Roger outdoors, looking up and smiling, wearing glasses and blue button-down shirt

Roger Turner

Curator of Instruments and Artifacts

Roger Turner is an historian and storyteller. His particular scholarly expertise is in 20th-century atmospheric science, scientific instruments, and environmental monitoring.

At the Science History Institute, Roger helped launch the student role-playing game Conflicts in Chemistry: The Case of Rare Earth Elements, worked on the film The Instrumental Chemist, developed the playful online experience Instruments of Change, and contributes to museum exhibitions. He wrote and curated Mechanochemistry: The Science of Crush for Google Arts & Culture and also authors the occasional Distillations magazine story.

Before coming to the Institute, Roger taught at colleges and worked as a public history consultant, advising on oral history preservation, collections development, and public communications. His research on weather forecasting has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the American Meteorological Society, and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. You can read the bits with neat pictures at

More from Roger Turner

Extruder at Hercules Parlin plant, 1951

A Crushing Task

On the hunt for the historical sources of an underappreciated field: mechanochemistry.

Roadside sculpture showing a skeleton man walking a skeleton dinosaur

The Dinosaurs Died in Spring

Science that ushered in a new epoch also revealed stunning details from Earth’s distant past.

Family Radiation Measurement Kit cardboard box

The Nuclear Family

Two instruments evoke memories of being a child during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

upper section of a white plastic grocery bag with handles, wrinkled

Is the Plastic Bag History?

In this Roundtable course, the Institute’s Roger Turner will show what an ordinary shopping bag reveals about the science and politics of plastic.

illustration of an airline pilot

How Aviation Shaped the TV Weather Report

In this Roundtable course, the Institute’s Roger Turner will explore the hidden history of our most visible science.

plastic bag with a colorful background

Is the Plastic Bag History?

This digital and outdoor exhibition explores the history of a familiar object from a surprising number of angles.