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Dr Philippa Hellawell is an early modern historian, who specializes in the history of science, technology and medicine. She studied for her BA and MA at the University of York before moving to King’s College London to pursue her doctoral studies. Philippa subsequently worked as a Teaching Fellow at the University of York and was awarded the Caird Senior Research Fellowship at the National Maritime Museum in 2017-8. She returned to King’s in September 2018 as the Early Career Development Fellow in the History of Early Modern Medicine.

Research interests and PhD supervision

  • Science, medicine and society, 1500-1750
  • Knowledge and power in historical perspective
  • The maritime history of the Atlantic world

Philippa’s research is concerned with the ways in which science, technology and medicine were deeply embedded in seventeenth and eighteenth-century British society. She uses the maritime sphere to illustrate how the production and circulation of knowledge was shaped by a combination of political, economic, and social factors that reflected Britain’s place on the global stage. Her next project seeks to expand on these themes by exploring the connections between medical practice on land and sea through the lens of the early modern sea-surgeon.


Philippa teaches widely across the discipline, particularly in relation to the history of medicine and the history of early modern Britain and Europe.

Expertise and public engagement

Philippa is keen to disseminate her research to broad audiences. She has lectured for The Historical Association, been interviewed about her research on national radio, run events for the York Festival of Ideas, and acted as a consultant for exhibitions at the National Maritime Museum.