Matthew Shindell portrait

Matthew Shindell

Science historian and curator at the Smithsonian Institution

Dr. Matthew Shindell is a historian of science whose work focuses on the history of the earth and planetary sciences, with an emphasis on the development of research programs in these fields during the Cold War. He curates the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s collection of spacecraft, instruments, and other artifacts related to the exploration and study of the solar system.

Shindell received a BS in Biology from Arizona State University (1999), an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop (2001), an MS in Biology: Biology and Society from Arizona State University (2004), and a Ph.D. in History of Science from the University of California, San Diego (2011). While a graduate student, Shindell received fellowships from the Chemical Heritage Foundation, the UC San Diego Center for the Humanities, the UC San Diego Science Studies Program, the Mandeville Special Collections Library, and the National Science Foundation. He has held postdoctoral fellowships from the UC San Diego, the University of Southern California, the Huntington Library, and Harvard University. He has taught at the University of Southern California and Harvard University.

Shindell is the author of The Life and Science of Harold C. Urey (University of Chicago Press, 2019), a biographical study of the life and career of the American chemist Harold C. Urey. The book uses Urey’s life as a lens to examine the changing landscape of American science during the 20th century and the emergence of new sciences of the earth and planets in the Cold War. Shindell is co-author of the book Discerning Experts: The Practices of Scientific Assessment for Environmental Policy (University of Chicago Press, 2019), an assessment of the assessments that have helped to guide government policy and action on pressing environmental problems.

Photo and biographical information from the National Air and Space Museum.

Latest Planetary Radio Appearances

Space Policy Edition: The ahistorical era of commercial lunar exploration

Science historian Dr. Matt Shindell joins the show to discuss the unique era of commercial lunar exploration, and how planetary exploration has evolved and can continue to evolve on and around the Moon.