Jim Falk

Jim Falk (born 26 October 1946) is a physicist and academic researcher on science and technology studies.


Jim Falk was born in Oxford, England. His father was the philosopher Prof. Werner D. Falk (latterly Professor at the University of North Carolina[1]), and his mother an Australian, Dr. Barbara Cohen.[2] Werner Falk had fled Germany prior to World War II and was studying and lecturing at the University of Oxford.[3] The family moved to Australia when Jim Falk was young, when his father worked at the University of Melbourne. Falk attended Scotch College from 1952 to 1964, graduated with first class honours in physics at Monash University in 1968, and received his PhD from Monash in theoretical quantum physics in 1974. His late partner for 47 years was Emeritus Professor Sue Rowley (1948-2016) with whom he had two children.[4] Jim Falk lives in Melbourne as do his his now adult children and their families.

He was:

In December 2010 he retired, but remains an Honorary Professorial Fellow in the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, at The University of Melbourne. He was the founding Director of Climate Change research for the Association of Pacific Rim Universities World Institute , and holds appointments also of Visiting Professor to the Institute of Advanced Studies of Sustainability at the United Nations University (in Yokohama, Japan), and Emeritus Professor at the University of Wollongong.

Scholarly contributions

For over 35 years Falk has studied science and technology in their social contexts.[5] He has worked towards advancing understanding of the political, economic and cultural factors which constrain or facilitate the exercise of social control over technological change, latterly in relation to climate change and information technology but particularly nuclear technology, arms races and militarisation. Most recently he has focussed on the broad issues of human governance (including what needs to be done to respond to challenges faced by humanity from climate change, to energy policy, and to significant issues associated with information flows and military threats).

Jim Falk's most recent book, co-authored with Professor Joseph Camilleri, was launched by UNDP head, the Hon Helen Clark, in Sydney, Australia in February 2010. The book "Worlds in Transition: Evolving Governance Across a Stressed Planet", Edward Elgar, UK, is a synoptic overview of the way in which humans have come to collectively seek to shape their futures, and the challenges posed to that in a time of rapid transition.[6][7]

Jim Falk has made a number of media appearances in relation to the nuclear accidents at Fukushima and the implications for future energy policy. Jim Falk has recently authored a short e-book "Things that Count: the rise and fall of calculators" on the social history of calculation technology. It can be downloaded from a website he maintains on the subject.[8] His current scholarly work is on the proposals associated with geoengineering, which were the subject of a seminar he presented at the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies in Yokohama, Japan, in October 2013.


Jim Falk maintains a website on which his most recent publications are listed.





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