Here's a list of my academic papers, and links to a few other bits and pieces.

Research publications

The "doi" links for journals go through the Digital Object Identifier website, which routes them directly to the relevant publisher's page. The "text" link goes to the best full-text version that's available for me to reproduce freely. This is sometimes a preprint, or a late production draft.



"History of science, technology and medicine." In Alan Kidd and Terry Wyke, eds, Manchester: Making the Modern City, Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2016, 118-169. available for purchase

"Making computers boring: thoughts on historical exhibition of computing technology from the mass-market era." Information and Culture 51(1), 29-53. doi


"Defiance to compliance: visions of the computer in postwar Britain." History and Technology 30(4), 309-333. doi (open access)


"Walls of resonance: institutional history and the buildings of the University of Manchester." Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, Part A, 44(4), 700-715. doi | preprint

Alessandro Nuvolari and James Sumner, "Inventors, patents, and inventive activities in the English brewing industry, 1634-1850." Business History Review, 87 (Special Issue 01), 95-120. doi | as published

Brewing Science, Technology and Print, 1700-1880. London: Pickering and Chatto. More info including purchase details


"Turing today" (essay review). Notes and Records of the Royal Society, 66(295), 295-300. doi | draft preprint

"'Today, computers should interest everybody': the meanings of microcomputers." Zeithistorische Forschungen, 9(2), 307-315. online edition

"Teaching source criticism and independent investigation in the history of science, technology and medicine." Discourse, 10(2), 195-214. online edition


"Status, scale and secret ingredients: the retrospective invention of London porter". History and Technology 24:3 (2008), 289-306. doi | as published

With Graeme J N Gooday, edited the volume "By whose standards? Standardization, stability and uniformity in the history of information and electrical technologies". A special edition of the annual History of Technology, volume 28. Contains:


"Michael Combrune, Peter Shaw and commercial chemistry: the Boerhaavian chemical origins of brewing thermometry". Ambix 54:1, 5-29. [doi|text]

"Retailing scandal: the disappearance of Friedrich Accum". In Amanda Mordavsky Caleb, ed., (Re)creating Science in Nineteenth-Century Britain, Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publications, 32-48. [text]

"What makes a PC? Thoughts on computing platforms, standards, and compatibility", IEEE Annals of History of Computing 29:2, 88-87. [doi|text]


"Powering the porter brewery". Endeavour 29:2, 72-77. [doi|text]

"Early heat determination in the brewery". Brewery History 121, 66-80. [text]


"John Richardson, saccharometry and the pounds-per-barrel extract: the construction of a quantity". British Journal for the History of Science 34:3, 255-273. [doi|text]

Unpublished research

My PhD thesis from 2004.

"The mighty microcosm: home computers and user identity in Britain, 1980-90", a paper I gave at SHOT in 2005. It's not really a finished piece, but I'm including it here because one or two people have cited it. Some of this material was reworked into the 2008 "Standards and compatibility" paper, but the "closed computer microcosm" section (drawing mainly on Acorn examples) hasn't been written up anywhere else.

History guides for the public

John Dalton's Manchester: a short walking tour guidebook, based on the "Science Places" audioguide I wrote with John Pickstone. We gave away copies of this at Manchester Histories Festival in 2009.


The Forty-Seven: my first and last piece of fiction in some considerable time. A solvable detective story marking the 2007 sixtieth anniversary of the British Society for the History of Science, it was offered as a prize competition at the Annual Conference in Manchester that year. No murder: it's a "what connects..." problem piece in the tradition of "The Honour of Israel Gow" (which, naturally enough, I hadn't read when I wrote it). There were not many takers for this -- one senior scholar commented that the profession has enough historical conundrums on its plate, without people going around fabricating new ones -- but at least one colleague (hello Aileen!) followed it through to the solution.

A spirited performance: a 2011 piece I did for BSHS Viewpoint about the merits of travelling from place to place lying to strangers about time travel whilst being heckled by a sentient three-litre winebox.


The usual disclaimer | Last modified at 09:07, Tuesday 21 June 2016