Emma Prevignano

PhD Candidate in History
Emma Prevignano

I am a PhD candidate in History at King's College working on the unification of weights and measures in France during the second half of the eighteenth century and on the conception and introduction of the metric system during the French Revolution. My research cuts across history of science, history of economic thought, and qualitative history of socio-economic practices. It explores the changing boundaries of scientific expertise and its interaction with political and economic actors. 

I grew up with a view on the Italian Alps and my feet grounded on the vineyard hills of Monferrato. I moved close to the coast of Devon to take a BA in History with advanced proficiency in French at the University of Exeter. I relocated to more cycling-friendly Cambridge to study for an MPhil in Early Modern History and stayed on for a PhD. Both before and during my PhD, I have spent long periods of time in Paris polishing my French and conducting research. In spring 2022, I spent a month as visiting researcher at the Centre for History and Economics of Sciences Po. 

My PhD is funded by the Cambridge Trust and the Gerda Henkel Stiftung. I have received research grants from the Joint Centre for History and Economics, the Royal Historical Society, and the Economic History Society.

I currently offer supervisions to undergraduates taking the part 1A Outline 6 option 'The Global 18th Century'. I also supervise students taking the part II paper 'Sciences and Empires' at the Department of History and Philosophy of Science.


Tags & Themes


King's College, Cambridge


Key publications

‘A passport for the metre: The diplomatic recognition of the metric system in a changing international order (1785–1799)’, Centaurus, 64 4 (2022), 889–916, https://doi.org/10.1484/J.CNT.5.133515.

‘Book review: Paris savant: capital of science in the age of Enlightenment, by Bruno Belhoste, transl. By Susan Emanuel’, The English Historical Review, 136 580 (2021), 736.