Scott Gabriel Knowles


Daejeon, South Korea
South Korea


Professor, Graduate School of Science and Technology Policy


Scott Gabriel Knowles is a Professor in the Graduate School of Science and Technology Policy at KAIST, the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. He is a historian of disaster worldwide. He focuses on the historical processes that make disasters possible, and the application of history to reduce future disasters. Since March of 2020 Knowles has hosted #COVIDCalls every weekday, a live podcast discussion of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He was (2019) a research fellow of the Interuniversity Centre for the History of Science and Technology, NOVA University of Lisbon.  He has previously been a research fellow or visiting faculty member of CIGIDEN/Catolica Chile (2018), the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (2016), the Rachel Carson Center (2016), and the University of Tokyo (2015).

Knowles is the author/editor of six books—including The Disaster Experts: Mastering Risk in Modern America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011); Legacies of Fukushima: 3.11 in Perspective (co-edited with Kyle Cleveland Ryuma Shineha, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021); Worlds Fairs in the Era of the Cold War (co-edited with Art Molella, Pittsburgh University Press, 2019); The Second Environmental Crisis (co-edited with James Kendra and Tricia Wachtendorf (Springer, 2019); Building Drexel: A University and Its City, 1891-2016 (co-edited with Richardson Dilworth (Temple University Press, 2016); and Imagining Philadelphia: Edmund Bacon and the Future of the City (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009).  He is also publication series co-editor (with Kim Fortun) of "Critical Studies in Risk and Disaster" with the University of Pennsylvania Press.

His work on the history of risk and disaster has appeared in Daedalus, Anthropocene Review, Natural Hazards Observer, History and Technology, Journal of Policy History, American Scientist, Technology and Culture, and Engineering Studies—he has also written for Hankyoreh, New York Times, Washington Post, Huffington Post, Slate, Conservation Magazine, U.S. News and World Report, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Hill.  Knowles is completing two new books: The United States of Disaster; and, Slow Disaster.