Bettyann Kevles

Bettyann Kevles's picture
Senior Lecturer History
HGS 2707A
Fields of interest: 

HSHM: History of science & technology; Intersection of art & science



Bettyann Kevles received her BA from Vassar College and MA from Columbia University in History. Her research interests include the history of animal behavior, Darwinian studies, the history of medical imaging, the interaction of science and art, and various aspects of human space

flight including the role of women, and the role of space in art, and art in space.


Select Publications


  • Almost Heaven: The Story of Women in Space (Basic Books, New York, 2003; revised and updated paperback edition, MIT Press, 2006);
  • Picturing DNA. (coauthored with Marilyn Nissenson) 2000;
  • Naked to the Bone: Medical Imaging in the Twentieth Century (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1997: revised paperback edition, Perseus, 1998);
  • Females of the Species: Sex and Survival in the Animal Kingdom (Cambridge: Harvard University Press,1986);
  • Thinking Gorillas: Teaching and Testing the Greatest Ape (New York:  E. P.  Dutton, 1980);
  • Watching the Wild Apes: The Primate Studies of Goodall, Fossey,and Galdikas (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1976)


Work in Progress

  • Tomorrow: An American Place and Time, co-authored with Daniel J. Kevles, Yale University Press



  • “Europe in Space,” Encyclopedia of Europe, in press
  • “Vein Man” in The Anatomy Lesson: Conversations with Johannes de Ketham Artist book by Joyce Cutler-Shaw, In response to the Fasciculus Medicinae of 1495 (Middletown, CT: Robin Price, 2005
  • “Diagnostica Medica Per Immagini” Storia Della Scienza, Encicopedia Italiana, Volume 8, La Seconda Rivoluzione Scientifica,  2005.
  • “Truth, Beauty and the Double Helix”  Newsweek International, co-authored with Daniel Kevles, February 24, 2003
  • “The Physical Sciences and the Physician’s Eye: Dissolving Disciplinary Boundaries,” in Mary Jo Nye, ed., Cambridge History of the Physical Sciences, Vol 3 (2002)
  •  “Primatology” and “E.O. Wilson,” in John Heilbron, ed., The Oxford Companion to the History of Science (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002)
  • “La Biologie des Boucs Emissaires,” co-authored with Daniel J. Kevles, La Recherche, July/August 1998, pp. 58-63;
  • “Scapegoat Biology,” co-authored with Daniel J. Kevles, Discover, October 1997, pp 58-62.
  • “Charles Darwin,” Encyclopedia Britannica (15th ed.; 1989).


Awards and Grants

  • The New York Academy of Sciences award for best science book, 1976.
  • Horn Book-Boston Globe – best non-fiction 1977.  
  • The Genesis Award from the Fund for Animals for “Scientific View,” 1987.
  • Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Book Grant for History of Technology series, 1992.
  • Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Officer’s’Grant, 1998.
  • Charles A. Lindbergh Chair in Space History.  The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.  2000.
  • Pasadena Council for the Arts. Golden Crown Award in Literature, June, 2000.
  • Educator’s Award from Women in Aeronautics, September 2005.


Invited Talks (selected)

  • The Huntington Library, Los Angeles County Society for the History of Medicine, 1996
  • Symposium on Technology, Caltech. 1996
  • Science Ethics and Public Policy lecture, Caltech, 1997
  • Oregon State University , 1997
  • Tulane Medical School, 1998
  • Indiana University Medical School, 1998
  • California State University at Northridge, 1998
  • University of California at San Diego, 1997
  • University of California at San Francisco, 1998
  • Keynote Speaker, Medicine Meets Virtual Reality, San Diego, 1998
  • United States Coast Guard Academy, 1998       
  • Hagley Center, Delaware, Technology and Art Conference, 1998
  • Bar Association of New York, 1998
  • State University of New York at Stony Brook, 1998.
  • CAA Meeting in New York. CoChair session Notions of the Norm: Modeling and Remodeling the Self. February 25, 2000.
  • Symposium on the Pioneering Efforts of Women in Medicine. Stanford University,”Pioneering Women in Space,” February 25, 2000.          
  • Oregon State University. Conference on Science and Politics: What is to be learned from the Russian Experience: Women Cosmonauts, 1963-2000. March 11, 2000,
  • DNA and Art. Symposium on the 50th anniversary of the Discovery of DNA, The Royal Institution, London, 2003
  • DNA and Art, Symposium, Rockefeller University, 2003
  • The Experience of Women in Space.  Yale University, Symposium 2004
  • Self-Portraits in the Age of Imaging, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Symposium on Brain imaging, 2005.
  • Performance in Zero Gravity, Conference on the Impact of Space Travel on Culture sponsored by the European Space Agency.  Budapest, March 2005.
  • ICA London, X-ray imaging and art: The History of Self-experimentation, Feb 10, 2006
  • Images of Innovation: Art and Visual Culture in Patent Drawings. Co-authored with Ellen Levy, Con/Texts of Invention, Cleveland, Ohio, April 19-21, 2006
  • Seeing the Brain: Reading the Mind, Summer School presentation at Ischia, Italy, July 2007



  • Pasadena City College, Pasadena, Ca. 1967-1968 
  • Westridge School, Pasadena, Ca. – Chair of the History Department 1969-1975
  • Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, Ca. 1988-1996, Courses in History of Science to undergraduates and graduate students
  • Yale University: 2001-present, Senior Lecturer



  • X-ray Visions: Medical Imaging from 1890-the present
  • The Changing Relationship between Humans and Non-human animals
  • Spaceflight – From Fiction to Reality
  • Science, Invention and the Visual Arts in the 20th Century
  • Supervised Reading (Tutorials)
  • Medicine and Black Americans in the 20th Century - 2005
  • Writing Juvenile Non-Fiction about Childhood Obesity problems – 2007
  • Senior Essay Adviser