Photo by Tony RinaldoPhoto by Tony Rinaldo
Conevery BoltonValencius
Katherine Hampson Bessell Fellow
Boston College
Frackquakes and the Heartland: Science, Uncertainty, and Public Debate

Conevery Bolton Valencius is a professor of history at Boston College. She writes about and teaches US environmental history, the history of science and medicine, and the American Civil War. Her recent projects have focused on the history of earthquakes and seismology, the history of the environmental sciences, and journeys of trade and exploration in the American West.

While at Radcliffe, Valencius is writing a popularly oriented book about induced seismicity and hydraulic fracturing in mid-continent—that is, what we know and don't know about earthquakes caused by deep-level wastewater injection wells. The book will investigate how public knowledge of science interacts with scientific practice in the United States, especially in the economically and politically fraught arena of resource extraction, and will advocate for greater public engagement and awareness about scientific work in areas of civic debate.

Valencius earned a PhD in the history of science at Harvard University. She is the author of The Health of the Country: How American Settlers Understood Themselves and Their Land (Basic Books, 2002), which won several prizes in writing and environmental history. Her most recent book is The Lost History of the New Madrid Earthquakes (University of Chicago Press, 2013), which asks how we know what we know (or what we think we know) about a series of long-forgotten but large earthquakes that rocked the United States in 1811–1812.

2016–2017 Radcliffe Institute Fellows

This information is accurate as of the fellowship year indicated for each fellow.
Photo by Tony Rinaldo