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Department of History and Philosophy of Science


Two centuries after the emergence of steam technologies and 170 years after initial suggestions that the atmosphere keeps Earth warm, scientists proved human disturbance of the Earth's carbon budget changes the world's climate. The work and timescales of making and knowing are decisively interrelated, yet still too little is understood about critical links between how imperial and global energy infrastructures have re-made climate and how scientists have known climate.

Funded by the Leverhulme Trust from 2019 to 2024, Making Climate History maps largely unexamined connexions between histories of places, personnel, materials and power during the period that made and recognised both a global physics and a global climate.


  • Sarah Dry
  • Mike Hulme
  • Simon Schaffer
  • Richard Staley (PI)
  • One research and teaching associate in the Department of Geography (2020–23)
  • One research associate in the Department of HPS (2020–23)
  • One teaching associate in HPS (2020–21)


Project summary



Works cited and project literature

Main image: Detail from US National Academy of Sciences, 'Planet Earth', 1958. Numbers on the full-size image are a key to International Geophysical Year activities; 3–4 depict the greenhouse effect.