I’m a Professor of History at The University of Western Ontario in Canada. I do computational history, big history, STS, physical computing, desktop fabrication, electronics, sound and esoterica. The second edition of my open access, open content and open source textbook Digital Research Methods with Mathematica (2019) can be downloaded from this site. My previous monograph Spark from the Deep (2013) is available in inexpensive electronic and hardback editions. My first book, The Archive of Place (2007), is also available online. These and some of my other publications appear on my Writing page.

In addition to ongoing research collaborations in digital history, I also have a number of projects on the history of technoscience. One is a study of attempts to build a self-replicating device, from the machine tools of the Industrial Revolution to the RepRaps of today. As part of this research, I have built a series of 3D printers and other CNC tools. The second project is a study of mid-20th-century analog electronic computing. My colleagues and I are reverse engineering the vacuum-tube-based computers of the 1930s, 40s and 50s using the transistors and analog integrated circuits that became available a generation later. The third project is a study of what Edward Jones-Imhotep and I call ‘the universal scientific instrument’. Over the past two hundred years, most scientific instrumentation has come to take the form of a domain-specific front end which transduces signals into electronic form, and a universal back end which processes them.

This academic year (2019-20) I am teaching two new undergraduate courses. The first is on global 21st-century history and the second is called “Spy vs Spy” and is designed to teach collaborative close reading and the techniques of structured intelligence analysis. I also teach digital history, interactive exhibit design and Mathematica programming for research in undergraduate and graduate courses. I continue to collaborate with colleagues and students applying methods like experimentation, text mining and machine learning to historical research. I am currently working with Jeff Lupker. Past students I have worked with include Jennifer Bonnell, Adam Crymble, Devon Elliott, Jennifer HambletonTristan Johnson, Kimberley Martin, Shezan Muhammedi and Rebecca WoodsIan Milligan and Daniel Rueck are former postdocs. I am happy to discuss research opportunities with potential students and collaborators any time.

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