Matthew Shindell is a historian of science with a Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego’s History Department and Science Studies Program. His work focuses on the intersection of science and religion in the American Cold War, the postwar development of nuclear geochemistry, the history of earth, environmental, and planetary science, and the growing importance of “scientific consensus” in contemporary policy making.
Shindell has extensive experience with special collections, archives, and museums. He worked as a graduate assistant for the UCSD Mandeville Special Collections Library in La Jolla, CA, as a volunteer intern at the NASA History Office in Washington, DC, and most recently as a volunteer intern for the Harvard University Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments. He has designed and implemented two oral history projects and one ethnographic study.
Shindell’s dissertation (UCSD 2011) is a social biographical study of the life and career of the American chemist Harold C. Urey. This project grew out of Shindell’s earlier work on the history of planetary geology and the philosophical, ethical, and religious implications of astrobiology. The dissertation is as much a study of science and religion in the Cold War as it is a treatment of Urey’s geochemical contributions to mid- to late-20th century earth and planetary science.
Since completing his Ph.D., Shindell has held postdoctoral fellowships at University of California, San Diego, the University of Southern California, and Harvard University. In addition to revising his dissertation for publication, Shindell has begun work on his second major intellectual project, a historical and ethnographic study of expert assessment at the National Academy of Sciences.