The Jacques Loeb Centre for History and Philosophy of, and Critical Dialogues in, the Life Sciences at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel, supports research in the history and philosophy of modern experimental life sciences and serves as an interdisciplinary forum for a critical discussion on current scientific developments and their societal implications.
The Centre organizes (i) interdisciplinary workshops and lectures on the history and philosophy of pertinent current concepts and models in the life sciences, (ii) symposia encouraging critical dialogues between members of the scientific and scholarly communities, students, and members of the public on vexing problems related to scientific practice such as media hypes, political ideologies, irreproducible papers, scientific truth in 'big data' science, and the increasing commercialization of science, (iii) student competitions for poster sessions on the history of the life sciences.
The Centre is named after German-American physiologist and experimental biologist Jacques Loeb (1859-1924), legendary experimentalist and seminal thinker in the history of biology. His passionate promotion of biology as an exact experimental science and his opposition to the vitalistic concepts prevalent around 1900 impacted greatly on the development of the life sciences. Loeb's interest in philosophical and political issues brought him into contact with major figures in science, philosophy, and history, including Svante Arrhenius, Albert Einstein, Ernst Mach, Leonor Michaelis, and George Sarton.
The Centre was founded in 2007 and has been directed since then by Ute Deichmann.