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W. Patrick McCray

Current Courses

Fall 2014 (current)


Winter 2015 (tentative)


Spring 2015 (tentative)

  • History 20
    Science, Technology, and Medicine in Modern Society
  • History 295TS
    Workshop in the History of Technology and Science

Department Fields

Announcements

My personal (non-UC) web page
Also home of my Leaping Robot blog.

Social Media
If you're into this sort of thing, you can find me on Twitter (@LeapingRobot).

Machines, People, and Politics
Research Focus Group at UCSB that looks at a broad range of "technology and society" issues, past and present.

UCSB's Center for Nanotechnology in Society
Started in 2005 with a major NSF award, the CNS studies societal implications of nanotech. I lead one of its three working groups.

UCSB's Global and International Studies
I have an affiliate appointment with this program...

UCSB's Media Arts and Technology Graduate Program
...as well as this program.

Visioneers and America's Technological Ecosystem
Short June 2012 thought piece I wrote for CNN.com

Visioneers and Innovation
November 2012 piece for Forbes.com

The Pace of Scientific Discoveries
January 2013 radio piece with NPR's Morning Edition

Technologists' Siren Song
March 2014 op-ed for Chronicle of Higher Education



Current Graduate Students

20th Century Science and Technology


Professor
Ph.D., University of Arizona, 1996

Office: HSSB 3251
Hours:
Phone: (805) 893-2665   


I'm a professor in the Department of History at UCSB. My research interests concern the interplay between popular culture and politics with modern technology and science. My research informs my teaching. I offer courses on a number of subjects - from the history of nuclear weapons and the Space Age to the history of modern science and technology in the United States. Another view of my work can be found at my personal website: www.patrickmccray.com.

My Research Interests

  • My general research program addresses the histories of modern technology and science from the 1930s to the present. These include:
  • Social histories of science and technology during the Cold War; I tend to focus on the physical sciences (esp. astronomy, physics, & materials science) and their relation with technology and instrumentation.
  • The ways in which technology and science intersect with innovation, politics, art, and popular culture.
  • The emergence, development, and intersection of technological communities.

Current Projects

  • I have several new projects underway. One subject I'm looking at is how astronomers' view of the night sky changed from an era of photographic plates to one mediated by digital technologies.
  • Another topic I'm exploring is the emergence of the "DNA nanotechnology" community; the focus is how scientists took this iconic molecule and transformed it from a "blueprint" to "bricks" they could use to build things on the nanoscale.
  • Finally, for a new book project, I'm excavating the collaborations between artists, engineers, and scientists during the 1960s-90s with the focus being the perspective & experience of engineers and scientists.

Selected Books and Articles

Undergraduate and Graduate Courses I Offer

  • History 20 - Science and the Modern World
    Lower-division survey of history of modern science
  • History 105A, 105B and 105C - The Atomic Age; The Space Age; The Information Age
    Sequence of upper-division undergraduate courses on history of nuclear weapons and nuclear power; space exploration; and the social history of computers and computerization. I typically teach one of these a year.
  • History 105CW - Science, Technology, and the State in the Cold War
    Upper-division course examines relation between knowledge producers and the state during the global Cold War
  • History 105P or 105Q - Proseminar or Readings Course
    Upper-division undergraduate readings/research course; currently being taught as Nuclear War in History, Memory, and Film.
  • History 109T - Technology and Modern America
    Surveys social history of technology in American life with attention given to 19th and 20th centuries.
  • History 109S - Science and Modern America
    Course examines the social history of science in American society, politics, and religion in the US.
  • History 200HS, 201HS, 277 A/B - Graduate Readings or Research Seminars
    Offered once or twice yearly, this is a graduate-level course. Topics vary but recent examples include: Studying Emerging (Nano)Technologies; Scientists during the Cold War; Computing Histories; Nuclear Histories; and Technology in U.S. History.

Recent Awards, Grants, and Other Nice Things

History of Science and Technology Links