Martin Grünfeld

Martin Grünfeld

Assistant professor

Current research

I am an assistant professor in science communication at Medical Museion and NNF Center for Basic Metabolic Research. My current research project is about metabolic objects and collections: what they are and how can they be collected today. The project combines historical, ontological, aesthetic, and museological perspectives to explore metabolism in a broad sense, especially focusing on the material heritage of our present metabolic era.

In the metabolic era, metabolism reaches from the study of cells to theories of society. Yet, it extends even further beyond the walls of laboratories and universities, and concerns fundamental questions about life and death, health and disease, nutrition and sleep, aging and temporality. Questions that are a crucial part of our lives: personally, culturally and politically. In my research, I am exploring this metabolic era from two complementary perspectives: First, under the header of metabolism today, I explore the conceptual distribution of metabolism across public, artistic, and scientific domains. Second, I combine ontological reflections with collection work to explore metabolic objects through an ontology from below.

Currently, I am working on developing an ontology from below that allows me to deal with various metabolic objects and develop future collections of metabolic objects. Moreover, I am exploring the historical underpinnings of the concept of metabolism. At the moment, I am also working on a book entitled Writing and Thinking in Contemporary Academia: The Poetics of Clarity expected to appear in the Routledge Series Public Intellectuals and the Sociology of Knowledge (hopefully) later this year.


Research Background
I have a PhD in Philosophy from University College Dublin, where I have worked specifically within continental philosophy of science and aesthetics. However, I am always open to a wide range of theoretical perspectives, and I find it highly productive to work across disciplinary borders. In my research, I have worked inter-disciplinarily combining perspectives from continental philosophy, sociology of knowledge, history of science, literary theory, and linguistics. In my PhD dissertation, I explore contemporary scientific publishing norms and practices. I find that a transdisciplinary poetics of clarity is functioning as a self-given ideal of writing within academia. In the dissertation, I argue that while the poetics of clarity may constitute a highly productive space for knowledge production, it is also a selective and restrictive space that favors specific ways of thinking by (ideally) eliminating poetic language, biases and interests, and multi-dimensional arguments and errors. In the heart of the poetics of clarity lies a negative dialectic between vitality and death.


If you are interested in my research areas, do not hesitate to get in touch. I will be happy to collaborate on research projects and supervise BA and MA projects.

ID: 192485525