Gail Marlow Taylor

Doctoral student in History, University of California, Irvine

August 12, 2009: First paper presentation on West Nile virus went well: “Virus 956: The Discovery of West Nile Virus in Uganda, 1937-1940.” Submitted the larger article to a journal today and hoping for the best!

May 7, 2009: I’m so excited! California State University has awarded my Master’s Thesis the Giles T. Brown Outstanding Thesis Award. One committee member said it is a “highly original study that shows the relevance of medieval alchemy in the Islamic world to the refined laboratory practices of today.” Al-Razi, you have been good to me.

In a related development, the University of Göttingen has sent me a pdf file of the Göttingen manuscript, the main text used by Julius Ruska for his 1937 translation of the Kitab al-Asrar. To take a look at it, see the thesis page.

Fields of Interest: History of Science and Medicine in 18th and 19th century Europe, World History.

Curent Project: The discovery of West Nile Virus in Uganda 1937-1940 — an examination of the convergence of empire and medicine at a time when viral research was on the cutting edge of scientific inquiry.


  • New – Jan. 19, 2009! Please take a look at my “By the Book” and explore the many original texts published in the on line journal Intervalles: Interdisciplinary Transcriptions from the Centre Disciplinaire de Poétique Appliqée, Université de Liège – See link at right.
  • “Al-Razi’s Book of Secrets: The Practical Laboratory in the Medieval Islamic World,” Master’s Thesis, completed March, 2008.
  • “By the Book: Alchemy and the Laboratory Manual from al-Razi to Libavius, 920-1597,” research paper, Welebaethan Journal of History 2008. Lawrence B. Graaf Prize for Best Overall Paper.
  • “Tipping the Balance: The Laboratory’s Transition to Legitimacy, 1600-1900,” research paper, Welebaethan Journal of History 2007. Ric Miller Prize for Best European Paper.
  • Book Review, The Myth of the French Bourgeoisie: An Essay on the Social Imaginary, 1750-1850, Welebaethan Journal of History, 2007.
  • Four encyclopedia articles on the history of medicine for the upcoming edition of Facts on File. Topics: Anesthesia, Antibiotics, Antisepsis, and Medical Resonance Imaging (MRI).
  • “Un Nouvel An.” poem, Dec. 2003. First Place, student division.


  1. I am a CSU chico student and I am writing a historical methodology paper about Al-Razi this semester. Thank you for your translation and work on the subject, it will be extremely helpful!

    • Great to hear from you, Lincoln! I’m so happy you share my interest in al-Razi. Do you have my translation or do you need me to send you one? If you need anything from me, please give me your email address. Good luck on your paper.

  2. Hi Gail! I’m writing a paper on alchemy and would love to be in touch with you to ask you a couple of questions, if you’re open to it?

    Thanks, Khalil 🙂

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