I have a passion for history and the early exploration of the deep sea. I enjoy sharing my research and engaging with academics, scientists, media and the public.


Mariner’s Mirror
HMS Challenger left Sheerness on 7 December 1872 to begin its exploration of the deep sea. To celebrate this moment, I had the pleasure of speaking with award-winning historian, archaeologist and broadcaster Dr Sam Willis on The Mariner’s Mirror podcast, produced by the Society for Nautical Research, the world’s premier maritime history society. Sam’s enthusiasm and curiosity for maritime history are contagious, and I wholeheartedly recommend listening to this series.

In Our Time, BBC Radio 4
I discussed the Challenger Expedition with Melvyn Bragg for an episode of In Our Time, recorded in the studio at BBC Broadcasting House on 17 November 2022, what a thrill! Melvyn was a gracious host and asked great questions. It first aired on 24 November and is now available online. The BBC page includes a recommended reading list, along with links to Challenger-related stories and resources on the web.

The Guardian, 27 August 2022
‘Scientists set for ocean crisis debate 150 years after “extraordinary” expedition’ by Science Editor Robin McKie.

Public Lectures

National Maritime Museum, Greenwich
National Maritime Museum, Great Map, 7 December 2022, 6:30-7:30pm, Member event. What a fantastic way to celebrate Challenger‘s 150th anniversary! It was on 7 December 1872 that the expedition left Sheerness, headed towards Portsmouth through terrible gales in the English Channel.

Stanfords, London
Thursday 24th November 19:00 – 20:30 at Stanfords 7 Mercer Walk, Covent Garden, WC2H 9FA. This was a fun book launch event in which I talked about some of Challenger‘s discoveries and obstacles that had to be overcome to explore the deep sea in the 1870s. I enjoyed the variety of questions and lively discussion with the audience and signed a few books while enjoying a glass of wine. A fantastic evening and I’m looking forward to revisiting this legendary bookstore for coffee and browsing through the stacks.

Established in 1853 by Edward Stanford, the bookstore is the UK’s leading specialist retailer of maps and travel books. Their roll-call of customers past and present includes such famous names as Amy Johnson, Captain Robert Falcon Scott, Ernest Shackleton, Florence Nightingale, and even Sherlock Holmes.

Academic Conferences

8 September 2022, Challenger 150: The Challenger Society Conference 2022, Royal Geographical Society, London UK

Challenger 150: The Challenger Society Conference 2022, London
Royal Geographical Society
Invited Keynote Speaker
“From Warship to Research Vessel: Exploring the Ocean’s Depths with the Challenger Expedition (1872-76)”
8 September 2022

8th IMHA International Congress of Maritime History, Porto, Portugal
University of Porto
“Making the Ocean Visible: Photography on the Challenger Expedition 1872-1876”
30 June 2022

Pembroke College Oxford
The Smithsonian UK Trust Symposium
“Making the Ocean Visible: the Challenger Expedition (1872-1876)”
26 September 2019

Royal Geographical Society
RGS- IBG Annual International Conference
“Mooring and Mobility: Continuous Cruising on East London Waterways”
1 September 2017

Institute of Historical Research
Senate House, London
Maritime History and Culture Series
“Making the Oceans Visible: science and technology on the Challenger expedition, 1872-1876,”
6 December 2016

British Commission for Maritime History
New Researchers in Maritime History, Plymouth University
“The Baillie Sounder: Following the Telegraph Cable Network Through the Challenger Expedition”
15-16 April 2016

Macquarie University, Sydney
Foreign Bodies, Intimate Ecologies: Transformations in Environmental History [link]
“Crossing Boundaries: Following the Challenger Expedition (1872-1876) Beyond the Sea”
11-13 February 2016

Antiquarian Horological Society Annual Meeting
National Maritime Museum, Greenwich
“Zig-Zag Control: Regulating Time, Movement and the Merchant Marine in Allied Convoys”
16 May 2015

Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, Germany
‘Knowing Things: Circulations and Transitions of Objects in Natural History’ [link]
“Mobilities and Moorings: The Travel of Marine Specimens Through the Challenger Expedition (1872-1876)”
21-23 March 2015

British Society for the History of Science Postgraduate Conference
University College London
“Microscope Images from the Challenger Expedition (1872-1876): Constructing the Oceans for Science and Empire”
7-9 January 2015