The NASA Fellowship in the History of Space Technology, offered by SHOT and supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) History Division, funds either a predoctoral or postdoctoral fellow for up to one academic year to undertake a research project related to the history of space technology. The fellowship supports advanced research related to all aspects of space history that leads to publications on the history of space technology broadly considered, including cultural and intellectual history, institutional history, economic history, history of law and public policy, and history of engineering and management. The 2013 fellowship was awarded to Margaret A. Rosenburg of the California Institute of Technology for “Impact Under Observation: Technology and the Interpretation of Lunar and Terrestrial Craters, 1890–1965,” with the following citation:
By elucidating the role technological change plays in the evolution of the impact hypothesis for the origin of lunar and terrestrial craters, Margaret Rosenburg’s project promises to show the mechanisms through which the once controversial notion that craters were formed by impacts (rather than volcanic activity) gained broad acceptance. Particularly exciting are the ways Rosenburg plans to apply her technical and scientific expertise to her investigation of the history of the impact hypothesis. She is presently completing a Ph.D. in planetary surface processes alongside her doctoral dissertation work in history of science, all at Caltech. This interdisciplinary background puts her in a unique position to, as she puts it, “examine the disciplinary, institutional, and conceptual shifts that accommodated significant developments in understanding impact cratering, particularly as they relate to the introduction of scientific and wartime technologies that made it possible to observe new aspects of the impact process.” [End Page 186]
Kranzberg Dissertation Fellowship
This award is given in memory of the cofounder of the Society for the History of Technology and honors Melvin Kranzberg’s many contributions to developing the history of technology as a field of scholarly endeavor and SHOT as a professional organization. The $4,000 award is given to a doctoral student engaged in the preparation of a dissertation on the history of technology, broadly defined, and may be used in any way chosen by the winner to advance the research and writing of that dissertation. The 2013 fellowship was awarded to Elizabeth Reddy of the University of California at Irvine for “Seismic Politics: The Scientific Development of an Early Alert System Infrastructure in Mexico,” with the following citation:
Beth Reddy’s project is original not merely for its attention to a littleknown technical system but for its sophisticated analysis of “the production of technical infrastructure as a political force in Mexico.” With support from the Kranzberg fellowship, Reddy will investigate how the Seismic Alert System (SAS) has been assembled over the past thirty years from components such as geophysical sensors, telecommunications networks, data-processing systems, and predictive models. Her examination of a complex technological system that was repurposed from scientific research to public safety will explain how political forces and technocratic goals and ideologies interacted to shape a dual-use technology. By focusing on an infrastructure for seismic detection that is simultaneously a scientific instrument and a policy tool, she is able to link the construction and uses of technology to the production of knowledge, the power of the state, and the construction of “the at-risk subject”—the Mexican citizen.
As Reddy notes, both Mexican science and the history of the geosciences have been underexplored by SHOT scholars. While Reddy’s work is based in cultural anthropology, she addresses questions that are important to the history of technology, including infrastructure, the politics of scientific knowledge, and risk. Her project represents a productive merger of envirotech and history of information technology concerns. Reddy’s level of preparation for this daunting project is very impressive, combining technical and linguistic skills with a network of local collaborators. In addition to conducting archival research at three institutes in Mexico, she will build a collection of reports related to SAS that she and her Mexican colleagues will make publicly available through various media, bringing the history of technology to a wider audience. [End Page 187]
Joan Cahalin Robinson Prize (2012)
Established in 1980 by Dr. Eric...