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Ronald R. Kline

Sue G. and Harry E. Bovay, Jr. Professor in History and Ethics of Engineering

Ronald R. Kline

Frank H T Rhodes Hall, Room 394
306 Rockefeller Hall

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., History of Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • M.A., History of Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • B.S., Electrical Engineering, Kansas State University



Professor Kline's current research areas are the history of cybernetics and digitalization.  He is the author of numerous articles on the history of engineering, industrial research, technology in rural life, and information science and technology, as well as engineering ethics.  The author of three books - Steinmetz: Engineer and Socialist (1992), Consumers in the Country: Technology and Social change in Rural America (2000), and The Cybernetics Moment, Or Why we Call Our Age the Information Age (2015), all published by Johns Hopkins University Press - Professor Kline is now writing a book on the history of digitalization in the Cold War.

He is past president of the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT) and the IEEE Society for the Social Implications of Technology, former chief editor of IEEE's Technology & Society Magazine, former advisory editor for Technology and Culture and Isis, and is currently an advisory editor for Social Studies of Science and Engineering Studies. He directs the Bovay Program in History and Engineering Ethics in the College of Engineering and teaches undergraduate and graduate classes on the history of science and technology in the Cold War and the history of information technology.


  • American Studies Program
  • History
  • Science and Technology Studies

Graduate Fields

  • History
  • Peace Studies and Peace Science
  • Science and Technology Studies



  • The Cybernetics Moment, Or Why We Call Our Age the Information Age.  Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015.
  • "Technological Determinism," International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 2nd ed., edited by James Wright (Oxford: Elsevier, 2015), pp. 24: 109-112. 
  • "Foundational Stories," Technology and Culture, 54 (Jan 2013), pp. 117-129. SHOT Presidential Address.
  • "Cybernetics, Automata Studies, and the Dartmouth Conference on Artificial Intelligence," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, 33, no. 4 (Oct-Dec 2011), pp. 5-16.
  • "Science and Technology," in Wrestling with Nature:  From Omens to Science, edited by Peter Harrison, Ronald L. Numbers, and Michael H. Shank (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011), pp. 225-252.
  • "Engineering Case Studies: Bridging Micro and Macro Ethics," IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, 29, no. 4 (Winter 2010): 16-19.
  • "Where are the Cyborgs in Cybernetics?" Social Studies of Science, 33 (June 2009): 331-362.