Western University HistoryWestern Social Science

William J. Turkel

- Associate Professor

PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), 2004
Telephone: 519-661-2111 ext. 87433
Email: wturkel@uwo.ca
Office: Lawson Hall 2267
Office Hours: by appointment Winter: Mondays 2:30pm SSC 1004

Research Interests

My research interests include computational history, Big History, STS, physical computing, desktop fabrication and electronics. My new monograph Spark from the Deep is now available in inexpensive electronic and hardback editions.

Major Research Projects

I am currently working on two projects. One is a study of attempts to build a self-replicating device, from the machine tools of the Industrial Revolution to the RepRaps of today. As part of this research, I have built a series of 3D printers and other CNC tools. The other project is a study of mid-20th-century analog electronic computing. My colleagues and I are reverse engineering the vacuum-tube-based computers of the 1930s, 40s and 50s using the transistors and analog integrated circuits that became available a generation later.

This year I am teaching Max 6 programming to undergraduates in Western's new digital humanities option, and to graduate students in my interactive exhibit design studio. I am also teaching a new graduate course on digital research methods that makes use of command line tools in Linux virtual machines. I continue to collaborate with colleagues and students on the new edition of The Programming Historian and on applying methods like experimentation, text mining and machine learning to historical research. I write code every day. There is a lot more information about my work on my personal website.

Selected Publications



Selected Chapters

Selected Journal Articles

Selected Research Funding

Awards and Distinctions