Thomas J. Misa, Former Director


Contact Information

Personal Home Page:

Current Research 

I am a historian specializing in the interactions of technology and modern culture. My undergraduate degree is from M.I.T. (1981) and my Ph.D. from University of Pennsylvania (1987). At Illinois Institute of Technology (1987-2005) I taught courses on computer history, the global economy, technology and culture, business history, industrial culture, technological risk, and history of engineering. I have been active in the Society for the History of Technology, the international Tensions of Europe network, and several collaborative research and book projects.

Brief Curriculum Vitae


University of Pennsylvania. Ph.D. in History and Sociology of Science, 1987. M.A., 1982.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology. S.B. in Applied Biology, 1981; minor in Science, Technology and Society.

Recent Professional Positions

Professor, History of Science and Technology, University of Minnesota, 2006-present.

Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, 2006-present.

Director, Charles Babbage Institute for the History of Information Technology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 2006-2017.

ERA Land-Grant Chair in History of Technology, 2006-2017.

Associate Professor, Illinois Institute of Technology, 1987-2005.

Selected Publications

  • Digital State: The Story of Minnesota’s Computing Industry (University of Minnesota Press, 2013).
  • Gender Codes: Why Women are Leaving Computing. Editor (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley/IEEE Computer Society Press, 2010).
  • Urban Machinery: Inside Modern European Cities. Co-edited with Mikael Hård (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2007).
  • Leonardo to the Internet: Technology and Culture from the Renaissance to the Present (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004).
  • Modernity and Technology. Co-edited with Andrew Feenberg and Philip Brey (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003).
  • A Nation of Steel: The Making of Modern America, 1865-1925 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995). Awarded the SHOT Dexter Prize.
  • "Tensions of Europe: Technology and the Making of Europe" (special issue of History and Technology 21 (2005): 1-139). Co-edited with Johan Schot and Ruth Oldenziel.
  • “Military Needs, Commercial Realities, and the Development of the Transistor, 1948-1958.” In Merritt Roe Smith, ed. Military Enterprise and Technological Change. (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1985, pp. 253-87.) Awarded the SHOT/IEEE Life Members Prize.