Robert Kargon

Robert Kargon

Research Professor

Contact Information

Research Interests: History of the physical sciences; science and social change; history of science and technology in America

Education: PhD, Cornell University

Robert H. Kargon is Research Professor in the History of Science. He received his PhD in history from Cornell University, in addition to an MS in physics from Yale University. His long-range research program centers upon the second industrial revolution (systematic application of science) and its consequences in all aspects of modern life. 



World’s Fairs on the Eve of War: Science, Technology and Modernity 1937-1942 (Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015) with Karen Fiss et al.

Urban Modernity: Cities and Innovation in an era of International Cultural Change  (Cambridge MA, MIT, 2010) with Miriam Levin et al.

Science in Victorian Manchester: Enterprise and Expertise ( new edition, Piscataway NJ,Transaction Publishers,2009).

Invented Edens Techno-Cities of the 20th  Century (Cambridge MA, MIT, 2008) with Arthur Molella

The Rise of Robert Millikan: a Life in American Science (Ithaca, Cornell University Press,1982). Chinese translation with new introduction (Shanghai, 1998)

Science in Victorian Manchester: Enterprise and Expertise (Baltimore, Johns Hopkins Press,1977).

Atomism in England: from Hariot to Newton (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1966).

L'Atomismo in Inghilterra (Bologna, Il Mulino, 1983). [translation of above] 

Contributor to R. W. Smith, [with contributions by R. Kargon,] The Space Telescope: A Study of NASA, Science, Technology and Politics (New York and Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1989)


“Making Manila Modern:Science, Technology and American Colonialism, 1898-1915” Historia Scientiarum 19 (2010): 211-224.

“The US–Japan Nexus: Roots of the Japanese Scientific Enterprise” Historia Scientiarum 18 (2008): 62-75 in special issue “Locating Japanese Science and Technology: Place and the Production of Knowledge"

“Exporting MIT: Science, Technology and Nation-Building in India and Iran,”  (with S.W. Leslie) in Osiris 21 (2006): 110-130. 

"The City as a Net of Communications: Norbert Wiener, the Atomic Bomb and Urban Dispersal" (with A. Molella , Technology and Culture (October 2004)

"Environmental Planning for National Regeneration: Techno-Cities in New Deal America and Nazi Germany" (with Arthur Molella)  in Arthur Molella and Joyce Bedi, eds., Inventing for the Environment (Cambridge MA, MIT Press, 2003), pp. 107-130.

“Knowledge for Use: Science, Higher Learning and America’s New Industrial Heartland,1880-1915” (with S.G. Knowles)  , Annals of Science 59 (2002):1-20.

"Model, Analogy and the Physical Imagination: the Case of the Vortex Atom," in  Abdessalam Ben Maissa, ed., Imagination and Sciences (Rabat, Publications de la faculte de lettres,  Rabat, 2000), pp. 15-35.

"Culture, Technology and Constructed Memory in Disney's New Town: Techno-nostalgia in Historical Perspective" (with Arthur Molella) in Miriam Levin, ed. Cultures of Control (Amsterdam, Harwood, 2000).

"The Obsolescent University? Reconfiguring Higher Education for Regional Advantage,"(with Stuart Leslie) in Karen R. Merrill (ed.) The Modern Worlds of Business and Industry: Cultures, Technologies, Labor (Breda, Brepols Publishers, 1999)

"L'atome tourbillonaire ou la reve de Kelvin," in Les Cahiers de Science et Vie (Aout, 1999), pp. 18-21.

"Selling Silicon Valley: Frederick Terman's Model for Regional Advantage," in Business History Review, vol. 70 ( Fall, 1996): 435-472 (with Stuart Leslie)

"Translating American Models of the Technical University to India

and South Korea, " in Martine Barrere, ed., Sciences et Developpement (Paris, ORSTOM, 1996), pp. 153-166 (with Stuart Leslie).

"Imagined Geographies: Princeton, Stanford and the Boundaries of Useful Knowledge in Postwar America," Minerva XXXII (1994): 121-143 (with S.W. Leslie) 

"Electronics and the Geography of Innovation in Post-War America," History and Technology 11 (1994): 217-231(with S.W. Leslie)

"Colonizing the New World and the Roots of Modern Science," in A. Lafuente, A. Elena and M.L. Ortega, eds., Mundializacion de la ciencia y cultura nacional (Madrid, 1993).

"Far Beyond Big Science: Science Regions and the Organization of Research and Development" in P. Galison and B. Hevly (eds.), Big Science: the Growth of Large Scale Research, Stanford University Press, 1992. 

"The Meaning and Use of Historical Models in the Study of Intuitive Physics,"(with Michael McCloskey) in Sidney Strauss, ed, Ontogeny, Phylogeny, and Historical Development (1988).

"Henry Rowland and the Physics Discipline in America," Vistas in Astronomy 29, 1986.

"Expert Testimony in Historical Perspective," Law and Human Behavior 10 (1986): 15-27. 

"Inventing Caltech," American Heritage of Invention and Technology, 1 No. 3 (1985): 24-30.

"Karl Compton, Isaiah Bowman, and the Politics of Science in the Great Depression," Isis 76, September, 1985. (With E. Hodes)

"The Evolution of Matter: Nuclear Physics, Cosmic Rays and Robert Millikan's Research Program," in W.R. Shea, ed., Otto Hahn and the Rise of Nuclear Physics (Dordrecht, Holland, 1983).

"The Future of American Science: an Historical Perspective," in Mark Kann, ed., The Future of American Democracy (Philadelphia, Temple, 1983.)

"Scienza e pubblico negli USA: una prospettiva storica," Sapere 49 (#8/9) (1983): 6-10.

"La Science et son public: le cas des musees americains," La Recherche 14 (#147) (1983):1162-1164.

"Birth Cries of the Elements: Robert Millikan's Route to Cosmic Rays," in H. Woolf, ed., The Analytic Spirit: Essays in Honor of Henry Guerlac (Ithaca, Cornell, 1981).

"Temple to Science: Cooperative Research and the Origins of the California Institute of Technology," Historical Studies in the Physical Sciences 8 (1977): 3-31.

"The Conservative Mode: Robert A. Millikan and the 20th-Century Revolution in Physics," Isis 68 No. 244, December, 1977. 

"Atomism in the 17th Century," Dictionary of the History of Ideas (1973).

"The Testimony of Nature: Boyle, Hooke and Experimental Philosophy," Albion, September 1971. 

"Corpuscular Philosophy," Encyclopedia Americana (1970).

"Model and Analogy in Victorian Science," Journal of the History of Ideas, September 1969.