1572-1637) as a microhistorical nucleus in a larger history about the development and influence of chymistry (i.e., alchemy and early chemistry) and chymical medicine, including an account of how chymistry became overtly natural-philosophical, was absorbed into the university, and became an important locus for battles regarding skepticism and credulity. My larger thesis is that this institutionalization of chymical knowledge coincided with the development of novel cultures of experimentation and communication, and this synthesis facilitated a chymical revolution which had significant continuities with eighteenth-century chemistry and the Chemical Revolution.  I am also especially interested in early-modern letters and the insight they give into the lives and aspirations of chymists and chymical physicians.

Click Here for more on my Research

Click Here for a list of my Publications

I have had the pleasure of teaching for several years at different institutions and in diverse subject areas. At Columbia I have taught “Contemporary Civilization,” a required course in The Core Curriculum on the political, moral, social, and religious communities that humans construct for themselves. As a graduate student I taught multiple surveys of the history and philosophy of science at Indiana University and the University of Pennsylvania, and I proposed and taught a course on the history of medieval and Renaissance medicine.

Click Here for more on my Teaching

I spent two years carrying out research in Germany, first in Leipzig and Halle an der Saale through a Fulbright Grant and a NSF Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant, and then at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science and the Freie Universität in Berlin via a DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst).

I have worked as an editorial assistant and laboratory technician for the Chymistry of Isaac Newton Project, where I encoded Newton’s manuscripts and even reconstructed a variety of Isaac Newton’s and Robert Boyle’s alchemical experiments.

Click Here for Media on projects I have worked on as well as some of my presentations.

Contact Information:

Twitter: @JAndrewKlein
E-mail: jak2259 AT columbia edu

Joel A. Klein, Headshot (Color), 2013


I am Science.