Bio and Current Research


The author of Arming Mother Nature, Poison in the Welland Oceanographers and the Cold War, Jacob Darwin Hamblin writes about the history and politics of science, technology, and environmental issues. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Salon, and many publications devoted to the history of science, technology, and the natural world. He is Professor of History at Oregon State University.

Hamblin created H-Environment Roundtable Reviews and edited more than thirty of them from 2010-2015. He commissioned and edited essay reviews for Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences from 2011-2015, and has served as advisory editor for that journal continuously since 2011. He was advisory editor of Isis from 2009-2011, and has been on the advisory board of Environmental History since 2013. He has served as chair of the George Perkins Marsh Prize Committee for best book in environmental history, as well as the program committee of the annual meeting of the American Society for Environmental History. Currently he directs the graduate program in Environmental Arts and Humanities at Oregon State University.

His university faculty page is located here.

Arming Mother Nature: The Birth of Catastrophic Environmentalism is a book that challenges us to consider how much our views of global environmental change come from collaboration between scientists and the military as they planned to fight, and to survive, a third world war. The book won the 2014 Paul Birdsall Prize from the American Historical Association, for best book in military or strategic history. His previous book, Poison in the Well: Radioactive Waste in the Oceans at the Dawn of the Nuclear Age, was the first international history of one of the least-understood environmental controversies of the twentieth century. An earlier book, Oceanographers and the Cold War, explores the reasons for the explosive growth of the marine sciences after World War II.

Current Research

Hamblin is researching and writing a book about the links between environmental crisis and nuclear “solutions” in the most vulnerable parts of the world. This includes today’s “nuclear renaissance” in response to climate change, but also digs into the controversies surrounding mutation plant breeding, water desalination, and insect control, from 1945 to the present.

You can email him here.