Daniel Zizzamia is an environmental historian who studies energy, science, climate change, and macro-scale engineering projects. He is particularly interested in the intersection of history and the earth sciences in environmental politics and natural resource policy.
Daniel earned a B.A. (2005) and M.A. (2007) in history from the University of Connecticut, and a Ph.D. (2015) in history from Montana State University. He was a Ziff Environmental Fellow with the Harvard University Center for the Environment (2016-2018). As a SGRP Fellow, Daniel will work with Matthew Hersch of the Department of the History of Science. He will continue a project concerning the historical intersections of terraforming and geoengineering. Daniel will also explore how histories and mythologies of the American West have been applied to outer space exploration and planetary colonization. Along with Harvard’s historians of science, Daniel is interested in working with prominent geoengineering scholars and policy-minded scientists in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
Daniel also will continue his book project, Beneath the Frontier: Fossils, Coal, and Remaking the American West, 1800-1920. It explores how the material remains of North America’s geologic history affected the nineteenth and early twentieth century agricultural settlement of the U.S. West. In particular, it examines how coal, scientific knowledge, industrial technologies, and religious belief combined to bolster confidence that the West that was not perpetually arid and subject to climate extremes, but rather naturally malleable with latent capacity to support agriculture. This project bridges the gap between scientific inquiry and historical research, and directly pertains to energy history, climate policy, and efforts to design and implement macro-scale engineering projects.