William C. Summers is a recently retired Professor of History of Medicine, of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, and of Therapeutic Radiology and in the Program of History of Science and Medicine at Yale University where he was a faculty member from 1968 until 2017. His formal education at the University of Wisconsin included mathematics, molecular biology, and medicine and he received an M.D. and Ph.D. in 1967. His research has included molecular virology, genetics of cancer, history of medicine and science, and the relationship between science and the humanities. He has taught and published on topics ranging from Quantum Mechanics to East Asian Studies, including long-running seminars on History of Science and Medicine in China, and Epidemics in Global Perspective. Summers has held visiting positions in Sweden, the United Kingdom, Stanford University, Columbia University, Hubei Medical College, and the National University of Singapore. He has served as Associate Editor of Virology and on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Virology. His most recent book is The Great Manchurian Plague of 1910-1911: The Geopolitics of an Epidemic Disease (Yale University Press, 2012). His current research is in three directions, a history of the American Phage Group, an examination of Central Asian history in the century between 650 and 750 AD, and the recent history of public health and geopolitics in the ASEAN group of nations.

Last Updated: July 8, 2020



Pandemic Responses Suffer from Common Ailments

William C. Summers
As the world continues to reel from the COVID-19 pandemic, the onslaught of new developments, disrupted routines, and fast-evolving medical research and advice trap us in a kind of eternal present. Each day feels unprecedented. But, at least since...