What is History of Technology?
9 units (3-0-6)
Visible and invisible technologies dominate the present, deeply impacting our personal, social and political lives. This advanced class focuses on technology's role at the intersection of science, politics and culture, primarily in Western Europe and the United States. We will examine the histories of selected technologies (rocketry, computing, robotics); the circulation of knowledge and the creation of networks (transportation, communication, energy, surveillance); real and imagined infrastructural mega-projects (Suez Canal, Atlantropa, Channel tunnel, Transrapid, Iridium); and the role of experts and technocratic elites. As the class combines the discussion of competing methodologies with the reading of field-defining classics, students will get to know a thriving area of historical research with particular relevance to future scientists and engineers.
The online version of the Caltech Catalog is provided as a convenience; however, the printed version is the only
authoritative source of information about course offerings, option requirements, graduation requirements,
and other important topics.