Francesco Gerali


  • The University of Western Australia (M204), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


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Personal profile


09/1993 – 07/1998
Diploma of Educator, Lyceum of Social Sciences and Education, La Spezia, Italy.

10/2001 – 10/2003
BA in Modern History (honours), University of Genoa, Italy.

10/2003 – 10/2005
MA in Tools and Methods for the Historical Research (honours), University of Genoa, Italy.

02/2006 – 04/2009
PhD. in History of Science, University of Bari, Italy.

08/2015 - 07/2017    MLIS (Curriculum in Academic Collections), School of Library and Information Studies, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK. Thesis: Science, energy, and knowledge. An analysis of the scientific literature on the synthetic fuels in the 1970s and 1980s.

            Abstract:The thesis answers to the research question How historical and bibliographical research can converge together and provide scholars with better understanding on the activities of the scientists committed in the studies on synthetic fuels technology? The research documents the trend of scientific publications on synthetic fuels technologies between 1972 and 1988. The analysis develops on a sample composed by 9,317 records of scholarly and professional literature on synthetic fuels that I gathered from the on-line repositories of the United States Department of Energy. The conclusions reached results from the comparison of historical facts through the lens of the bibliographic study on the technical-scientific literature selected.

Funding overview

Commonwealth Endeavour Fellowship Program 2015

Previous positions

Post doctoral fellow, National Autonomous University of Mexico

Current projects

The main purpose of my research proposal is to survey the most significant episodes in the development of the Australian oil industry during the late 19th and the early 20th century. My goal is to outline a framework in which to place the facts, the people, and the conditions involved in the transition of petroleum in Australia from a mineral of secondary importance to the object of a targeted mining policy. The commonly held historical view presents Australia as a country with no substantial oil deposits, and therefore distant from the methods, tools and patterns of the big oil industry. The image of the global oil industry, however, cannot be based only on the oil history case of big producer/exporter countries, but should also include the stories of the much more numerous small producer-countries, which were often not self-sufficient. Australia is an original oil industry case history, from which I am looking to gather a set of data and information that will enhance further comparative studies on the history of petroleum and the geosciences in the world.


Francesco researches on the history of science focusing on the scientific and technological development of the modern oil industry. He aims to bring his scholarship on petroleum history into the recently opened research field Energy History, which bears a new multidisciplinary pattern of interpretation - history of environment, business and science - on the production and the utilization of energetic resources in the past centuries.

Francesco’s methodology considers the merging of hard sciences (i.e. geology and engineering) and humanities to interpret and translate complex scientific concepts to converge then into interdisciplinary analysis for the understanding of the meaning of the making oil in the past and the subsequent maturation of the today Oil Society.

Francesco currently hold a Commonwealth Endeavour Program Fellowship and he is working at the history department of the University of Western Australia on the project Preliminary study on the inception of the modern Australian oil industry.


Italian (mother)
English (full proficiency)
Spanish (full proficiency)
French (reading)
Portuguese (reading)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

External positions

IEEE Pugh Scholar, IEEE

2019 → …

Research expertise keywords

  • History of engineering
  • History of technology
  • History of science, medicine and environment
  • Petroleum History


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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