The photograph above — “Memories of the Future” — reflects my happily tangled interests. On one hand, most of my professional life is spent exploring and writing about the past. On the other hand, I’m invested in how this knowledge — our own memories and our collective history — shapes and informs our future, especially where it intersects with science and technology.
I’m especially interested in how understanding the past can tell us useful things about science and technology today. Amateur science during the Cold War, astronomers’ fascination with giant telescopes, space colonies, and nanotechnologies — these are some topics I’ve explored where science and technology intermingled with politics, people, and popular culture. I’m currently writing a new book about creative experiments and collaborations between engineers and artists in the 1960s.
As a professor in the History Department of the University of California, Santa Barbara, my research and teaching focuses on different technological and scientific communities and their interactions with the public and policy makers. For the past ten years or so, I’ve been especially interested in the historical development of so-called “emerging technologies” and the idea of technological futures.
I hope you enjoy wandering around my web site. The section of it that changes most often is my Leaping Robot blog. I usually update this about once a month with a reflection or essay about science and technology, past and future. Right now, however, I’m taking time away from blog writing to focus on the new book.