Profile for Penelope Hardy

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Specialty area(s)

History of science, technology, and medicine, especially technologies of ocean science. 

Brief biography

Penelope K. Hardy is an historian of science, technology, and medicine, focusing on technologies of science, ocean sciences, and scientific exploration of the global ocean.  Before coming to UW-Lacrosse in 2019, Dr. Hardy was a visiting assistant professor at Xavier University, in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Hardy’s research on ocean sciences in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries focuses on the role of ocean-going research vessels in the development of modern scientific understanding of the oceans and the ocean-atmosphere system, and in the establishment of oceanography as a field.  Her academic fields of interest include the relationship between science and the public, the role of technology in American society, the professionalization of science, and changes in popular understanding of the deep oceans. She has published on topics including military-scientific partnerships in the US and UK, meteorology in interwar Germany, and ocean mapping as both technical feat and imaginative exercise. A recipient of numerous research fellowships, including from the Smithsonian Institution, the American Meteorological Society, the Huntington Library, and the North American Society for Oceanic History, Hardy is co-founder of an international working group examining the history of oceanic science, technology, and medicine.

Current courses at UWL

Spring 2021:

     HIS 110 - Technology & Science in World History     

     HIS 300 - History of Epidemics  (NEW!)


PhD in History of Science & Technology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 

MA in History, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, FL 

BS in Aerospace Engineering (Astronautics), US Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD 

Teaching history

Past courses include:

     History of US Science & Technology (Spring 2020)

     Survey of the History of Modern Science (HIS 280- Fall 2020)

Research and publishing

I recently co-wrote, with Dr. Helen M. Rozwadowski, a piece on "Reckoning with a Racist Legacy in Ocean Science" for the International Commission of the History of Oceanography.

I was scheduled to present “Drafting the Deep: Knowing the Ocean through Images in the Mid-Nineteenth Century” at the History of Science Society Annual Conference in New Orleans, LA, in October 2020, but the conference was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

I was scheduled to present "From Swab to Scientific Instrument: A Historical Case Study in Naval-Naturalist Collaboration" at the North American Society for Oceanic History 2020 Annual Conference in Pensacola, FL, in May 2020, but the conference was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.


Recent articles:

w/ Dr. Helen M. Rozwadowski, "Maury for Modern Times: Navigating a Racist Legacy in Ocean Science," Oceanography 33, 3 (September 2020): 8-13.

"Meteorology as Nationalism on the German Atlantic Expedition, 1925-1927." History of Meteorology 8, Relocating Meteorology (December 2017): 124-144.

"Every Ship a Floating Observatory: Matthew Fontaine Maury and the Acquisition of Knowledge at Sea." In Soundings and Crossings: Doing Science at Sea 1800-1970, edited by Katharine Anderson and Helen M. Rozwadowski (Sagamore Beach, MA: Science History Publications/Watson Publishing International, 2016): 17-48.

"Matthew Fontaine Maury: Scientist." In "Forum: Reconsidering Matthew Fontaine Maury," International Journal of Maritime History 28, no. 2 (May 2016): 402-410.

I have reviewed scholarly books for Technology and CultureThe British Journal for the History of Science, International Journal of Maritime History, Endeavour, The Northern Mariner/Le marin du nord, History:Review of New Books, H-War, The Michigan Historical Review, Michigan War Studies Review, and Anthropological Forum.



Penelope Hardy, History, was interviewed by Stephen Dowling of BBC Future on Feb. 5. Hardy spoke with Dowling about her research on the round-the-world voyage of HMS Challenger, a British scientific expedition in the 1870s that is often seen as foundational to the science of oceanography.

Submitted on: Feb. 8



Penelope Hardy, History, History, co-authored the article "Maury for Modern Times: Navigating a Racist Legacy in Ocean Science" in Oceanography published on Oct. 2 by The Oceanography Society. Hardy and her co-author urge scientists who laud the accomplishments 19th century American naval officer and ocean science pioneer Matthew Fontaine Maury to also recognize his support for slavery. As the authors write, "Presenting honest portrayals is not only historically responsible but also aids the larger endeavor to recruit and retain more diverse students and scientists."

Submitted on: Oct. 3, 2020