Hugh S. Gorman

Hugh S. Gorman


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Department Chair, Social Sciences

Professor of Environmental History and Policy, Social Sciences

  • PhD, History and Policy, Carnegie Mellon University, 1996
  • MS, Applied History, Carnegie Mellon University, May 1992
  • MA, Professional Writing, Carnegie Mellon University, May 1985.
  • BS, Electric Power Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, May 1979.


I use history as a lens through which to examine the interaction of technological innovation, policy choices, and uses of the environment, with the goal being to inform efforts to construct an economy that rewards sustainable practices. My most recent project involved an examination of society’s changing interactions with the nitrogen cycle:

 The Story of N: A Social History of the Nitrogen Cycle and the Challenge of Sustainability. Rutgers University Press, 2013 

In a previous project, I examined corporate efforts to address pollution concerns in various sectors (extraction, transportation, and refining) of the petroleum industry:

 Redefining Efficiency: Pollution Concerns, Regulatory Mechanisms, and Technological Change in the U.S. Petroleum Industry. University of Akron Press, 2001

At Michigan Tech, I teach courses in which students examine how policy choices, market forces, and technological innovations interact, shaping our relationships with each other and the rest of nature. Courses include: U.S. Environmental History, Global Environmental History; Science, Technology, and Society; and the Societal Implications of Nanotechnology.


  • Environmental History and Policy
  • History of Technology
  • History of Science
  • Economic History

Research Interests

  • The historical interaction between technological change, uses of the environment, and systems of governance
  • The political ecology of energy

Teaching Experience

  • SS3511 History of Science in America
  • SS3520 U.S. Environmental History
  • SS3801 Science, Technology, and Society
  • SS5550 Global Environmental History