Serving as the coordinator for the Lemelson Center Fellowship Program is one of the most rewarding aspects of my job. Since 1996, our fellowship program has supported the research of approximately 80 scholars by facilitating access to the vast invention and technology collections of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
From time to time, I like to catch up with our alumni fellows and report on their impressive accomplishments. Several of our alumni fellows have recently published or have forthcoming books based, in part, on research conducted during their Lemelson Center fellowship residencies.
Dr. Casey Cater teaches social studies at the Weber School and is an energy historian based in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2015, he was a Lemelson Center predoctoral fellow while pursuing a PhD in history at Georgia State University. In May 2019, he published Regenerating Dixie: Electric Energy and the Modern South (University of Pittsburgh Press).
Dr. Gerardo Con Díaz is associate professor of Science and Technology Studies at the University of California, Davis; he is also editor-in-chief of the academic journal IEEE Annals of the History of Computing. Con was a Lemelson Center predoctoral fellow in 2015 while pursuing his PhD in history at Yale University. In January 2020, he published Software Rights: How Patent Law Transformed Software Development in America (Yale University Press).
Dr. Ai Hisano is senior lecturer in the Graduate School of Economics at Kyoto University. She was a Lemelson Center predoctoral fellow in 2014 while pursuing a PhD in history at the University of Delaware. In November 2019, Ai published Visualizing Taste: How Business Changed the Look of What You Eat (Harvard University Press). The book recently received the 2020 Hagley Prize (best book in business history) from the Business History Conference.
Dr. Joris Mercelis is assistant professor of the History of Science and Technology at Johns Hopkins University. Joris was a Lemelson Center predoctoral fellow in 2010 while pursuing a PhD in history from Ghent University. In March 2020, Joris published his book, Beyond Bakelite: Leo Baekeland and the Business of Science and Invention (MIT Press), which is the latest title in our book series, the Lemelson Center Studies in Invention and Innovation.
Dr. Lee Vinsel is assistant professor of Science, Technology, and Society (STS) at Virginia Tech. Lee was a Lemelson Center postdoctoral fellow in 2013; at the time, he was an assistant professor of STS at the Stevens Institute of Technology. In July 2019, Lee published Moving Violations: Automobiles, Experts, and Regulations in the United States (Johns Hopkins University Press). Lee is also a frequent columnist on innovation, design thinking, maintenance, and technical expertise for the New York Times, the Washington Post, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Dr. Bess Williamson is associate professor of Art History, Theory, and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Bess was a Lemelson predoctoral fellow in 2010 while pursuing a PhD in History at the University of Delaware. In January 2019, she published Accessible America: A History of Disability and Design (NYU Press). The paperback edition was issued in May 2020.
Dr. Raiford Guins is professor of Cinema and Media Studies at Indiana University. In 2010, he was a Lemelson Center postdoctoral fellow and assistant professor of Digital Cultural Studies at Stony Brook University. In November 2020, Bloomsbury will publish his latest book, Atari Design: Impressions on Coin-Operated Video Game Machines.
Dr. W. Patrick McCray is professor of history at University of California, Santa Barbara. Patrick was the 2018 Arthur Molella Distinguished Fellow. In October 2020, MIT Press will publish Making Art Work: How Cold War Engineers and Artists Forged a New Creative Culture.
Lee Vinsel has been busy! Together with Dr. Andrew L. Russell, he is co-author of The Innovation Delusion: How Our Obsession with the New has Disrupted the Work that Matters Most (Penguin Random House), forthcoming in September 2020.
Fellows, if I have inadvertently missed your recent or forthcoming book project, please leave a comment below or reach out to me directly. Please join me in congratulating our fabulous alumni authors!