Joseph Needham was born in London. He was a biochemist, philosopher, and science historian. Initially working in biochemistry, particularly embryology, he became substantially interested in the role of the history of science in scientific progress. He then helped implement changes at the University of Cambridge in which the history of science became integrated into the natural sciences curriculums. Beginning in 1950, he taught history of science in California and then Baltimore. A supporter of UNESCO, a specialized agency of the United Nations, he directed the section dedicated to the natural sciences. He spent time in China as a scientific advisor to the English embassy, collaborating on scientific and cultural projects that China and the United Kingdom were advancing together. His experience in China led him to publish an important work on the history of science and technology in China, Science and Civilization in China (1954).