Loeb Delivers 2022 Tomash Fellow Lecture on Y2K History

We are grateful to this year's Erwin and Adelle Tomash Fellow, University of Pennsylvania’s Zachary Loeb for his lecture on April 6, 2022. Nearly fifty attended this virtual event and were treated to an excellent talk entitled, "Counting Down to Zero Zero: Y2K and the risks of Computerization." 

In this virtual lecture, Loeb richly explored how many people now look back on Y2K and remember it as overly hyped and grossly exaggerated risk. In fact, as he cogently argued, it became a non-event precisely because of the extensive coordination, expense, and work by many organizations and professionals globally over the course of multiple years prior to the millennium.  He addressed the complex ways different historical actors and social groups perceived Y2K and how these often related to perceptions they had of the computerized society. His extensive research includes two incredible Y2K archives collections held at the Charles Babbage Institute where he has visited twice to advance work on his dissertation. After the talk Loeb fielded questions from the audience. His lecture is available for streaming at Video Available: 2022 Tomash Lecture featuring Zachary Loeb under the sidebar Related links. 

Loeb has a MS in Science and Information Studies from University of Texas, and a MA at New York University’s Media, Culture, and Communication. He is now a Ph.D. candidate, in the History and Sociology of Science at Penn.  In addition to extensive and prestigious scholarly publications, including “Waiting for Midnight: Risk Perception and the Millennium Bug” in Janet Abbate and Stephanie Dick’s eds., Abstractions and Embodiments: New Histories of Computing and Society (forthcoming, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2022), he has contributed to public history with a Y2K editorial article on its 20th anniversary, and as an expert advisor and on-screen historian for a major CNN Y2K documentary.

Jeffrey Yost

Twtr: @JustCodeCulture


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