Curriculum Vitae

sveinbjorn bjor

Hello, random internet guest. My name is Sveinbjörn Thordarson.

I am Icelandic by birth and citizenship, and I currently live in downtown Reykjavik, Iceland. My education was largely in philosophy, languages and history, but I am also a computer technology specialist.

I currently work as a freelance writer, translator, editor, software developer, and academic. I am also involved in the development of open source software.

In my spare time I read books, write for various online publications, play musical instruments, travel around the world, and generally have a pretty good time. I have hitherto spent a considerable part of my life living outside my homeland, mostly in Denmark and Britain. I was raised trilingual, equally proficient in Icelandic, Danish and English.

Contact Information


Postal address

Provided on request.


Icelandic Mobile
(+354) 699-2422

Please use email first unless you know me. I do not take kindly to impromptu phone calls from strangers.


Junior College

Menntaskólinn í Reykjavik (2001)

Icelandic Junior College Diploma (Menntaskólapróf), Modern Languages, w. an emphasis on English, French, German and Latin. 4 years, 1997-2001. Received the Bogi Ólafsson English Award on graduation.

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BA Philosophy, University of Iceland (2006)

Studied philosophy -- and some computer science -- at the University of Iceland (2001-2006) and the University of Guelph (2004).

My BA thesis was on epistemological justifications for simplicity as a criterion in theory choice.

University of Iceland

MSc Philosophy and History of Science, LSE (2008)

2006-2007 Master's Degree in the philosophy and history of science from the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

My MSc thesis was on the role of ontological and nomological parsimony in the adoption of the Copernican system in the 16th century.

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MSc History, University of Edinburgh (2008)

2007-2008 Master's Degree in Enlightenment Studies, i.e. the history and philosophy of the 17th and 18th-century Enlightenment, from the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh.

My MSc thesis was on final causes and the design argument in the philosophy of Voltaire and Baron Paul Heinrich Dietrich d'Holbach.

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Doctoral studies, University of Edinburgh (2008 -- 2010)

I was a PhD research student in intellectual history at the University of Edinburgh for two years. My thesis, which I never completed, was on the role of final causes and teleology in the theories of 17th and 18th-century British Enlightenment philosophers.

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I have a wide range of academic interests, amongst them European political, social and intellectual history, political and moral philosophy, the philosophical foundations of the sciences of man, historical methodology, logic, medieval Icelandic history, and modern political, cultural and literary history.



Skill: Native speaker (mother tongue)
1st language
Roughly 10 years of formal instruction
Junior College Diploma (MR 2001)


Skill: Native speaker
2nd language - learnt at age 4
Also 7 years of formal instruction
Junior College Diploma (MR 1999)


Skill: Native speaker
3rd language - learnt at age 9
Also 8 years of formal instruction
TOEFL: 670/670 (100%) (2005)
SAT: 780/800 (97%) (2001)
Junior College Diploma (MR 2001)


Skill: Poor
4th language
4 years of formal instruction
Junior College Diploma (MR 2001)


Skill: Poor
5th language
2 years of formal instruction
Junior College Diploma (MR 2001)


Skill: Very poor indeed
2 years of formal instruction
Junior College Diploma (MR 2000)

I lived in Denmark for approx. 5 years (1984-1989, 2002) and in the United Kingdom for approx. 6 years (1990-1991, 1994-1995, 2006-2010). I speak both Danish and English fluently, in addition to my native Icelandic. Thanks to my knowledge of Danish and Icelandic, and my keen interest in etymology, I can also more or less read and comprehend Old Norse, Faroese, Norwegian and Swedish.

Translation & Editing

I have worked intermittently as a freelance translator and editor since 2005. I undertake translations from Icelandic into English and vice versa, and occasionally edit advanced English texts.

My clients have hitherto mostly been translation agencies such as Robertson Languages and Park IP Translation. My forte is translating Icelandic into English, but I am also a skilled English-to-Icelandic translator and an outstanding editor of English prose.

I mostly translate and edit documents of a technical or commercial nature, but in the past few years I have also translated poetry and prose literature for the Reykjavík Literary Festival. Other clients include the University of Iceland's Science Web and its departments of social sciences and humanities.

For details, see my translation page.




en"Fortíðin í nútímanum. Ágrip af hugmyndasögu nýfrjálshyggjunnar", Eilífðarvélin: Uppgjör við nýfrjálshyggjuna, ristj. Kolbeinn Stefánsson, Háskólaútgáfan 2010.


en"Auðmúrinn mikli" - a translation into Icelandic of Mike Davis' essay "The Great Wall of Capital" from his In Praise of Barbarians: Essays against Empire (2007), published in Ritið, April 2008.

en "Ölkofri's Saga" - translation into English from the Old Norse Ölkofra saga, author unknown. Published in the Icelandic Saga Database, 2008.

Conference papers

en (14/03/2009) "The Alliance of Christianity and Mechanistic Philosophy in 17th century England", Journal of the Oxford University Historical Society Colloquium 2009: Odd Alliances in History, Balliol College, Oxford.


Icelandic Saga Database

I initiated and am the principal editor of the Icelandic Saga Database project at, a publishing repository for the medieval Sagas of the Icelanders and public domain translations.

Employment history

Computer Skills

Software & Web Development

System Administration

My development platform of choice is Mac OS X, but I am comfortable in any half-decent Unix environment. My professional experience is wide and includes back-end database programming, web programming, Unix software development and Mac OS X / iOS programming. I am a fast learner and I can master new languages, APIs and fields of software development quickly.

In general, I would describe myself as a careful and meticulous programmer. I like to think my software speaks for itself. I am equally at ease with object-oriented and procedural programming. I like lean, mean, well-commented code and I hate software bloat.

I am an old-school computer geek, with all that goes with it. My Slashdot User ID is #8688.


I have worked as a pro bono open-source software developer from 2001 to the present day. I am currently involved in the following active open-source projects:

I have also started or become involved in a number of other, currently inactive, open source projects, most of which have justifiably been delegated to history. My most popular piece of software, Platypus has been downloaded over 300 thousand times since it was first released in 2003. Platypus has also been an Editor's Pick in Mac World magazine and was an Apple Staff Pick.

See my GitHub page for further details.


I play the following instruments (in order of proficiency):

I have flirted with composition over the years, composing the music for the iPhone game Pizarro. I am also sitting on a small portfolio of hitherto unreleased instrumental compositions. I am mostly self-taught musically, and most of all I like playing the blues. I also sing, when sufficiently drunk.

Other hobbies