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HST Alumni Newsletter

Issue No. 1, September 2002

In this issue:
. . . [Message from the Director]
. . . [Updates from Our Alumni]

This first edition of our Alumni Newsletter inaugurates a new tradition in the Program of History of Science and Technology as we try to keep in touch with our former students and allow you to more readily keep up with your classmates. The Program was formally established and granted the power to offer graduate degrees in 1979, although Roger Stuewer and I came in 1972, and Ed Layton 3 years later. We have now awarded 36 degrees ? 25 doctorates and 11 masters -- since our first degree was awarded to Eda Kranakis in 1982. That is certainly enough for an alumni newsletter! We intend to distribute it at least annually. Most of this first newsletter consists of your own biographical updates.

This past year we awarded five Ph.D.s, the most ever. Five new students started earlier this month, and they will assuredly continue the tradition of the five who just completed their studies here. All of our students are always way above average, even better than in Lake Woebegone, so that the Program continues its lively tradition. Of our five recent graduates, Mary Thomas is raising her two daughters and will be on the faculty of the Program next Spring to fill in for Jennifer Alexander who will be on leave; David Sepkoski has a two-year visiting assistant professor position at Oberlin College; Karin Matchett has a two-year post-doc at Yale University, where she will be working with Dan Kevles; Kevin Francis will continue his faculty position at Mount Angel Seminary in Oregon; and Juan Ilerbaig, who defended his dissertation last spring is currently living in Miami, FL, where his wife Claustre teaches economics at the University of Miami, and planning to apply for a postdoctoral fellowship.

Last spring we launched a redesigned web page for the program, and you might want to look at it at It will bring you up to date on our current students and faculty. If there is sufficient interest, it should be possible to add an alumni section. Let us know how we can help you. For example, we could distribute our list of alumni addresses. Incidentally, we have lost touch with two of our graduates: Brian Nicholson (Ph. D. 1988), and Natalie McIntire (MS, 1993). Do any of you have a recent address for either of them? If so let Barbara Eastwold know.

The drive for Graduate Student Fellowship funds has been partly successful and continues. Your generous contributions have played an important part in our success. The Tomashes have pledged $150,000 and we have raised nearly $50,000 for the Roger Stuewer fund. The university is still matching contributions to the Roger Stuewer Fellowship Fund, so that if you wish to make a contribution this year, it will in effect be doubled. Contact Barbara or me to make a contribution, which is, of course, tax deductible.

Many of us, faculty and students, will be at the HSS meeting in Milwaukee this November. We hope to see you there, and remember that the Program always hosts a reception for the Minnesota crowd one evening, usually Saturday.

Alan Shapiro 

Charles Atchley (1991)
Dixon, IL

(July 2002) Soon after graduation with my Ph.D. in December 1991, I flew to Melbourne, Australia, to give a talk at the University of Melbourne on the acceptance and discovery of the neutrino, the subject of my dissertation. During the next year I taught physics, astronomy, and engineering courses at Minneapolis Community College.

In 1993 I accepted a position as Dean of the Industrial Technology, Mathematics, and Science Division at Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC). Some of the highlights for me during the five years I held this position included writing and securing grants to initiate programs in Geographic Information Systems and Arboriculture, setting up a multi-disciplinary research, education, and demonstration program on energy conservation and geothermal energy, and creating a partnership between my Division's construction trades programs and the regional community social service organization to build and manage two six-plex apartment buildings for low-income residents. This latter grant and project won two Shining Star Awards from the Iowa Department of Economic Development. The downside of these five years was the dissolution of my 20-year marriage.

Since 1998 I have been employed as Professor of Physics and Mathematics at Sauk Valley Community College in Illinois. During the last academic year, I also wrote and subsequently taught a course on Women, Gender, and Science that was inspired by a course taught by Sally Gregory Kohlstedt.

For all the professional activities in which I have engaged, I am continuously reminded of the critical analysis skills that I received from the faculty in the History of Science and Technology Program. Exceedingly special thanks is due to Roger Stuewer, my thesis advisor.

Charles E. Atchley, Professor
Sauk Valley Community College
173 Illinois, Route 2
Dixon, IL 61021
Tel: (815) 288-5511 x215

Brett Steele (1994)
Santa Monica, CA

(December 2001 ) As an alumni of the Program for the History of Science and Technology at the U of M (Ph.D. 1994), I wanted to let it be known that, yes, there is a professional life beyond the academy. I am now employed as a Policy Analyst at the RAND Corporation, having completed my postdoc fellowship at the Dibner Institute last December and received enlightenment at MIT's Security Studies Program. Hence I am working primarily for the Arroyo Center, the research institute for the U.S. Army, where I am involved with projects addressing military transformation, strategic and operational mobility, civil-military relations, and the anti-access capabilities of Third World countries. During my off hours I am currently completing The Heirs of Archimedes: Technology, Science and Warfare — 1350-1800 (an edited volume for MIT Press), as well as upgrading our condo in downtown Santa Monica with my wife, Tamera; step-son, Ian; and Westie-dog, Kepler (yes, he actually runs in elliptical orbits).

Brett Steele
RAND Corporation
1700 Main Street, PO Box 2138
Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
Tel: (310) 393-0411 ext. 6110

John P. Jackson, Jr. (1996)
Boulder, CO

(July 2002) I left Minnesota in 1993 right after taking my comprehensive exams. I wrote my dissertation in Tallahassee, Florida, while becoming a new parent. The dissertation is finished, the kids are still "in process" - Maggie is now 8 and Jack is 5. After finishing my dissertation (Ph.D. 1997), I worked on transforming it into book and recently published it as: John P. Jackson, Jr., Social Scientists for Social Justice: Making the Case Against Segregation (New York: New York University Press, 2001). An article from the book won a prize from the American Psychological Association for the "Best Article in History of Psychology for the Year 2000."

In 1998, my wife, Michele, was recruited to a new faculty position at the University of Colorado-Boulder. I am now a faculty member in the Department of Communication here. My new position has led me to focus more on the rhetorical aspects of science and society. For example, I recently took part in a two-week summer seminar led by David Depew of the Program in the Rhetoric of Inquiry at the University of Iowa.

My current research project is on how scientific arguments were used to defend racial segregation in the American South during the era of "massive resistance" to integration in the 1950s and 1960s. This book is also under contract to NYU press and should be completed in the fall of 2003.

In addition to the "segregationist science" book, I am working on a book with Dr. Nadine Weidman of Harvard University on a general history of the race concept in western science for ABC-Clio under the editorship of Mark Largent, previously of the University of Minnesota, now at the University of Puget Sound. This book should be finished in Spring 2003.

Where not on fire, Colorado is a terrific place to live. While not writing and reading, I play with the kids.

John P. Jackson, Ph.D.
Department of Communication
270 UCB, Hellems 94
University of Colorado
Boulder CO 80309-0270
Tel: (303) 492-8739

Stephen Johnson (1997)
Grand Forks, ND

(December 2001) I am now an associate professor in the Space Studies Department of the University of North Dakota. Since graduating from the HST program in 1997, I have been learning the ropes of faculty and scholarly life, and have had a number of interesting projects. My doctoral dissertation has been crafted and re-crafted a few times since 1997, and is now being advertised in the spring catalog as The Secret of Apollo for The Johns Hopkins University Press. They expect it to be in print late spring or early summer. I also have a second book coming out, called The United States Air Force and the Culture of Innovation. This one should be out any day now, published by the United States Air Force. While the former concentrates on the development of systems management methods in the space industry, the later compares these methods with others developed in the early computer industry, in particular on the SAGE program. I am only now beginning to write seriously on my research from a project begun at the Babbage Institute on the early history of cognitive psychology. That will take a couple years at least, and I will soon be starting another project, hopefully the first public history of NORAD, the U.S.'s central command and control system for continental air defense and space operations. This promises to be an exciting and important study of a much-referred-to, but little-studied computer and communications system. It is essentially the largest and most critical large-scale, real-time computer system in existence, since its development in the early 1960s. It literally controls the fate of the world in its detection of nuclear weapons, and directing the counterattack. On the teaching front, I currently teach four courses on a two year rotation: History of Astronomy and Cosmology, History of the Space Age, Commercialization of Space, and Management of Space Enterprises.

I have also been developing a doctoral program at UND for Space Studies. Like the HST program, it is interdisciplinary, except even more so... involving business, history, political science, physical science, and engineering. The program will use partnerships between Space Studies and several other departments around the university, and will be offered on campus and also at a distance. This latter consideration has involved much discussion and debate, but we are now convinced that we can create a high-quality doctoral program that involves both traditional on-campus and innovative distance education methods. Our department has been actually doing distance education in ways that others only talk about. This was one reason I came to UND. Finally, I actually live in Colorado Springs, even though I'm a faculty of UND. I am the first "distant professor", to go along with our many (over 200) distant students. If this works, we may well have many others. If our Ph.D. program is approved this spring, as we expect, we will be hiring 9 new faculty. It is possible that one or two of these could potentially be historians with interests in space politics and/or space business. Current HST students and other HST grads might want to keep this in mind. We would start hiring next academic year.

I have been the editor of Quest: The History of Spaceflight Quarterly, since 1998. We are always looking for scholarly space history articles.

Stephen B. Johnson
Associate Professor, Space Studies Dept.
Editor, Quest
University of North Dakota
Grand Forks, ND 58202
Tel: (719) 487-9833

Chris Young (1997)
Milwaukee, WI

(July 2002) Chris Young is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Biology at Alverno College. This is a full-time, tenure-track position, beginning fall 2002. He wrote In the Absence of Predators: Conservation and Controversy on the Kaibab Plateau, published by University of Nebraska Press (2002), based on his dissertation. He is currently at work on a volume for the Science and Society handbook series from ABC-CLIO to be titled Science and the Environment. Chris has taught part-time at Alverno since moving to Milwaukee in 2000. He has also taught at Cardinal Stritch College in Milwaukee, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. He worked for a year as assistant director of the Center for 21st Century Studies at UWM.

From 1997 to 2000, he taught history of science and general science at Mount Angel Seminary, south of Portland in Oregon. Chris completed his Ph.D. at Minnesota in 1997. Wife Michelle works for Rockwell Automation in Milwaukee. They attended the 2002 All-Star Game at Miller Park.

Chris Young
Alverno College, Department of Biology

Diana Kenney (1998)
Marston Mills, MA

(July 2002) I've been working as an editor and writer since receiving my master's in the HST program. Presently, I am enjoying the fleeting years of working part-time while our son Joseph (now 4) is a preschooler. I free-lance; my ongoing contracts include MIT Press Journals and HealthLeaders, Inc. I also work a few nights a week on the copy desk at the Cape Cod Times, the daily newspaper of Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard (Mass.). I also write dance and theater reviews for the Times. 

My husband, son and I moved to Cape Cod in 2000, and I love living just a few minutes from beautiful beaches. It's hard not to have a sense of well-being here, though I do miss the city. My husband and I are still performing (we are dancers) with a Baroque and Renaissance ensemble, and I take classes in Cambridge with a renown Baroque dancer. I also still study and perform classical Indian dance (Bharatanatyam).

Best wishes to my former colleagues! Oh, I now possess Brett Steele's cat (a long story).

Hope you are well.

Diana Kenney
74 Captain Baker Road
Marstons Mills, MA 02648 USA
Tel: (508) 428-2722

Michael S. Reidy (1999)
Bozeman, MT

Since earning my degree, I taught for a year as a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Oklahoma in the Department of the History of Science, and have since accepted a position as Assistant Professor at Montana State University in the Department of History and Philosophy. I am teaching courses in the history of science and European history, including a Western Civilization survey course and upper division courses in British history. This Spring I am co-teaching a course entitled "Evolution: its History, Science, and Impact" with a professor in the Department of Cell Biology. This is part of a larger goal of mine to bring together the humanities and sciences in a productive dialogue here at Montana State. My research has focused heavily on the social organization of science in the early Victorian era, specifically the "subordinate laborers" Whewell worked so closely with during his tidal studies. I am working diligently to wrap up a book manuscript on that subject. In addition, I am contributing a manuscript, along with Erik Conway and Gary Kroll, on science and exploration as part of the Science and Society Series under contract with ABC-Clio. My collaboration with Alan Gross continues, and our book, Communicating Science The Scientific Article from the 17th Century to the Present, came out this past year, of which I am third author. No wife and kids yet, although the skiing and climbing and hiking in the Bozeman area is keeping me busy enough.

Michael Reidy
Department of History and Philosophy
Wilson Hall 2-155
Montana State University-Bozeman
Bozeman, MT 59717
Tel: (406) 994-5252

Kai-Henrik Barth (2000)
Washington, DC

(August 2002) After defending his dissertation in June 2000, Kai began a two-year NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, where he worked in the program for Science, Technology, and International Affairs (STIA).

Kai taught sections of the program's core class (STIA 305: Science and Technology in the Global Arena) and his first own class STIA 404 on Science in International Affairs, which focused on three contemporary issues: genetically modified organisms, biological weapons, and climate change. The class addressed the role of science and scientists in the making of foreign policy and international agreements. In particular, the class highlighted the tensions between scientific uncertainty and precautionary policies.

Kai continues his research for his book, Scientists and the Making of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which analyses how scientists shaped the political-technical content of a major international agreement over a period of four decades. In May 2001 he interviewed a number of former Soviet officials and scientists in Moscow, including Gorbachev's science advisor Yevgeni Velikhov. These interviews are now integrated into the book's sixth and seventh chapters, which cover the role of scientists as transnational actors in the test ban treaty debate throughout the 1980s. Also, Kai continued his research about the National Academy of Sciences' role in international arms control talks. He interviewed leading U.S. arms control experts associated with the Academy and conducted archival research in Boston and Washington, DC.

In October 2001 Kai gave an invited paper at a Cornell University workshop on "The Earth Sciences in the Cold War." His contribution, "The Politics of Seismology: Nuclear Testing, Arms Control, and the Transformation of a Discipline," is now under review for publication in the journal Social Studies of Science. Also, Kai organized a special session for the History of Science Society's annual meeting in November 2001 in Denver. The session, entitled "Beyond Cold War Borders: Examining the Politics of Science in International Affairs," included his own paper, "Transnational Science, International Affairs: Scientists and Arms Control Initiatives in the 1980s." He is currently preparing this paper for publication in the journal Minerva.

In addition, Kai was selected (together with John Krige from the Georgia Institute of Technology) to be guest editor of Osiris volume 21. The edited volume will have the title "Science, Technology, and International Affairs: Historical Perspectives" and is scheduled for publication in July 2006.

For the academic year 2002-2003 Kai has accepted a Visiting Assistant Professor position at Georgetown University's Security Studies Program, where he will teach two classes on historical and technical aspects of science, technology, and war. For more information see

On a personal level, Kati and Kai are the very happy parents of a little boy, Per-Niklas Barth, who was born on December 18, 2001. He is a VERY energetic and boisterous kid, has two teeth, crawls through our apartment, and is ready to walk. We call him the "sonshine" of our life. For photos see his own web page at

Kai-Henrik Barth
122 4th Street SE, #2
Washington, DC 20003

Alberto Martinez (2000)
Cambridge, MA 

(August 2002) Al Martinez left Minneapolis in December of 2000, after ending his dissertation woes, to recover some mental health in the salubrious clime of St. Blasien in the Black Forest. Afterwards, he moved to Washington DC to become Resident Scholar at the Dibner Library on the History of Science and Technology, researching the history of kinematics and associated controversies in the algebra of negative numbers. He recently completed a book on the latter subject, including a chapter, aptly titled, like his talks at the Smithsonian: "Much Ado About Less than Nothing." Meanwhile, since the Fall of 2001, he is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow of the Dibner Institute at MIT, where he continues readin' writin' n 'rithmetic, on kinematics, algebra, and Einstein, while eating too many cookies because they never buy chips or Ritz crackers at the Dibner.

Alberto Martinez
Dibner Institute
MIT E56-100, 38 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139

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