Born in Berlin, I was educated at the universities of Göttingen and Cambridge, where I obtained my MPhil and PhD degrees.
I have also held research fellowships at the University of Oxford, the Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel (twice), and the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. I am a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, a life member of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and a Deputy Director of the ESRC-funded White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership's "Cities, Environment, and Liveability" pathway, which funds and facilitates PG research in urban and environmental studies. I have collaborated widely with external partners, such as institutions in heritage and culture, on projects and exhibitions.
I have published one monograph, four collections of essays, and over 30 articles and book chapters on my two main areas of research: first, the political culture of early modern and modern Europe, with a focus on monarchy and courts, political ritual and pamphlets from 17th to 20th-century Germany; and seconly, cultures of knowledge in the early modern and modern period, in particular natural history and politics in the 18th and 19th centuries. I am currently completing a book on German science and the British Empire.
Over the years, I have contributed widely to the media, and highlights here appearances on the BBC's "In Our Time" (twice), and, as presenter, on ARTE TV channel's documentary, France - Allemagne, Une Histoire Commune.