Michel Janssen

Michel Janssen wearing a blue shirt.

Michel Janssen

Professor, School of Physics and Astronomy


John T. Tate Hall
Room 130-27
116 Church Street Se
Minneapolis, MN 55455


Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 1995

M.S., University of Amsterdam, 1988

B.A./B.S., University of Amsterdam, 1982/1983

Professional Background

Visiting Scholar at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, December 2019-November 2022

Research Interests

I'm a historian of science with a background in physics and philosophy. My research focuses on the genesis of relativity and quantum theory in the late-19th and early-20th century. I teach a survey of the history of science from the 18th through the 20th century, which meets two liberal education requirements (historical and international perspectives), a writing-intensive class aimed at physics majors on the history of 20th-century physics, honors seminars on various topics (e.g., Einstein, entanglement), and I regularly give guest lectures on historical topics in various physics classes.


  1. Anthony Duncan and Michel Janssen, Constructing Quantum Mechanics. Vol. 1. The Scaffold, 1900–1923, Oxford University Press, 2019
  2. Michel Janssen, Arches and Scaffolds: Bridging Continuity and Discontinuity in Theory Change, Pp. 95–199 in: Alan C. Love and William C. Wimsatt (eds.), Beyond the Meme. Development and Structure in Cultural Evolution. University of Minnesota Press, 2019
  3. Michel Janssen and Christoph Lehner, The Cambridge Companion to Einstein, Cambridge University Press, 2014