Human Experimentation


Are you a big fan of Shutter Island? Frankenstein? A Clockwork Orange? What these films have in common is that they depict experimentation on humans just like us – and they cause most of us to recoil in horror. In this session, we invite two experts who have a special interest and insight into the Western world’s best known human experiments ever, the medical experiments conducted by the Nazis and the Milgram experiment. These experiments violated medical ethics from all angles. We will dig deeper to find out their methodology, purpose and ethical considerations and learn how the outcomes of these experiments shaped the way we conduct our research today. Join us to find out more about the truth of human experiments behind the movie scenes.


Dr Gina Perry

Dr Gina Perry is an award winning writer and science historian whose work has been published in newspapers and magazines including The Age, The Australian, Cosmos and New Scientist and anthologised in Best Australian Science Writing (2013 and 2015). Her co-production of the ABC Radio National documentary about the Stanley Milgram’s obedience experiments, ‘Beyond the Shock Machine’, won the Silver World Medal for a history documentary in the New York Festivals radio awards. She obtained her Masters and PhD from the University of Melbourne, and drew on her academic research to write two creative non-fiction books both of which are critical, big picture interrogations of well-known social psychological experiments from the 1950s and 1960s. The first of these is the acclaimed ‘Behind the Shock Machine: the untold story of the notoroious Milgram psychology experiments’ which has prompted a critical re-evaluation of Milgram’s controversial research. She hopes that her most recent book ‘The Lost Boys: inside Muzafer Sherif’s Robbers Cave Experiment’, published in Australia and the US in 2018 and 2019 will also shape a more insightful narrative about iconic social psychology research of that era.

Associate Professor Lynn Gillam

A/Prof Lynn Gillam is an ethicist with particular interests in research ethics and ethics education. Lynn is the Clinical Ethicist and Academic Director of the Children’s Bioethics Centre at the Royal Children’s Hospital. At the University of Melbourne, Lynn is Associate Professor in Health Ethics at the Centre for Health and Society, and chairs the Human Research Ethics Committees. Lynn has published widely in bioethics, on a range of issues, including research ethics, genetic testing, and the use of human foetal tissue. Recently, Lynn was awarded the prestigious Chairman’s Medal at RCH, commemorating her outstanding contribution to the work and reputation of the RCH.