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  • The Pittsburgh Meeting, 15–18 October 2009

The fifty-first annual meeting of the Society for the History of Technology took place at the Hilton Hotel in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on 15–18 October 2009. Members of the program committee were Tiago Saraiva, Martina Hessler, and Asif Siddiqi. Serving on the local arrangements committee were David Hounshell, Joel Tarr, Larry Burke, Sarah Johnson, Michelle Mock, Drew Simpson, and Lee Vinsel. Special thanks to our sponsors, Carnegie Mellon University; the Senator John H. Heinz III History Center; the graduate programs in the history of technology at Case Western Reserve University, the University of Delaware, Georgia Tech, Johns Hopkins University, MIT, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Virginia; Johns Hopkins University Press; Scholar's Choice; the University of Pittsburgh Press; Visit Pittsburgh; and the Wetland Institute. Extra special thanks to W. Bernard Carlson and Jane Carlson.

Annual Meeting Sessions

Opening Plenary and Reception, Senator John H. Heinz III History Center—"Industrial America Seen through a Chain-Link Fence"

Brian Hayes, American Scientist

Women at Work: Machines, Tools, Bodies, and Gendered Labor

Organizer: Amy Sue Bix, Iowa State University

Chair: Susan Schmidt Horning, St. John's University

Comment: Rosalind Williams, MIT

Papers: "Making Preindustrial Machines Fit Women Workers' Bodies," Daryl Hafter, Eastern Michigan University; "'You learnt to spit and you learnt to hear': Sensory History, Workscapes, and the Lives of Southern Women Mill Workers, 1900–1940, "Gerard Fitzgerald, New York University; "'If You Can Eat a Cake,You Can Lay Bricks!' Women and Tools, Bodies and Skills," Amy Sue Bix, Iowa State University [End Page 181]

From National Security to Commercial Manufacturing: Cold War Transits of Technologies

Organizers: David C. Brock, Chemical Heritage Foundation, and Christophe Lécuyer, University of California

Chair and comment: Robert Friedel, University of Maryland

Papers: "From Nuclear Physics to Semiconductor Manufacturing: The Making of Ion Implantation," Christophe Lécuyer, University of California, and David C. Brock, Chemical Heritage Foundation; "From Military to Manufacturing: Electronics and Materials Research at the Naval Research Laboratory," Leo B. Slater, Naval Research Laboratory; "Acoustic Microscopy in the 1970s: Converting Military to Civilian by Converting Electronic to Acoustic," Cyrus C. M. Mody, Rice University

Web 2.0 and the History of Technology

Organizers: Michael N. Geselowitz, IEEE History Center, and Thomas J. Misa, Charles Babbage Institute

Chair: Sheldon Hochheiser, IEEE History Center

Comment: Thomas J. Misa, Charles Babbage Institute

Papers: "Experimenting with Web 2.0 at the Charles Babbage Institute," Stephanie H. Crowe, Charles Babbage Institute; "The History Museum as Communication Platform," Suzanne Fischer, The Henry Ford; "The IEEE Global History Network," Michael N. Geselowitz, IEEE History Center

Obsolescence and Waste

Chair and comment: Stephen H. Cutcliffe, Lehigh University

Papers: "The Hidden Life of Technologies: Rethinking the Black Box, Technological Systems, and Materiality through Waste," Djahane B. Salehabidi, Cornell University; "Obsolescence Enforced: 'Clunker' Legislation and the Automotive Enthusiast, 1960s–2000s," David N. Lucsko, University of Detroit Mercy; "Scrap: Recycling Aluminum, Diffusing Technology, and the Making of a West African Artisanal Sector, 1945–2005," Emily Lynn Osborn, University of Chicago

Operating Technological Networks

Organizers: Kenneth Lipartito, Florida International University, and Lars Heide, Copenhagen Business School

Chair: Lars Heide, Copenhagen Business School

Comment: Kenneth Lipartito, Florida International University

Papers: "Behind the Line: Purchasing Agents, Inter-firm Control, and the Advent of Mass Production at Ford Motor Company, 1908–1927," Damon [End Page 182] Yarnell, University of Pennsylvania; "From Computer Operations to Operating Systems: The Hidden Costs of Business Computing," Nathan Ensmenger, University of Pennsylvania; "Large Infrastructure between Technology and Politics: Decline of Gas in Aarhus, Denmark, in the 1960s and 1970s," Jytte Thorndahl, Danish Museum of Electricity

DDT (Re)considered: Disease Control, Environmental Change, and the Politics of Science

Organizer: David Kinkela, State University of New York, Fredonia

Chair and comment: Suzanne Moon, University of Oklahoma

Papers: "The Country that DDT Made: USAID, DDT, and Nepal," Thomas Robertson, Worcester Polytechnic Institute; "Rethinking the Idea of the Postwar Hegemony of DDT: Insecticides, Disease Control, and Scientific Research in British East Africa," Sabine Clarke, Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine, University of Oxford, UK; "DDT and the Politics of Science and Health in a Global Age...


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