PhD Student: Biology (Biology & Society)
PhD candidate Erick Peirson received his B.S. in Biology from the University of Puget Sound in 2009, before coming to ASU to study the history and philosophy of science as a NSF Graduate Research Fellow in the Center for Biology & Society. Erick’s dissertation traces the history and epistemology of evolutionary ecology, focusing specifically on the emergence and diversification of models of developmental plasticity during the second half of the 20th century. In addition to traditional historical and philosophical methods, Erick is exploring new ways of bringing “big data” and computational methods to bear on the history of 20th-century life sciences. This has led to the Genecology Project, a collaborative historical research project that combines a variety of computational tools and techniques to reconstruct and contextualize patterns of scientific discourse and exchange among 20th-century British plant ecologists. Together with Julia Damerow and Manfred Laubichler, in 2012 Erick helped establish the ASU Digital Innovation Group. The mission of the Digital Innovation Group is to develop new tools to support HPS researchers in processing and analyzing their data, to contribute to the development of a computational research system for history and philosophy of science, and to create new educational resources, opportunities, and experiences for students in computer science and the history and philosophy of science. In his spare time, Erick works on the larval morphology and development in the parasitoid wasp Nasonia. At the bench, I study larval morphology and development in the parasitic wasp Nasonia spp., focusing on post-zygotic reproductive barriers between two closely related species.