Bradford Harris

History of Science
bch@stanford.edu
B.A. English, Duke University, cum laude; M.A. History, Stanford University
Photo of Bradford Harris

Since arriving at Stanford in the fall of 2008, my research has been aimed at clarifying complex scientific, technical, and medical issues-from cigarette filter inefficacy to evolutionary theory-through historical analysis.  In my dissertation, I illuminate a broad history of concerns about unsustainable natural resource exploitation in general, with a focus on petrochemical engineering in particular.  Featured in my narrative are the prominent shifts in the major plastics feedstocks, from bio-based materials through about 1940 to petroleum through the turn of the twenty-first century, with a current shift back to bio-based materials.  Resource logistics, policy, and profit projections have all influenced these shifts, and my dissertation is likewise designed to appeal to historians and engineers, policymakers and businesspeople.