Contacts

Adam LucasAdam Lucas

MScSoc 1994, MA(Hons) HPS 1997, PhD HPS [UNSW] 2004

Location: 19:1076
E-mail alucas@uow.edu.au
Phone 02 4221 4659

Biography

I am currently a senior lecturer in Science and Technology Studies in the School of Humanities and Social Inquiry. Born in Brisbane, I spent my formative years there and in Hobart, before I moved to Sydney in my late teens. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, I worked in the arts, theatre and film, before heading back to university to study science and technology studies and the history and philosophy of science at the University of New South Wales in 1993.

I completed ten years of postgraduate study at UNSW in 2003, with a Master of Science and Society in 1994, a Master of Arts (Hons. 1st Class) in 1997, and a doctorate in the history and philosophy of science (HPS) in 2003. During this time, I taught HPS and STS subjects at UNSW, Sydney University, the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and the University of Wollongong (UOW), as well as engineering practice subjects at UNSW, UTS and UOW.

Between 2002 and 2008, I worked as a policy analyst in the NSW Government, primarily in The Cabinet Office of former NSW Premier, Bob Carr, in the Aboriginal Affairs portfolio, but also in regional development and housing.

My two major areas of research specialization are energy policy responses to anthropogenic climate change, and the history of premodern and early modern science and technology. My research in the history of premodern science and technology has gained international recognition and is widely cited by archaeologists and historians.

My current research is focused on drivers for, and obstacles to, the complete decarbonization of the world's energy sector. This is a continuation of my research from the 1990s in the sociology of science and technology, and the politics of technological development.

As former Sydney Convenor for the non-partisan, volunteer-led climate change solutions education and research organization, Beyond Zero Emissions, I have worked on building community, public sector and political support for the kinds of cultural and economic changes that will be required to make a rapid transition to a clean energy future. I continue to promote this work through my teaching, research and community outreach. This involves being available for public talks to community groups, training speakers, briefing politicians, giving radio and newspaper interviews and writing popular articles for the mainstream media.

In 2011, I took over Brill’s ‘Technology and Change in History’ as series editor, initially with Steven A. Walton (Michigan Technological University). I have been a former Chair of the Internationalization Committee for the Society for the History of Technology, and am currently President of the Australasian Association for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science (AAHPSSS). 

Current Research

 Over the last ten years, a major focus of my research has been the development of renewable energy policy in Australia, Asia, Europe and the Americas. One of the major obstacles to energy policy reform in Australia and elsewhere continues to be the active resistance of the international fossil fuel industry. I continue to conduct research on the history, politics and economics of this industry, and the need for its contributions to greenhouse gas emissions and electricity capacity to be curbed as soon as possible.

I am currently developing an international research collaboration with colleagues in the United Kingdom, Italy and Brazil examining the processes which led to the transition from water-power to steam in factory production during the Industrial Revolution. This research is intended to illustrate the lack of inevitability of the transition from renewables to fossil fuels during the nineteenth century, and the intimate relationship between the development of modern capitalism and the fossil fuel industry in the exploitation of labour and the environment over the last 200 years. 

Research in the History of Technology and Science

My research over the period from 1995 to 2008 focused on a re-evaluation of the contributions of ancient science and technology to the production of scientific and technological knowledge in the early modern period, and of ancient and medieval cultures to the production of modern technical knowledge. In particular, my research is concerned with illuminating aspects of the historiographical debates around:

  • the extent to which technical advances in the late medieval and early modern periods contributed to the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions;
  • the diffusion and transfer of technical knowledge in the absence of formal scientific and technical institutions;
  • narratives of continuity and revolution in the history of the sciences and technology; and
  • internalist, externalist and contextualist accounts of scientific and technological change.

Government Policy

Between 2002 and 2007, Adam worked in a variety of policy positions in the NSW Government. This included positions in the Social Policy and Intergovernmental Branches of The Cabinet Office for Premier Bob Carr, as well as the Department of State and Regional Development, the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Housing NSW.

He has extensive experience in Aboriginal affairs policy across a number of portfolios, and has also worked on policy issues concerning social welfare, local government, commonwealth-state relations, tax reform, regional development, energy, and social housing. He has a continuing interest and involvement in Indigenous affairs-related issues.

Three government publications in which Adam had a central involvement are:

Media

Prior to pursuing postgraduate studies in STS and HPS in the early 1990s, Adam worked for several years as an art, science and technology journalist, freelancing briefly for JJJ FM, and for 2 SER FM between 1990 and 1991. While undertaking postgraduate studies at UNSW, he wrote for the magazines 21.C, World Art and Black and White. All of his journalistic work was informed by insights he had gained from STS and HPS.

A national lecture tour by Mark Pauline and Leslie Gladsjo from San Francisco-based machine performance collective, Survival Research Laboratories, in 1994 and a national touring exhibition about Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam war, titled Viet Nam Voices (2001-03), both curated by Adam, received national media coverage and widespread critical acclaim.

Potential Topics for HDR & Honours Supervision 

I have supervised and am able to supervise Honours, Masters and Doctoral research in the history of science and technology, and on the sociology and politics of science, technology and the environment. I am particularly interested in projects focused on interdisciplinary research in climate change and energy policy, the political economy of the fossil fuel industry, and the history of mining and energy technologies. 

Publications

Searchable RIS publication from 2000 to date

Most of these titles are available for download via the following webpage: http://uow.academia.edu/AdamLucas

Books:

  • Adam Lucas, 2014, Ecclesiastical Lordship, Seigneurial Power and the Commercialization of Milling in Medieval England, Ashgate (UK). [HB] 414 pp., 66 tables, 10 charts, 27 black & white illust.
  • Adam Lucas, 2011, Wind, Water, Work: ancient and medieval milling technology, Brill, Leiden. [PB] 442 pp., 34 black & white illust.
  • Adam Lucas, 2006, Wind, Water, Work: ancient and medieval milling technology, Brill, Leiden. 442 pp., 34 black & white illust.
  • Adam Lucas, 2000, (ed.), Viet Nam Voices: Australians and the Vietnam War, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Sydney 160 pp., 200 black & white illust., 34 colour plates.
  • Adam Lucas, 1997, (ed.), Viet Nam Voices, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Sydney, 96 pp., 82 black & white illust., 16 colour plates.

Book Chapters and Encyclopaedia Articles: 

  • Adam Lucas, 2016. “Fulling Mills in Medieval Europe: comparing the manuscript and archaeological evidence”, in Luc Jacottey & Gilles Rollier (eds.) Archéologie des moulins hydrauliques, à traction animale et à vent, des origines à l’époque médiévale et moderne en Europe et dans le monde méditerranéen, Vol. II, Actes du colloque international, Lons-le-Saunier du 2 au 5 novembre, 2011, Collection Annales Litteraires, 959, Presses universitaires de Franche-Comté, pp. 580-594.
  • Adam Lucas, 2012, “Technological Change”, in Roger S. Bagnall, et al. (eds), Encyclopedia of Ancient History, Wiley-Blackwell, New York [forthcoming].
  • Adam Lucas, 2010, “Narratives of Technological Revolution in the Middle Ages”, in Albrecht Classen (ed.), Handbook of Medieval Studies: Concepts, Methods, Historical Developments, and Current Trends in Medieval Studies
  • De Gruyter, Berlin [to be released May 2010].
  • Adam Lucas, 2006, “The role of the monasteries in the development of medieval milling”, in Steven A. Walton (ed.), Wind and Water in the Middle Ages: Fluid Technologies from Antiquity to the Renaissance, University of Arizona Press, pp. 89-128.

Refereed Articles: 

  • Adam Lucas, 2017, "Confected conflict in the wake of the South Australian blackout: diversionary strategies and policy failure in the Australian energy sector", Energy Research and Social Science, Vol. 29 pp. 149-159 (Elsevier).
  • Adam Lucas, 2016, "Stranded assets, externalities and carbon risk in the Australian coal industry: the case for contraction in a carbon-constrained world", Energy Research and Social Science, Vol. 11, pp. 53-66 (Elsevier).
  • Adam Lucas, 2012, “Beyond Zero Emissions and the Australian Climate Debate”, The Journal of Australian Political Economy, No. 69, pp. 1-15.
  • Adam Lucas, 2005, “Industrial Milling in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds: A Survey of the Evidence for an Industrial Revolution in Medieval Europe”, Technology and Culture, Volume 46, No. 1, pp. 1-30 (Johns Hopkins University Press).
  • Adam Lucas, 1996, “Indigenous People in Cyberspace”, Leonardo, Vol. 29, No. 2, pp. 101-8 (MIT Press).
  • Adam Lucas, 1994, “Lucas Heights Revisited: The Framing of a Major Scientific Controversy by the Sydney Morning Herald”, Australian Journal of Communication, Vol. 21 (3), pp. 72-91.
  • Adam Lucas, 1993, “Art, Science and Technology in an Expanded Field”, Leonardo, Volume 26, Number 4, pp. 335-345 (Pergamon Press)

Non-Refereed Articles: 

  • Adam Lucas, 2015, "The long-term future of Australian coal is drying up", The Conversation, 22 October.
  • Adam Lucas, 2010, “Nuclear Energy: A Panacea for Climate Change?”, Australian Options, Spring 2010, No. 62, pp. 11-15.
  • Adam Lucas, 2009, “Illuminating the Influence of the Islamic Sciences”, Essay Review of George Saliba, Islamic Science and the Making of the European Renaissance (2007), in Metascience, Vol. 18, pp. 233-241 (Kluwer).
  • Adam Lucas, 1997, “Humberto Maturana: Interview”, Metascience, New Series Issue 12, pp. 59-70 (Blackwells).
  • Adam Lucas, 1994 “Feyerabend's Epistemological Anarchism” Scientia Essays, Vol. 3, pp. 90-111 (UNSW Press).

Book Reviews: 

  • 2007, Alan Cooper, Bridges, Law and Power in Medieval England, 700-1400(2006), in The Medieval Review, online publication.
  • 2005, Francesc Relaño, The Shaping of Africa: cosmographic discourse and cartographic science in late medieval and early modern Europe (2004), in British Journal for the History of Science, Vol. 38, December, pp. 477-8 (Cambridge).
  • 2005, John Langdon, Mills in the Medieval Economy: England 1300 -1540 (2004), in Metascience, New Series Vol. 14, Issue 4 (Springer).
  • 2003 - “Waterworks”, in Metascience, New Series Vol. 12, Issue 1, pp. 93-6 (Springer).
  • 2002, Roberta J. Magnusson, Water technology in the Middle Ages: Cities, Monasteries, and Waterworks after the Roman Empire (2001), in
  • Journal of Early Medieval Europe, Vol. 12, No. 4, pp. 75-6 (Blackwell).

Selected Conference Papers:

  • “Carbon Lock-In: Australia, Climate Change and the Coal Industry”, Australia’s Climate Action Summit 2012, University of Western Sydney, Apr 29 2012
  • “Fulling Mills in Medieval Europe: comparing the manuscript and archaeological evidence”, Colloque international de  Archéologie des moulins hydrauliques, à traction animale et à vent, des origines à l’époque médiévale, Musée d’archéologie du Jura, Lons-le-Saunier, France, Nov 5 2011
  • “Developing a Zero Carbon Energy System for Australia”, Resilience for Future Energy Systems, Northumbria University/Newcastle Civic Centre, United Kingdom, Oct 24 2011
  • “Getting to Zero: 100% Renewable Energy by 2020”, Social Studies of Science Conference, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Aug 27 2010
  • “Carbon Captured: Australia’s Love Affair with Big Coal”, Asia-Pacific Science and Technology Studies Network Conference, Brisbane, Nov 22 2009
  • “Narratives of Technological Revolution in the Middle Ages”, International Medieval Congress, Leeds, UK. Jul 12 2009
  • “Pictures and Words: Technical treatises and managerial documentation in the interpretation of medieval waterpowered machinery”
  • Medieval Academy of America Conference, Vancouver. Apr 3 2008
  • “The Myth of an Industrial Revolution in the Middle Ages” 12th Biennial National Conference of the Australian Historical Society, Newcastle, New South Wales. Jul 8 2004
  • “Monastic innovation or monastic oppression: the role of the Church in the development of powered milling in medieval England” Wind and Water: the Medieval Mill Conference, Center for Medieval Studies, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania. Apr 16 2004
  • “Industrial Milling in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds” Society for the History of Technology Annual Conference, Toronto, Canada. Oct 19 2002
  • “Industrial Milling in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds”Conference for the International Congress on the History of Technology, Universidad, Granada, Spain. Jun 24 2002
  • “Were the ancient Atomists the first mechanists?” Australasian Association for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science Conference, University of Auckland, New Zealand. Jul 10 1997
  • “Natives Colonize New Technologies”, Australian & New Zealand National Communications Association Conference,           Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia. Jun 6 1995
  • “Organism and Machine in Ancient Thought”, Postgraduate Conference in the History, Philosophy and Technology of Science, University of Sydney. Oct 21 1995
  • “Lucas Heights Revisited: the framing of a major scientific controversy by the Sydney Morning Herald” Australasian Association for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science Conference, University of New South Wales, Sydney. Jun 8 1994
  • “Indigenous People in Cyberspace”, International  Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques SIGGRAPH 93, Anaheim, California. Aug 6 1993
  • “Techno-Politics and Emergent Concepts in Art and Science”, AUSGRAPH 90 Computer Graphics Conference, Melbourne. Sep 22 1990

Visiting Speaker and Invited Presentations:

  • “Renewable Energy Activism in Australia, Oklahoma and Texas: Building Constituencies and New Sources of Power”, Centre for Science Studies/Centre for the Study of Environmental Change, Lancaster University, Oct 28 2011
  • “Australia, Climate Change and the Coal Industry”, Science and Technology Policy Research Centre, University of Sussex, Oct 12 2011; Institute for the Study of Science, Technology and Innovation, University of Edinburgh Oct 17 2011; Adam Ferguson Business School, University of Edinburgh Oct 21 2011
  • “Interpreting imagery and documentation of medieval waterpowered machinery”, Department of the History of Science, University of Oklahoma, Nov 5 2008
  • “Technological Revolutions in the Middle Ages”, Department of History, University of Texas, Austin, Oct 30, 2008
  • “Medieval Milling: economic, social and technological development in the transition to modernity”, Staff/Student Seminar, Department of the History of Science, University of Oklahoma. Feb 6 2007
  • “Pre-modern machine technologies”, Staff/student seminar, History and Philosophy of Science Unit, Sydney University. Aug 15 2004
  • “Ecclesiastical Mills in High Medieval England”, Staff/Student Seminar, Department of Medieval History, University of Birmingham. Nov 6 2000
  • “What is Technological Determinism?”, Staff/Student Seminar, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University. Oct 12 2000

General Publications:

  • “World Trend to Green Energy and Jobs”, Newcastle Herald, Thursday 7 April 2011, p. 11
  • Viet Nam Voices: Australians and the Viet Nam War education kit, (editor and contributor), Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Sydney, 62 pp., 26 black & white illust., 13 colour plates. 2000
  • “The Art of War”, in Ashley Crawford & Ray Edgar (eds.), Transit Lounge: The Best of World Art and 21.C, Craftsmans House, Sydney. 1998
  • “Mad Cows and Englishmen”, Black and White, No. 20, p. 22. 1996
  • “Digital Mantra”, World Art, No. 1, pp. 45-9. 1996
  • “Outbreak", Black and White, No. 15, pp. 22-4. 1995
  • “Virtual Life”, Black and White, No. 14, pp. 20-1. 1995
  • “Jesus Versus the Robots”, Black and White, No. 13, pp. 24-6.1995
  • “Spaces of Inclusion: embracing cultural difference in Western Sydney”, Critical Spaces exhibition catalogue, Artspace Publications, Sydney. 1995
  • “True Lies:  Dissident Media in the Wars of the Yugoslav Succession”, 21.C, No. 2, pp. 82-3. 1995
  • “The Art of War”, World Art, No. 1, pp. 66-71. 1995
  • “Cultural Offensive”, 21.C, No. 1, pp. 42-47. 1995
  • “Il conflitto nella ex-Iugoslavia: verità solto assedio”, Nuovo Paese, December, p. 29. 1994
  • “Rupert Sheldrake: Shaman, Scientist or Charlatan?”, 21.C, Winter Edition, pp. 82-84, 108-110. 1992

Radio Broadcasts:

  • “Nuclear Energy: A Panacea for Climate Change?”, Ockham’s Razor, ABC Radio National, May 30 2011
  • World Environment Day Special, “The Politics of Numerical Modelling: Environmental Impact at Wesley Vale”, I/V Dr Bill Hart, Dept. of Oceanography, CSIRO, Hobart, Environment Matters, 2SERFM. Mar 1991
  • I/V Dr Rupert Sheldrake, English developmental biologist, Environment Matters, 2SERFM. Jan 1991
  • “Castlereagh Toxic Waste Dump”, Environment Matters, 2SERFM. Nov 1990
  •  “The Electromagnetic Effect: Understanding energy heralds a new science”, Educational Features, 2SERFM. Aug 1990
  • “Quantum theory questions our assumptions about the nature of reality”, Educational Features, 2SERFM.Jul 1990
  •  “Science As Social Process”, ABC Radio National, Occam's Razor. Jun 1990
  • I/V Dr Roger Malina, editor of the ISAST Journal Leonardo, JJJ FM. Mar 1990
  • I/V Professor Mitchell Feigenbaum, Rockefeller University & Dr Gavin Brown, University of New South Wales, International Chaos Theory Conference, JJJ FM. Jan 1990

Research and Travel Grants 

YearGrantTitle
2011Study Leave Assistance GrantResearch on renewable energy policy and transitional policy alternatives
2010/2011Early Career Researcher Priming GrantEnergy Futures in a Carbon-Constrained World Stage 2 Innovations in renewable energy technology, policy and regulation in the USA
2008/09UIC International Links Grant (with Professor Kathleem Clapham)Scoping and Planning for a Masters Program in Indigenous Studies
2007/08Mellon Travel Fellowship, University of OklahomaDigital Vitruvius – Creating online editions of De Architectura from the University of Oklahoma’s History of Science Collections”
2007/08FOCAS Distinguished Lecturer Award, University of OklahomaTwo Ways Together: Progress and problems with whole-of-government
approaches to Aboriginal affairs policy in the state of New South Wales, Australia
2004University of Pennsylvania Conference Travel GrantMonastic innovation or monastic oppression: the role of the Church in the development of powered milling in medieval England
2002Society for the History of Technology Travel GrantIndustrial Milling in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds
2000Postgraduate External Research Grant
University of New South Wales
Ecclesiastical Mills in High Medieval England
1997Ian Langham Bursary
Australasian Association for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science
Were the ancient Atomists the first mechanists?
1995Postgraduate Conference Travel Grant
University of New South Wales
Lucas Heights Revisited: the framing of a major scientific controversy by the Sydney Morning Herald
1993Tri-Community Exchange Travel GrantIndigenous People in Cyberspace
1986Research and Development Grant
Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Trust for Young Australians
Science in Perspective

Professional Memberships

• Asia-Pacific Science and Technology Studies Network (2009 >)
• Society for the History of Technology (2002 >)
• Sydney Medieval and Renaissance Group (2002 >)
• Australasian Association for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science (1995 >)
• National Tertiary Education Union

 

 

Last reviewed: 28 February, 2018