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About University of Galway
About University of Galway
Since 1845, University of Galway has been sharing the highest quality teaching and research with Ireland and the world. Find out what makes our University so special – from our distinguished history to the latest news and campus developments.
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Dr W Bernard Carlson
Alice Perry Engineering Building
Prior to coming to Galway, Bernie was the Joseph L. Vaughan Professor of Humanities and the former Chair of the Department of Engineering and Society at the University of Virginia. In recognition of his 36 years of service to UVa's School of Engineering and Applied Science, he was presented with the Distinguished Faculty Award in 2022.
Bernie studied history and physics as an undergraduate at Holy Cross College, earned his Ph.D. in the history and sociology of science at the University of Pennsylvania, and did his postdoctoral work at the Harvard Business School. He has written widely on the innovation process as well as on the role of technology in the rise and fall of civilizations. His books include Innovation as a Social Process: Elihu Thomson and the Rise of General Electric, 1870-1900 (Cambridge University Press, 1991) and Technology in World History, 7 volumes (Oxford University Press, 2005). His most recent book, Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age. (Princeton University Press, 2013) has been translated into ten languages.
In 2015, Bernie won both the Sally Hacker Prize from the Society for the History of Technology [SHOT] as well as the IEEE Middleton Award in Electrical History. In addition to his books, Professor Carlson has filmed 36 lectures on "Understanding the Inventions that Changed the World" for The Great Courses. His research has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the Sloan Foundation, as well as visiting fellowships at academic institutions in Britain, France, and Germany.
While at UVa, Bernie launched a student-facing programs in engineering business and tech entrepreneurship as well as a Ph.D. program combining technological and environmental history. For many years, he co-edited a book series at MIT Press, 'Inside Technology: New Approaches to History and Sociology of Technology' which published over 75 volumes. Bernie has served on the boards of several professional organizations including the Business History Conference, the Newcomen Society, and the National Inventors Hall of Fame and he was elected to a five-year term as Executive Secretary of SHOT. For over a decade, Bernie consulted with Corning Incorporated and he continues to consult with companies on how to create a culture of innovation.
History of technology and business
Currently writing biography of William C. Durant [1862-1947], founder of General Motors.
|(2013)|| Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age.
Carlson, W. Bernard (2013) Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age. Princeton: Princeton University Press. [Details]
|(1991)|| Innovation as a Social Process: Elihu Thomson and the Rise of General Electric, 1870-1900.
Carlson, W. Bernard (1991) Innovation as a Social Process: Elihu Thomson and the Rise of General Electric, 1870-1900. New York: Cambridge University Press. [Details]
|(2019)|| 'Using the Past to Make Innovators'
Carlson, W. Bernard (2019) 'Using the Past to Make Innovators' In: Does America Need More Innovators?. :299-322 Cambridge: MIT Press. [Details]
|(2023)|| Electrical Conquest: New Approaches to the History of Electrification.
Carlson, W. Bernard and Conway, Erik M (Ed.). (2023) Electrical Conquest: New Approaches to the History of Electrification Electrical Conquest: New Approaches to the History of Electrification. Berlin: Springer Nature. [Details]
|(2005)|| Technology in World History, 7 vols.
Carlson, W. Bernard (Ed.). (2005) Technology in World History, 7 vols Technology in World History, 7 vols. New York: Oxford University Press. [Details]
Honours and Awards
|2022||Distinguished Faculty Award||School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia|
|2015||Sally Hacker Prize for Best Popular Book||Society for the History of Technology|
|2015||William and Joyce Middleton Electrical Engineering History Award||Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers|
|2008||Sally Hacker Prize for Best Popular Book||Society for the History of Technology|
|Association||Function||From / To|
|Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers||History Advisory Committee||01-JAN-05 / 31-DEC-07|
|National Inventors Hall of Fame||Director||02-MAR-09 /|
|Newcomen Society of the United States||Trustee||01-JAN-90 / 31-DEC-09|
|Society for the History of Technology||Executive Secretary||01-JAN-09 / 31-DEC-13|
|Committee||Function||From / To|
|Promotion and Tenure, UVa Engineering||Member||01-SEP-21 / 31-DEC-21|
|University of Virginia Press||Faculty Advisory Board member||01-JAN-15 / 31-DEC-21|
|MIT Press||Co-editor, Inside Technology Book Series||01-JAN-87 / 31-DEC-19|
|Employer||Position||From / To|
|University of Virginia||Chair of Engineering and Society Department||01-SEP-12 / 15-AUG-21|
|Michigan Technological University||Assistant Professor of Science, Technology, and Society||01-SEP-83 / 31-AUG-86|
|University of Virginia||Joseph L. Vaughan Professor of Humanities||01-JAN-14 / 10-JAN-23|
|University of Virginia||Professor of Science, Technology, and Society||01-SEP-86 / 10-JAN-23|
|1977||College of the Holy Cross||Bachelor of Arts||History|
|1981||University of Pennsylvania||Masters of Arts||History and Sociology of Science|
|1984||University of Pennsylvania||Ph.D.||History and Sociology of Science|
History and culture of innovation
Luminary for corporate workshops
|National Council for History Education||
Lead Historian, Technology¿s Impact in American History: A Primary Source Inquiry for K12 Teachers, with support from the Library of Congress, 2017-2019
|Annals of Science||Editoral Board|
History of technology
Science, technology, and society
Professional writing for engineers