Research


I am a post-doctoral research fellow at Newman University, Birmingham working on an interdisciplinary project, "Science and Religion: Exploring the Spectrum," which aims to uncover the social and cultural drivers that perpetuate a clash narrative between religion and science.

Previously I was a post-doctoral research associate at the University of Nottingham on the Snow Scenes project, coordinated by Georgina Endfield. The project aimed to expand regional pictures of extreme winter weather (particularly snow) in Cumbria through archival research and the collection of community member's weather memories.

I received my PhD from the University of Manchester in 2012 and my thesis completed in the Centre for the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine under the supervision of Dr James Sumner and Dr Simone Turchetti is titled, Risk, Blame and Expertise: The Meteorological Office and extreme weather in post-war Britain. A lovely and succinct review of the thesis can be found on Dissertation Reviews. In a nutshell, it explores developments in British meteorology and the national meteorological service in the period 1947-1963, examining how, through increased public services and warning systems, the Meteorological Office (MO) became key communicators on the risks posed by extreme weather in the UK. Through considering the role of the MO in key events during the period, such as the North Sea floods of 1953 (pictured), alongside the development of public weather services, such as the launch of meteorologist presented TV forecasts in 1954, my thesis investigates how senior forecasters at the MO became not only prominent experts communicating on risk, but also figures of blame when forecasts were to go awry.

Canvey Island, where 58 of the 300+ victims died, after coastal flooding on 31st January, 1953.
(Source: Grieve (1959) © Fox Photos) 


Beyond my thesis I have a broad range of research interests which, whilst seemingly disparate, can all be considered as topics at the intersection between science, policy, and the environment. As well as an interest in theoretical literature on expertise, risk, risk perception, and blame, I have a strong historical and geographical knowledge of flood insurance, floodplain management, meteorology & climatology, environmental policy & regulation, and disaster studies. Whilst my primary research tends to focus on the twentieth century, I am also interested in longer historical narratives which consider the separation of humans from nature through scientific and technological innovation, the development of early regulation of the environment, and the role the environment plays in shaping identity.

I have a great interest in how historians can use digital technologies to enhance, disseminate, and improve both their research and teaching. I have been involved with lots of creative research projects, from exhibiting digital images with the Snow Scenes project to managing social media strategies and creating academic blogs such as the ICHSTM Blog. For more on my freelance work and other creative projects see the Other Projects page on this site.

If you have any questions about my research or would like to know more, please email me at alexanderfrederickhall (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet me @Green_gambit

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