School of GeoSciences

School of GeoSciences

Sarah Millar

PhD Research
Science by Sail: the construction of scientific knowledge on the south seas c.1835-1850.

Supervised by Prof. Charles Withers, Dr Fraser MacDonald and Dr William Hasty.

My research looks at the production of scientific knowledge during maritime voyages of exploration in the mid-nineteenth century. It focuses specifically on three expeditions into the South Seas between 1837 and 1843 by three different countries: Britain, France and America.

You can find out more about my research here

About Me

I have always been interested in the ocean and the life that inhabits it; partly inspired no doubt by growing up on a small island (St Helena) and having parents who worked in the Falkland and Ascension Islands. I undertook an undergraduate degree in Biology in London, then specialized in marine science: it was this that brought me to Scotland. This Masters focused specifically on acoustic technology, and after completion I worked first as an observer on board fishing vessels in the North Sea, before moving to the Scottish Government where I worked as a fish stock assessment scientist, using acoustics to estimate fish stock size. Although enjoyable, I always knew I wanted to do something historical in nature, that would look at how we came by the scientific knowledge we used and took for granted today. To this end I undertook the MRes in Human Geography at Edinburgh University in 2011, with the view to pursue a PhD in historical geography that considered the production of scientific knowledge at sea.

Outside of study my free time is spent with my two young children -a lot of fun and work! We have recently moved to Perthshire and are enjoying the outdoor life: walking, cycling, (hopefully) skiing and nature spotting. After spending two years in Italy, however, we are still adjusting to the weather!