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Visiting Research Associate in History, St Benet's College, University of Oxford

Thomas Moynihan is a UK-based writer. He is a research fellow at the Forethought Foundation; a visiting research associate in history at St Benet’s College, Oxford University; and works with Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute. His research looks at the historical development of ideas surrounding human extinction, existential risk, and the long-term potential of our species. Through his writings, he aims to tell the story of how —across the ages— people have woken up to the vastness of humanity’s potential in step with learning about its sheer fragility.

He has been interviewed on CBC Radio, BBC Radio 4, and appeared on various podcasts such as 80,000 Hours and Hear This Idea; his writings have been featured in publications such as New Scientist, Aeon, The Conversation, The Guardian, The Independent, Salon, MIT Press Reader, Vice, and Tank Magazine.

Currently, he is working on a book exploring why concern for the far future—and our species’ vast potential—has emerged only relatively recently when considering the entire sweep of past human thinking…

His most recent book was 2020's 'X-Risk: How Humanity Discovered Its Own Extinction' (MIT Press/Urbanomic):

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  • 2021–present
    Research Fellow, Forethought Foundation
  • 2020–present
    Visiting Research Associate in History, St Benet's College, Oxford University
  • 2019–2021
    Research Contractor, Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford University


  • 2019 
    Oriel College, Oxford, PhD in English
  • 2014 
    St Hugh's College, Oxford, MSt in English (1700-1830)
  • 2013 
    St Hugh's College, Oxford, BA Hons in English


  • 2020
    X-Risk: How Humanity Discovered It's Own Extinction,

Grants and Contracts

  • 2021
    Long-Term Future Fund
    Funding Source:
    Long-Term Future Fund
  • 2019
    BERI Grant
    Research Assistant
    Funding Source:
    Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative