Johannes Mattes

Tel.   (+43 1) 515 81 – 4405


Born 1983 in Linz (Upper Austria).

M.A.-level studies in German Philology and History. Ph.D. in History of Science, 2013. Since 2014 Lecturer at the History Department of the University of Vienna. Since 2018 Postdoctoral Researcher in the Working Group “History of the OeAW 1847-2022“ at the Austrian Academy of Sciences. Mattes was Visiting Professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (Paris), Visiting Scholar at Stanford University (CA) and York University (Toronto) and is associated to the Centre for Science Studies of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina (Halle/Saale). In 2021 he was awarded the Bader Prize for the History of Natural Sciences. Mattes is Board Member of the International Commission on the History of the Geological Sciences and the History of Earth Sciences Society (USA). He joined the IKT as research project leader in 2021.



  • Eighteenth to twentieth history of natural sciences and its cultural contexts (e.g. earth sciences, geography, cartography, archaeology, zoology, nuclear medicine)

  • Scientific infrastructure and collaboration, expeditions, fieldwork, gender, relationship between politics, research and the public

  • Geographical focus: Central and Eastern Europe, “Orient“, and Africa



Lead of dedicated history of science research projects



Johannes Mattes: Wissenskulturen des Subterranen. Vermittler im Spannungsfeld zwischen Wissenschaft und Öffentlichkeit. Ein biografisches Lexikon. Wien, Köln, Weimar: Böhlau 2019, 572 pp.

Johannes Mattes: Reisen ins Unterirdische. Eine Kulturgeschichte der Höhlenforschung in Österreich. Wien, Köln, Weimar: Böhlau 2015, 418 pp.

Johannes Mattes: Festrede und Festspiel als Formen kollektiver Repräsentation. Regierungsjubiläums-Feiern von Franz Joseph I. (1908) und die „Türkenbefreiungsfeiern“ (1933) im Vergleich. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang 2011, 156 pp.

Johannes Mattes: Imperial science, unified forces and boundary-work: Geographical and geological societies in Vienna (1850–1925). Annals of the Austrian Geographical Society, 162, 2020, pp. 155–210.

Johannes Mattes: “To look like an (earth) scientist”: Science popularization and professionalization based on the example of a photo album dedicated to the Viennese geologist Eduard Suess (1901). Earth Sciences History, 39(2), 2020, pp. 336–362.

Johannes Mattes: Talking about popular science in the metropolis: Learned societies, multiple publics and spatial practices in Vienna (1840–1900). In: Mitchell G. Ash (ed.): Science in the metropolis: Vienna in transnational context 1848–1914. New York: Routledge 2020, pp. 175–199.

Johannes Mattes: Mapping the Invisible: Knowledge, Credibility, and Visions of Earth in Early Modern Cave Maps. British Journal for the History of Science (accepted for publication).

Johannes Mattes: National spaces & deepest places: Politics and practices of verticality in speleology. Centaurus – International Journal of the History of Science and its Cultural Aspects, 62, 2020, pp. 670­–696.

Johannes Mattes: Entre nature et culture. Les grottes, cabinets de curiosités naturelles à l’époque moderne. Communications (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris), 105(2), 2019, pp. 13–26.

Johannes Mattes: Mapping Narratives & Making Politics – Discourses on Space and Identity in the Correspondence of Jovan Cvijić. In: Jovana Brankov, Maija Drobnjaković (Eds.): The Balkan Peninsula of Jovan Cvijić. Historical Background and Contemporary Trends in Human Geography. Belgrade: Geographical Institute “Jovan Cvijić”, Serbian Academy of Sciences & Arts 2018, pp. 55–70.

Johannes Mattes: Travelling olms: Local and global perspectives on the research on Proteus anguinus (1700–1930). In: Fabio d’Angelo (ed.): The scientific dialogue linking America, Asia and Europe: Theories and techniques travelling in space and time. Naples: Associazione culturale “Viaggiatori” 2018, pp. 186–203.

Johannes Mattes: Underground Fieldwork – A Cultural and Social History of Cave Cartography and Surveying Instruments in the 19th and at the Beginning of the 20th Century. International Journal of Speleology, 44, 2015, pp. 251–266.

List of Publications

List of Presentations



(1) Knowledge – Economy – Public: Scientific and Economic Societies in Vienna (1850–1925)

(2) Women Researchers, Discourses, Fields of Action: Women in the Scientific Societies of Vienna (1870–1925)

(3) Concepts, Cooperation, and Boundaries: Nuclear Medicine Research in Austria during the Cold War

(4) Cooperative Action in the Network of Academies and Natural Science Associations (1870–1914)