Deborah G. Douglas

Deborah G. Douglas is Curator of Science and Technology at the MIT Museum. She was the curator and project director for the MIT 150 Exhibition.

  • Countless Connecting Threads

    Countless Connecting Threads

    MIT's History Revealed through Its Most Evocative Objects

    Deborah G. Douglas

    150 objects, countless stories: discovering MIT's history, from a towering module for the first real-time digital computer to the famous Baker House Piano Drop.

    “[T]hese countless connecting threads, woven into one indissoluble texture, form that ever-enlarging web which is the blended product of the world's scientific and industrial activity.” —William Barton Rogers, 1860, Objects and Plan of an Institute of Technology

    Inspired by an exhibition of 150 objects created by the MIT Museum to mark MIT's sesquicentennial, this lavishly illustrated volume is a unique collection of visual and written meditations about the making and meaning of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The story of MIT is more than a simple tale of a founder's vision. It is greater than the sum of all the stories that have been or are yet to be told by the hundreds of thousands who have a direct personal connection with the Institute. Yet, with the assistance of the collective intelligence of the MIT community, the Museum was able to capture some of those “countless connecting threads”—from a towering module for the first real-time digital computer to the famous Baker House Piano Drop. Part history, part catalog, part souvenir, Countless Connecting Threads invites readers to (re)discover, through some of the Institute's most evocative objects, the essence of the vast and varied tapestry that is MIT.

    • Hardcover $55.00 £45.00
    • Paperback $25.00 £20.00

Contributor

  • The Social Construction of Technological Systems, Anniversary Edition

    The Social Construction of Technological Systems, Anniversary Edition

    New Directions in the Sociology and History of Technology

    Wiebe E. Bijker, Thomas Parke Hughes, and Trevor Pinch

    An anniversary edition of an influential book that introduced a groundbreaking approach to the study of science, technology, and society.

    This pioneering book, first published in 1987, launched the new field of social studies of technology. It introduced a method of inquiry—social construction of technology, or SCOT—that became a key part of the wider discipline of science and technology studies. The book helped the MIT Press shape its STS list and inspired the Inside Technology series. The thirteen essays in the book tell stories about such varied technologies as thirteenth-century galleys, eighteenth-century cooking stoves, and twentieth-century missile systems. Taken together, they affirm the fruitfulness of an approach to the study of technology that gives equal weight to technical, social, economic, and political questions, and they demonstrate the illuminating effects of the integration of empirics and theory. The approaches in this volume—collectively called SCOT (after the volume's title) have since broadened their scope, and twenty-five years after the publication of this book, it is difficult to think of a technology that has not been studied from a SCOT perspective and impossible to think of a technology that cannot be studied that way.

    • Paperback $35.00 £28.00
  • Becoming MIT

    Becoming MIT

    Moments of Decision

    David Kaiser

    The evolution of MIT, as seen in a series of crucial decisions over the years.

    How did MIT become MIT? The Massachusetts Institute of Technology marks the 150th anniversary of its founding in 2011. Over the years, MIT has lived by its motto, “Mens et Manus” (“Mind and Hand”), dedicating itself to the pursuit of knowledge and its application to real-world problems. MIT has produced leading scholars in fields ranging from aeronautics to economics, invented entire academic disciplines, and transformed ideas into market-ready devices. This book examines a series of turning points, crucial decisions that helped define MIT. Many of these issues have relevance today: the moral implications of defense contracts, the optimal balance between government funding and private investment, and the right combination of basic science, engineering, and humanistic scholarship in the curriculum.

    Chapters describe the educational vison and fund-raising acumen of founder William Barton Rogers (MIT was among the earliest recipients of land grant funding); MIT's relationship with Harvard—its rival, doppelgänger, and, for a brief moment, degree-conferring partner; the battle between pure science and industrial sponsorship in the early twentieth century; MIT's rapid expansion during World War II because of defense work and military training courses; the conflict between Cold War gadgetry and the humanities; protests over defense contracts at the height of the Vietnam War; the uproar in the local community over the perceived riskiness of recombinant DNA research; and the measures taken to reverse years of institutionalized discrimination against women scientists.

    • Hardcover $25.95 £22.00
    • Paperback $21.95 £17.99