Smith to Direct STS
Professor Merritt Roe Smith will become director of the Program in Science, Technology and Society (STS),effective July 1, Dean Philip S. Khoury of the School of Humanities and Social Science has announced. He will succeed Professor Kenneth Keniston, who has been director since 1987.
Before coming to MIT, Professor Smith was associate professor of history at Ohio State University. He joined the MIT faculty shortly after the founding of STS in 1977, and played a major role in the development of the doctoral program in the history and social study of science and technology, which he has directed since 1987. Professor Smith has been Metcalfe Professor of Engineering and Liberal Arts and co-director of MIT's Context Initiative.
In announcing the appointment, Dean Khoury said that Professor Smith "is widely regarded as the leading historian of technology of his generation in America. He is the ideal person to help chart the next generation of STS, one of MIT's truly "interdisciplinary" academic programs, and to build bridges between STS and the Schools of Engineering and Science at MIT."
Professor Smith received his BA in history from Georgetown University in 1963 and his MA (1965) and PhD (1971) in history from Pennsylvania State University. He is the author or editor of three books and numerous articles and reviews. His book, Harpers Ferry Armory and the New Technology: The Challenge of Change, won the 1977 Frederick Jackson Turner Award of the Organization of American Historians and the 1978 Pfizer Award of the History of Science Society.
He also edits the Johns Hopkins Press series on the history of technology and serves on the boards of trustees of the Hagley Museum and Library, the Museum of American Textile History, and the Charles Babbage Institute as well as the history advisory committees of NASA and the Secretary of the Air Force. Professor Smith is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
A version of this article appeared in the June 17, 1992 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 36, Number 34).