Magnus Vollset


Associate Professor , history of medicine, history of science


Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care


My overarching research interests are transnational history of medicine, particularly leprosy, and the use of historical objects in teaching and outreach. In my PhD thesis Globalizing Leprosy (2013), I examined how knowledge about the leprosy bacillus was disseminated and its impact on diagnosis, treatment, and prophylaxis.

I have published books on the history of urban infrastructure (2007), meteorology (with Yngve Nilsen, 2016), dentistry (with Håkon Haugland, 2016) and geophysics (with Gunnar Ellingsen and Rune Hornnes, 2018). I have also contributed to the University of Bergen’s scientific history (2022), and I am affiliated with the Pandemic Centre. My latest publication (with Kathleen Vongasthorn) analyzes how leprosy’s medieval past was made relevant, reinterpreted, and reinvented in the 19th century.

I am the secretary general for the Bergen Society for the Adcvancement of Sciences, on the board of Bymuseet i Bergen (deputy), and on the steering committee in the Norwegian museum network for health- and medical history. I head the 2023 Armauer Hansen anniversary (150 years since the discovery of leprosy bacillus). I give tours at the Armauer Hansen Commemorative Room (contact me for an appointment).

I represent scientific staff at the Department council at the Department of Global Health and Primary Care, and represent scientific staff in the Programme Board for the PhD programme at the Faculty of Medicine.

I teach various courses at the Faculty of Medicine, and at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences. Students interested in supervision for history-related projects may contact me by mail. (Note: I am currently on parental leave).


See registrations in Cristin (updated annually).


Teaching portfolio: 

  • A scientific history of the University of Bergen (2018-2021)