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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Chair for the History of Science

Dr. Mathias Grote

Dr. Mathias Grote
research assistant
mathias.grote (at) hu-berlin.de

Philosophische Fakultät → Institut für Geschichtswissenschaften → Wissenschaftsgesch. /Schwerpkt. Bild.u.Org.d.Wissens 19./20.Jhd.
Visiting address
Friedrichstraße 191-193 , Room 5070
Phone number
Mailing address
Unter den Linden 6, 10099 Berlin

Philosophische Fakultät → Institut für Geschichtswissenschaften → Wissenschaftsgesch. /Schwerpkt. Bild.u.Org.d.Wissens 19./20.Jhd.
Visiting address
Friedrichstraße 191-193 , Room 5070
Phone number
(030) 2093-70625
Mailing address
Unter den Linden 6, 10099 Berlin


Office hours winter term 2019/20: Wed 1-3 p.m.

R 5070. Please sign up by mail.


→ German version

→ Vita

→ Research Interest

→ Current project

→ Publications



  • since October 2014: wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter at the Chair for the History of Science (Prof. te Heesen), Humboldt-University of Berlin
  • March 2016: Visiting Fellow, Department of History, Princeton University
  • February-April 2015: Research Fellow, Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia, PA
  • Summer/Fall 2013 Research Fellow at Centre Cavaillès, École Normale Supérieure Paris, funded by German Academic Exchange Service and Maison des Sciences de l'Homme
  • since June 2011 Research Fellow at the Institut für Philosophie, Literatur-, Wissenschafts- und Technikgeschichte of Technische Universität Berlin
  • 2010 Research Fellow, ESRC Centre for Genomics in Society (Egenis) at the University of Exeter
  • UK 2009 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin October 2008 Doctorate at Institute of Biology of Humboldt University, Berlin 
  • 2005 - 2008 PhD-student in the Department of Microbial Physiology at Institute of Biology of Humboldt University, Berlin 
  • 1999 – 2004 Studies in philosophy and biology (M.A.) at Humboldt University, Berlin and Université de Nantes, France


Research Interest 

  • History and epistemology of the life sciences in the 20th century, especially classification and molecular biologies beyond genetics (membranes, 'molecular machines').
  • Temporality and historiography of the sciences


Currents Projects



1. History and Philosophy of Science
  • Grote, M. (forthcoming). Membranes to Molecular Machines. Active Matter and the Remaking of Life. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Journal articles


Special Issues / Edited Volume


Book Chapters

  • Grote M. (forthcoming 2017). Petri dish. In: Bauer S., Schlünder M., Rentetzi M., eds., Boxes in Action. Manchester: Mattering Press. [a short history of the Petri dish]
  • Grote M. (2014). From enzymes to 'molecular machines': Materiality in research on rhodopsins, 1970s:. In: Reinhardt C. & Klein U., eds., Objects of chemical inquiry, Sagamore Beach: Science History Publications, 343-368
  • Grote M. (2011). Jeewanu. In: Azzouni S., Brandt C., Gausemeier B., Kursell J., Schmidgen H. & Wittman B., eds., Eine Naturgeschichte für das 21. Jahrhundert: hommage à, zu Ehren von, in honor of Hans-Jörg Rheinberger. Berlin: Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, 222-224 (new edition 2014, Alpheus Verlag, Berlin)


Contributions to blogs


Selected other publications

  • Grote, M. (2018), Wissenschaftsgeschichte als Handbuchwissenschaft, Sammelrezension zu M. Sommer, S. Müller-Wille und C. Reinhardt (Hg., 2017), Handbuch Wissenschaftsgeschichte und S. Bauer, T. Heinemann, T. Lemke (Hg., 2017), Science and Technology Studies – Klassische Positionen und aktuelle Perspektiven, NTM. Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Wissenschaften, Technik und Medizin, 1-11, https://doi.org/10.1007/s00048-018-0187-x
  • Grote, Mathias (2016), Take your kids to the microbes - Micropia, the world's only microbe zoo in Amsterdam. Small things considered [blog of the American Society of Microbiology]
  • Grote, Mathias (2015), What could the 'longue durée' mean for the history of modern sciences? Working Paper, Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, Paris  [FMSH-WP-2015-98; online, open access, in English]
  • Grote, Mathias (2015), Khorana, Har Gobind, eLS Encyclopedia of the Life Sciences, DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0002845 [Lexikonartikel/biographical article, online publication]
  • Grote M. (2013). Rezension: Biomedical Computing. Digitizing Life in the United States von Joseph C. November. Biology, Computing, and the History of Molecular Sequencing. From Proteins to DNA, 1945–2000 von Miguel García-Sancho, Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte 36:200-202
  • Grote M. & Méthot P.O. (2012).  Michel Morange: La vie, l’évolution et l’histoire.Metascience 21, 507-508 
  • Grote M. & O'Malley M.A. (2010). History of science is good for you. Nature Reviews Microbiology 8: 752


2. Life Sciences 


Journal articles

  • Grote, M., Engelhard M. & Hegemann , P. (2014). Of ion pumps, sensors and channels – Perspectives on microbial rhodopsins between science and history (Review). Biochimica et Biophysica Acta Bioenergetics 1837, 533-545.
  • Grote M., Polyhach Y., Jeschke G., Steinhoff H.-J., Schneider E. and Bordignon E. (2009). Transmembrane signaling in the maltose ABC transporter MalFGK2-E: Periplasmic MalF-P2 loop communicates substrate availability to the ATP-bound MalK dimer, Journal of Biological Chemistry 284: 17521-17526.
  • Grote M., Bordignon E., Polyhach Y., Jeschke G., Steinhoff H.-J. and Schneider E. (2008). A comparative EPR study of the nucleotide-binding domains’ catalytic cycle in the assembled maltose ABC-importer. Biophysical Journal 95: 2924-2938.