Richard F. Hirsh

Richard F. Hirsh

Richard F. Hirsh

Professor

Office

423 Major Williams Hall
220 Stanger St.
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Phone

540-231-5601

Email

Department Membership

History

Expertise

  • History of Science
  • History of Technology

Professional Activities

  • Invited member of Virginia Department of Environmental Quality's Renewable Energy Stakeholder Group on Local Outreach 2011-2012
  • Appointed member of the Energy Advisory Committee of the Virginia General Assembly's Joint Commission on Technology and Science, 2010-20122
  • Faculty Fellow, Office of the Vice President for Research 2006-10
  • Acting Associate Chair, Department of History, 2002

Education

  • Ph.D. University of Wisconsin
  • M.S. University of Wisconsin
  • M.A. University of Wisconsin
  • B.A. Middlebury College

Research Interests

    Awards and Honors

    Academy of Faculty Service appointment, recognizing “exceptional service to the university, beyond a faculty member’s usual responsibilities” at Virginia Tech.

    Land-Grant Scholar Award, given by VT College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, for scholarship that “enhances the lives of individuals, families, communities or society beyond the walls of the university.”

    Outstanding Dissertation Advisor Award (co-winner: Dr. Daniel Breslau), Social Sciences and Humanities category, Virginia Tech, for advising Benjamin Sovacool (STS student) on his dissertation.

    Books

    Power Loss: The Origins of Deregulation and Restructuring in the American Electric Utility System (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1999), xi + 406 pp. (Paperback ed., 2001.) The epilogue to Power Loss is published online in the inaugural issue of SHOT’s open-access initiative, “Technology's Stories: Past and Present” at http://historyoftechnology.org/tech_stories.

    Technology and Transformation in the American Electric Utility Industry (Cambridge, England and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989), xiv + 274 pp. (Paperback ed., 2002.)

    Articles

    “History’s Contributions to Energy Research and Policy,” (with Christopher F. Jones), Energy Research & Social Science 1 (No. 1, Mar. 2014): 106-11.

    “Wind Turbines and Invisible Technology: Unarticulated Reasons for Local Opposition to Wind Energy,” (with B.K. Sovacool), Technology and Culture 54 (Oct. 2013): 705-34.

    “Historians of Technology in the Real World: Reflections on the Pursuit of Policy-Oriented History,” Technology and Culture 52 (Jan. 2011): 6-20.

    “Beyond Batteries: An Examination of the Benefits and Barriers to Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) and a Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) Transition,” (with Benjamin K. Sovacool), Energy Policy 37 (Mar. 2009): 1095-1103. 

    Sponsored Research

    “American Jobs Project.” I am the academic partner for Virginia on this 10-state effort to create policy for job creation in the wind energy and composite materials fields. I will supervise four graduate students from the University of California-Berkeley and will help write and publicize policy statements. Overall project supported by the JPB Foundation in New York for $500,000 and managed by former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm. Spring and summer 2015.

    2014 "Rural Electrification Efforts at Land-Grant Universities before the REA," Visible Scholarship Initiative, sponsored by Virginia Tech CLAHS, $1,000.00 (with Marc Brodsky, VT Libraries).

    2013-14 “Vortex-Induced Vibration (VIV) Energy Harvester for Distributed Power Supply in Coastal Regions,” $40,000, funded by Economic Development Administration, US Department of Commerce. I am a co-principal investigator (PI) with Shashank Priya (Mechanical Engineering), George Hagerman (Advanced Research Institute), Khai Ngo (Electrical and Computer Engineering), Mark Stremler (Engineering Science & Mechanics).

    Additional Information

    Current Research: historical issues relating to the current restructuring of the American electric utility system; Professor Hirsh notes that his work is very policy oriented.