After receiving his Ph.D. in Hamburg (1986) and serving on the faculty of the Philosophy Department at the University of South Carolina (1988-2002), Alfred Nordmann became Professor of Philosophy and History of Science and of Technoscience at Darmstadt Technical University. He remains affiliated with the University of South Carolina.
Regarding the history and philosophy of science, his historical interests concern conceptions of scientific objectivity in the formation of fields of knowledge such as theories of electricity and chemistry in the 18th century, mechanics, evolutionary biology, and sociology in the 19th century, nursing science and nanoscale research in the 20th century. In particular, he studied the scientific contributions as well as philosophical commitments of Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, Antoine Lavoisier, Joseph Priestley, Charles Darwin, William Bateson, Heinrich Hertz, and Herbert Gleiter. His epistemological interests concern the trajectory that leads from Immanuel Kant via Heinrich Hertz to Ludwig Wittgenstein and 20th century philosophy of science. They also concern contemporary practices of modeling mechanisms, of simulation and visualization.
Since 2000 Nordmann has been studying philosophical and societal dimensions of nanoscience and converging technologies, also of synthetic biology and climate engineering. Nordmann's focus, in particular, is on the development of a comprehensive philosophy of technosciences that reflects recent changes in the culture of science and the changing relationship of science, technology, nature and society. Where the philosophy of science investigates the relation of theory and reality, the philosophy of technoscience seeks to explicate the relation of making and knowing – incorporating insights from the philosophy of technology into an understanding of the research process.
With Davis Baird he initiated the first NSF-sponsored research team on philosophical and societal dimensions of nanotechnology. He served as rapporteur for the EU expert group (opens in new tab) (2004). From 2003 until 2009 he was President of the Converging Technologies – Shaping the Future of European Societies. With Martin Carrier he coordinated In 2006/2007 the research group Science in the Context of Application at the ZiF of Bielefeld University. In cooperation with Astrid Schwarz and Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent he conducted from 2010 to 2013 the German-French research project Georg Christoph Lichtenberg-Society Since 2013 is editor of the book series Genesis and Ontology of Technoscientific Objects., History and Philosophy of Technoscience
See also the detailed Curriculum Vitae with list of publications: (opens in new tab)CV