David Hounshell

Hounshell headshot TO USE
Born in Colorado in 1950, David Allen Hounshell grew up in southeastern New Mexico, where his father worked in the oil industry and his mother was a nurse practitioner. He majored in electrical engineering at Southern Methodist University (BSEE, 1972) and subsequently studied history at the University of Delaware, earning his PhD in 1978. His earliest scholarship in the history of technology was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Smithsonian Institution, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), and the Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, Delaware.

Hounshell is David M. Roderick Professor, Emeritus, of Technology and Social Change at Carnegie Mellon University, where he is a member of the Department of Social & Decision Sciences and the Department of Engineering & Public Policy. His teaching career at Carnegie Mellon spanned more than twenty-five years. He served previously on the faculties of Harvey Mudd College (1977-79) and the University of Delaware (1977-91), was a guest professor at the Deutsches Museum in Munich (1991), and Chalmers Technological University in Gothenburg, Sweden (1998), and held a Marvin Bower Fellowship at Harvard Business School (1977-78). In addition to his book
From the American System to Mass Production, 1800-1932, Hounshell co-authored (with John Kenly Smith, Jr.) Science and Corporate Strategy: DuPont R&D, 1902-1980. He has also published works on nineteenth-century electrical inventors, Cold War era scientific and engineering research, government-funded computer innovation, and environmentally-related technology forcing.

Hounshell was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and served as vice president and president of the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT). He was awarded SHOT’s highest honor, the
Leonardo da Vinci Medal in 2007 and its Dexter Book Prize in 1987 for From the American System to Mass Production, was a recipient of the Business History Conference’s Harold Williamson Medal (1992) and its Newcomen Society Book Prize for Science and Corporate Strategy, and named the IEEE’s Browder J. Thompson Award recipient in 1978 for an article on the simultaneous invention of the telephone in the Proceedings of the IEEE. Hounshell is a Life Member of IEEE.

At Carnegie Mellon, Hounshell directed the NSF-funded Graduate Research and Training Program in Cold War Science and Technology in the Department of History (late 1990s to early 2000s). He directed or co-directed the dissertations of almost thirty students in history, entrepreneurship, and engineering & public policy.
(Photo by Sandy Choi, 2015, all rights reserved.)

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