Introducing… Guy Solomon
We’ve asked each member of the Living with Machines team to introduce themselves in their initial blog post.
What’s your name?
What’s your background?
I completed my undergraduate degree in History at the University of Oxford, where I developed a general interest in economic history (and the Industrial Revolution in particular). After a foray into the world of commercial data analysis and completing an MSc (by research) in Economic and Social History at the University of York, I moved to the University of Exeter for my MRes (in Economic and Social History) and PhD (in History). All of my postgraduate work focused on the history of the coal industry in the nineteenth century, but was primarily motivated by broader methodological questions – specifically, how short-term variations in earnings should influence our understanding of wage-earning more generally, and how to examine the reaction of individuals/family units to risk and uncertainty in their income.
My previous research has typically employed statistical techniques to address historical questions. I originally started looking towards approaches associated with digital humanities as a way to manage complex/detailed data, but this quickly progressed to embracing these techniques in my research (especially in relation to spatial factors).
In one sentence, what is your role on the project?
I am a History postdoc, concentrating on the development of new methods for understanding the social and economic history of Britain.
What excites you about the project?
Lots of things! But to pick a few: the opportunity to work in a team with diverse specialties and knowledge is really exciting – it is rare to bring together such a strong mix of different backgrounds to collaboratively address some fascinating research themes. I am also thrilled to be working on a project with a clear focus on the ‘big’ questions – both in terms of working at scale, but also in addressing important topics which will have an impact on our understanding of present-day society. I’m also really looking forward to the chance to develop new techniques/research methods.
What challenges do you see ahead?
Everything I mentioned my answer to the previous question has the potential to be a challenge – in part, that is why such opportunities are exciting. Living with Machines has the chance to produce some incredibly exciting research but radical collaboration, working at scale, and developing new research methods are all difficult – bringing those strands together into something coherent is undoubtedly going to be a challenge.
What’s the last (non-work) book you read, exhibition or performance you saw?
I have tended to opt for audiobooks lately – most recently, Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series. The last (non-academic) book I physically read was Isaac Asimov’s Foundation (and at some stage I’ll find time to re-read all of them!).
Where can we find out more about you and your work?
I am (sometimes…) on Twitter (@Guy_S_Solomon)