Matthew L. Jones

Smith Family Professor of History
G-31 Dickinson Hall

Matthew L. Jones focuses on the history of recent information technologies and intelligence as well as the history of science and technology in early modern Europe. He received his A.B. and Ph.D. from Harvard (1994, 2000) and an M.Phil. from Cambridge, after which he taught at Columbia for twenty-three years. Along with Chris Wiggins, he is the author of How Data Happened, a history of the science, politics, and power of data, statistics, and machine learning from the 1800s to the present (W. W. Norton, 2023). He has published two books previously, The Good Life in the Scientific Revolution: Descartes, Pascal, Leibniz and the Cultivation of Virtue and Reckoning with Matter: Calculating, Innovation, and Thinking about Thinking from Pascal to Babbage (both with Chicago). He has received fellowships from the Mellon Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Sloan Foundation, and the National Science Foundation, and is currently a CIFAR fellow in the Future Flourishing project.

Research Interests

Professor Jones is completing a book on state surveillance of communications from the 1970s until the present, including the explosion of state-sanctioned hacking, focused on signals intelligence agencies of the US and its allies.

Teaching Interests

Professor Jones teaches undergraduate and graduate-level courses on the history of science and technology, especially around information technologies, early modern science, and corporate and state surveillance; he likewise teaches classes in methods in history of science and digital methods for social studies and humanities.

Area of Interest
Digital History
Historical Epistemology
History of Technology
History of the State(s)
Intellectual History
Modern Science
Natural Philosophy
Science and Technology Studies
Theory of History
Home Department & Other Affiliations
15th & 16th Centuries
17th & 18th Centuries
20th Century
21st Century
United States