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Richard Bellon, Ph.D.

Richard  Bellon
  • Associate Professor
  • LB Course Subject Area: Science and Society
  • Department of History
  • Holmes Hall, W-30
  • 919 E. Shaw Lane
  • East Lansing, MI 48825
  • (517) 353-1739


Richard Bellon is a historian of science who holds a joint appointment with Lyman Briggs College and the Department of History. 

His current research examines the conceptions of virtue in Victorian Britain.  He has published extensively on British natural history, with a particular focus on the importance of botany in the development and reception of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection.  

He teaches a wide range of classes, with topics including the Darwinian Revolution, the history of molecular biology, contemporary American biomedical and biotechnology policy, Victorian Britain, and the historical relationships between science and religion. He runs a study abroad program to London on the history of British science. 


  • PhD, History, University of Washington
    • Fields: History of Biology (Keith Benson), History of Science (Thomas Hankins), Modern Britain (George Behlmer), and Modern France (Ray Jonas)
  • MA, History, University of Washington
  • BA, History, University of Montana


  • History of Science Society’s 2013 Derek Price/Rod Webster Prize for excellence in a research article
    published in its journal Isis
  • Award for Outstanding Service to MSU Study Abroad. 2012 International Awards Ceremony,
    Michigan State University.
  • Recipient of Honorary Faculty Certificate from the Lyman Briggs College Graduating Class of 2012
    for dedication to the enrichment of the Briggs experience


  • Virtues of Biological Research:Moral Behavior at the Intersection of Science and Religion, 1830-2014. (PI). Uses and Abuses of Biology Grants Programme, the Faraday Institute, St. Edmund’s College, University of Cambridge. Award: £48,424 ($77,000). Start Date: 1 September 2013. Expired: 31 August 2014.
  • Patience and Panoramas: the Moral Status of Inductive Science in Victorian Britain. (PI). Michigan State University HARP development grant. Award: $22,161. Start Date: 1 August 2012. Expired: 30 June 2013.
  • BRAID 2.0: Bringing Relationships Alive through Interdisciplinary Discourse. (co-PI; PI: Ryan Sweeder; co-PIs Doug Luckie and Elizabeth Simmons). National Science Foundation award number: 1022754. NSF Program: CCLI-Type 2 (Expansion). Award: $249959. Start Date: 15 August 2010. Expires: 31 July 2015.



A Sincere and Teachable Heart: Self-Denying Virtue in British Intellectual Life, 1736-1859. Brill:

Research articles:

  • “Sacrifice in Service to Truth: The Epistemic Virtues of Victorian British Science.” In Science,
    Technology, and Virtues: Contemporary Perspectives, edited by Thomas Stapleford and
    Emanuele Ratti, forthcoming. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021.
  • “Guiding a Train of Discoveries: Charles Darwin, Charles Daubeny, and the Reception of Natural
    Selection, 1859-1865.” In Natural Selection - Revisiting its Explanatory Role in Evolutionary
    Biology, edited by Richard Delisle, pp. 39-71. Cham: Springer, 2021.
  • “There is Grandeur in This View of Newton: Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton and Victorian
    Conceptions of Scientific Virtue.” Endeavour 38 (2014): 222-34.
  • “Bringing Relationships Alive through Interdisciplinary Discourse (BRAID)” (co-authors Doug
    Luckie and Ryan Sweeder). International Journal of Pedagogy and Curriculum 19 (2013): 133-
  • “Darwin’s Evolutionary Botany.” In The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Darwin and Evolutionary
    Thought, edited by Michael Ruse, pp. 131-8. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.
  • “The Moral Dignity of Inductive Method and the Reconciliation of Science and Faith in Adam
    Sedgwick’s Discourse.” Science & Education 21 (2012): 937-58.
  • “The ‘BRAID’: Experiments in Stitching Together Disciplines at a Big Ten University” (co-authors
    Doug Luckie and Ryan Sweeder). Journal of STEM Education 13 (2012): 6-14.
  • “Inspiration in the Harness of Daily Labor: Darwin, Botany and the Triumph of Evolution, 1859-
    1868.” Isis 102 (2011): 393-420. Winner of the 2013 Derek Price/Rod Webster Prize for
    excellence in a research article published in its journal Isis.
  • “Charles Darwin Solves the ‘Riddle of the Flower’; or, Why Don’t Historians of Biology Know
    about the Birds and Bees?” History of Science 47 (2009): 373-406.


Curriculum Vitae