Barbara Gutmann Rosenkrantz Professor of the History of Science
Chair, Department of the History of Science
Professor of African and African American Studies
Professor Hammonds is the Barbara Gutmann Rosenkrantz Professor of the History of Science and Professor of African and African American Studies and current chair of the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University. She was the first Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Development and Diversity at Harvard University (2005-2008). From 2008-2103 she served as Dean of Harvard College. She holds honorary degrees from Spelman College and Bates College. Professor Hammonds’ areas of research include the histories of science, medicine and public health in the United States; race and gender in science studies; feminist theory and African American history. She is the author of Childhood’s Deadly Scourge: The Campaign to Control Diphtheria in New York City, 1880-1930 (1999). She was co-editor with Jennifer M. Shephard and Stephen M. Kosslyn of The Harvard Sampler: Liberal Education for the Twenty-First Century (2011) and with Rebecca Herzig, The Nature of Difference: Sciences of Race in the United States from Jefferson to Genomics (2008; and 2013.) She has published articles on the history of disease, race and science, African American feminism, African-American women and the epidemic of HIV/AIDS and analyses of gender and race in science and medicine. Professor Hammonds’ current work focuses on the intersection of scientific, medical and socio-political concepts of race in the United States. She served as a Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer (2003-2005), a visiting scholar at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, a Post-doctoral Fellow in the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and a Visiting Professor at UCLA and at Hampshire College. Professor Hammonds was named a Fellow of the Association of Women in Science (AWIS) in 2008. She served on the Board of Trustees of Spelman College and currently on the Board of the Arcus Foundation and Board of Overseers of the Museum of Science in Boston.
Professor Hammonds earned a Ph.D. in the history of science from Harvard University, an S.M. in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a B.E.E. in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and a B.S. in physics from Spelman College. She taught for ten years at MIT where she was the founding director of the MIT Center for the Study of Diversity in Science, Technology, and Medicine. In 2010 she was appointed to President Barack Obama’s Board of Advisers on Historically Black Colleges and Universities and in 2014 to the President’s Advisory Committee on Excellence in Higher Education for African Americans . She served as a member of the Committee on Equal Opportunity in Science and Engineering (CEOSE), the congressionally mandated oversight committee of the National Science Foundation, the Advisory Committee of the EHR directorate of the NSF, and the Advisory Committee on the Merit Review Process of the National Science Foundation. In 2017 she was appointed to the Committee on Women in Science, Engineering and Medicine (CWSEM) of the National Academies. She is currently director of the Project on Race & Gender in Science & Medicine at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard.