Zachary Loeb Named New Tomash Fellow

Zachary Loeb, Doctoral Candidate & 2021-22 Tomash Fellow
Zachary Loeb.

We are delighted to announce that Zachary Loeb is the incoming 2021-2022 Erwin and Adelle Tomash Fellow. He completed a BA at Ithaca College, before earning a Master’s in Science and Information Studies at the I-School at University of Texas, Austin, and a MA at New York University’s Media, Culture, and Communication. In 2016, he began pursuing a doctorate, and is now a Ph.D. candidate, in the History and Sociology of Science, University of Pennsylvania. 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, 2021), he has impressively contributed to public history and discourse with an insightful essay at Y2K’s 20th anniversary in The Washington Post, and served as a key advisor and on screen expert for a major CNN 8-part series looking back at the Y2K crisis.

Loeb’s dissertation is a social and technical examination of the “much-maligned” Year 2000 (Y2K) crisis. In analyzing this history, he argues that “far from being a hoax or joke, the crisis represented a serious threat that was mitigated thanks to the efforts of legions of individuals who responded to the challenge.” Beyond his dissertation project highlighting IT labor, software maintenance, and technical work, his research shows how it “represented an uncomfortable wake-up call,” one forcing global society to consider the ways daily life had become so reliant on continuously functioning computing systems, and teaching “us about perceptions of computers.” His dissertation has benefited from research he has done at the Charles Babbage Institute using our two major collections on Y2K, as well as other CBI Archives materials.

Jeffrey R. Yost


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