Dr John R Downer

Ma(Edin.), MPhil(Cantab.), PhD(C'nell)

  • BS8 1TU


Research output per year

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Personal profile

Research interests

I have broad interests in the nexus between science, risk and governance. My work focuses on issues relating to the nature of expert authority, and the role of experts in debates about environmental and technological risk. I work closely with the Science and Technology Studies (STS), and the Sociology of Knowledge literatures in this regard. 

In previous work I have looked at engineering debates about testing, safety and regulation in the civil aviation and nuclear spheres. My current research focuses on the risks of complex technological infrastructures (particularly nuclear power), and on the technopolitics of environmental debates (particularly radiological pollution). 


Structured keywords and research groupings

  • Health Science and Technology

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Research Output

Empires built on sand: On the fundamental implausibility of reactor safety assessments and the implications for nuclear regulation

Downer, J. & Ramana, M. V., 31 Jan 2020, In : Regulation and Governance. 22 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

  • On Ignorance and Apocalypse: A Brief Introduction To ‘Epistemic Accidents'

    Downer, J., 13 Aug 2019, Safety Science Research: Evolution, Challenges and New Directions. LeCoze, J-C. (ed.). 1 ed. Boca Raton: CRC Press, 11 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book

  • 7 Downloads (Pure)

    The Aviation Paradox: Why We Can ‘Know’ Jetliners But Not Reactors

    Downer, J., Jun 2017, In : Minerva. 55, 2, p. 229-248 20 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

    Open Access
  • 302 Downloads (Pure)