Ph.D., Cornell University, History of Science
B.A., Syracuse University

Research Specialties: 
  • History of Technology
  • Relations among science, technology and culture
  • History of invention and innovation
  • History of science and technology museums
  • Urban Planning, technology and the Environment



Current Projects:

  • Places of Invention exhibition
  • "Inventing in America," patent exhibition NMAH, with USPTO
  • International Ecocities Initiative
  • History of World's Fairs and Technoly
  • Modernity on Display: World's Fairs in the Era of WW2 (Pittsburgh, in press)


  • Making a Modern Museum exhibition--50th anniversary NMAH
  • Nobel Voices international exhibition
  • Science in American Life exhibition 
Awards, Honors, and Special Recognition: 
  • Honorary Doctor of Science, Westminster University, London, UK (2005)
Professional Affiliations: 
  • Society for the History of Technology
  • Board, National Academy of Inventors
  • Board, National Inventors Hall of Fame
  • Board, MIT Museum
  • Senior Lecturer, Department of History of Science and Technology, Johns Hopkins University


Places of Invention. co-edited with Anna Karvellas. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, in press, forthcoming June 2015.

a companion book for the Places of Invention exhibtion at the National Museum of American History.

"Places of Invention Project" With Arthur P. Molella. Inventors Digest 31, nos. 2-3 (February and March 2015).

Provides an overview of the Smithsonian's Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the National Museum of American History and its Places of Invention exhibition project. Reprinted from Technology and Innovation 16, nos. 3-4 (2014): 175-185

“Medical Alley, Minnesota (1950s): Tight-Knit Community of Tinkerers Keeps Hearts Ticking” In Places of Invention, edited by Arthur P. Molella and Anna Karvellas, 86-109, Washington, DC Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, 2015.

Places of Invention tells the stories of people who lived, worked, played, collaborated, adapted, took risks, solved problems, and sometimes failed--all in the pursuit of something new. It dispels the myth of the lone inventor and shows that invention and innovation abound--not just in the Silicon Valleys of America but in hometowns across the country.

"The Lemelson Center's Places of Invention Project" With Arthur P. Molella. Technology and Innovation 16, nos. 3-4 (2014): 175-185.

Provides an overview of the Smithsonian's Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the National Museum of American History and its Places of Invention exhibition project. Reprinted in two parts in Inventors Digest  31, nos. 2-3 (February and March 2015).

“The Eco-City as Urban Technology: Perspectives on Caofeidian International Eco-City (China)” with Simon Joss, in ed. Simon Joss, Robert Kargon, Arthur Molella, Journal of Urban Technology, Vol 20 Number 1 January 2013. Special Issue: Eco-Cities in Pan-Asia: International Discourses, Local Practices, pp.115-135.

Ideologies of technological progress in the planning of the first Chinese "Eco-City"

“What Makes an Innovative Lab or Work Space?,” American Heritage’s Invention & Technology, spring 2010, 25: 28-37.

What makes a laboratory an inventive space?

Invented Edens: Techno-Cities of the 20th Century (with Robert H. Kargon) Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2008

A study of cities centered on large technological projects

The Longue Duree of Abbott Payson Usher: A History of Mechanical Inventions Technology and Culture, October 2005, 46: 779-96 

A Study of a pioneer in the history of technology and invention

“The City as Communications Net: Norbert Wiener, The Atomic Bomb, and Urban Dispersal,” (with Robert H. Kargon) Technology and Culture, October 2004, 45: 764-

The prospects of atomic warfare and the dispersal of cities.

“Exhibiting Atomic Culture: The View from Oak Ridge" in  “Vision of the Atomic Age: Towards a Comparative Perspective,” special issues of History and Technology, ed. Morris Low and Robert Kargon, vol. 19, September, 2003, pp. 211-226.

Examination of atom bomb exhibitions at the American Museum of Science and Energy

Inventing for the Environment, co-editor with Joyce Bedi. (Cambridge, Mass..: MIT Press, 2003).

Book of essays resulting from a multidisciplinary conference on the role of invention in mitigating environmental problems.

“Exhibiting Science in Historical Context: the Case of ‘Science in American Life,’” Museum Anthropology, 2003, 26, 1: 37–49.

A cultural study of boundary problems in the development of modern science exhibitions.

“Environmental Planning for National Regeneration: Techno-cities in New Deal America and Nazi Germany,” with Robert Kargon, in Inventing for the Environment (Cambridge, MA.: MIT Press, 2003). ed. Arthur Molella and Joyce Bedi, pp. 107–129.
“Science Moderne: Sigfried Giedion’s Space, Time and Architecture and Mechanization Takes Command,” Technology and Culture, vol. 43, April 2002, pp.374–389.
Nobel Laureates, Photographed by Peter Badge with Peter Friess and Marc Pachter, (Deutsches Museum Bonn: Bonn). 2001.

Nobel portraits by the German photographer Peter Badge, accompanying the Smithsonian exhibition, Nobel Voices. Includes statements by the laureates and brief essays by various authors.

“Mumford, Lewis,” The History of Science in the United States: An Encyclopedia, ed. Marc Rothenberg (New York: Garland, 2001), pp. 363–364.
"Was uns die Nobelpreisträger sagen: Wie aus Gesprächen eine Ausstellung wurde,” with Peter Friess. Kultur & Technnik, 2001, 4: 18–14.
“Culture, Technology, and Constructed Memory in Disney’s New Town; Techno-Nostalgia in Historical Perspective,” with Robert Kargon. In Miriam Levin, ed., Cultures of Control (London: Harwood, 2000), pp. 135–150.
"Ralph Burmester, Wissenschaft aus erster Hand: 50 Jahre Tagungen der Nobelpreistraeger in Lindau/Bodensee" Co-editor with Wolf Peter Fehlhammer, Peter Friess, and Helmuth Trischler. (Deutsches Museum and Smithsonian Institution, 2000).

A history of the annual meetings of science Nobelists at Lindau, Germany. Prepared to accompany the Nobel Voices exhibition.

“The Electrodynamic World View and the Frontiers of the Scientific Imagination,” Imagination and Sciences, ed. Abdessalam Ben Maissa, Colloquia and Conferences, 2000, no. 90, Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences, University Mohamed V-Agdal Rabat, pp.37–56.

A study of the creative influences of philosophy on German electrical theory of the 19th century. An exploration of an aspect of the scientific imagination.

Aachener Nobelpreistrager: Physik Im Spannungsfeld Von Wissenschaft Und Gesellschaft Um 1900 (Nobel Prize-Winners From Aachen: Caught In The Conflict Between Science And Society Around 1900) with Peter Friess, Andreas Fickers, Christian Bremen. (Munich: Deutsches Museum), 2000.

Catalog for an exhibition on Nobel Laureates at the University of Aachen, Germany. Considers the effects of National Socialism on German scientists

Research Budgets in an Age of Limits (co-editor, with Klaus-Dirk Henke and Hans-Liudger Dienel) vol. 2 Europaische Schriften zu Staat und Wirtschaft, ed. Klaus-Dirk Henke (Baden-Baden: Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft, 2000).

Collection of articles on effect of declining state budgets on national scientific and research institutions, including the work of museums and other cultural institutions.

“Electromagnetic Induction,” “Perpetual Motion,” in Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Society, ed. Rudi Volti, 1999.

Brief articles in the history of electricity and science.

“‘Science in American Life,’ National Identity, and the Science Wars: A Curator’s View,” Curator: The Museum Journal, vol. 42-2, April 1999, pp. 108–116.

A perspective on sponsorship issues in the mounting of a major science exhibition.

“The Modenist Impulse: Culture, Invention and the Environment” Printed text of lecture at Westminster University, London, Wednesday, 5 May 1999.

A study of contradictory tendencies in modernism toward modern science and technology.