Karin Tybjerg

Karin Tybjerg

Associate Professor

Member of:

    Karin Tybjerg is associate professor at Medical Museion, University of Copenhagen. I did my PhD and a research fellowship in History and Philosophy of Science at University of Cambridge and have held positions as Keeper of Ethnography and Modern History at the Danish National Museum and as Head of Astronomy at Kroppedal Museum.

    My position at Medical Museion combines research, curating and teaching and my interests lie in the intersections between practices in the contemporary biosciences and history and philosophy of science. A main driver is to cast a new light on current practices through historical and philosophical approaches. 

    Current research

    As lead curator of the exhibition The Body Collected I worked on collections in medicine from the pathological collections of 18th and 19th centuries to today’s biobanks. Viewing medicine as a collection science offers a different view on medicine than a focus on laboratory biomedicine.

    With a background in physics and philosophy I am interested in the interface between physics and medical science especially the early history of biological tracers, which combine physics, physiology and biology in the mid-20th century.

    A new project concerns the concept and practice of diagnosis. Diagnosis lies at the crossover-point between clinical practice and the scientific work in biomedicine and thus provides a good starting point for understanding the nature and use of medical knowledge. What do we want to know when we ask what is wrong with us? And how is the tacit knowledge of clinical diagnosis translated into formal knowledge of clinical tests? The project will look at a number of historical sites where the concept of diagnosis has changed: 19th century pathological collections, imaging in the 20th century and automation in modern 21st century diagnosis. 

    I also write on museology particularly the history of medical collections and how to exhibit scientific instruments and objects. 

    Fields of interest

    I am a broadly interested historian and philosopher of science and medicine. Current interests include:

    -                Anatomical/pathological collections

    -                Interactions between medicine and physics

    -                The history and philosophy of diagnosis

    -                Museology and museum related science communication

    Selected publications

    1. Published

      Medical Anamnesis. Collecting and Recollecting the Past in Medicine

      Tybjerg, Karin, 2023, In: Centaurus. 65, 2, p. 235-259 25 p.

      Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

    2. Published

      Scale in the history of medicine

      Tybjerg, Karin, 2022, In: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science. 91, p. 221-233 13 p.

      Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

    3. Published

      Approaching diagnostic messiness through spiderweb strategies: Connecting epistemic practices in the clinic and the laboratory

      Scott-Fordsmand, Helene & Tybjerg, Karin, 2023, In: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science. 102, p. 12-21 10 p.

      Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

    4. Published

      Exhibiting Epistemic Objects

      Tybjerg, Karin, 2017, In: Museum & Society. 15, 3, p. 269-286 18 p.

      Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

    5. Published

      From Bottled Babies to Biobanks: Medical Collections in the Twenty-First Century

      Tybjerg, Karin, 2015, Fate of Anatomical Collections. Knoeff, R. & Zwijnenberg, R. (eds.). Farnham: Ashgate, p. 263-278 16 p. (The History of Medicine in Context).

      Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review

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