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David A. Mindell

Frances and David Dibner Professor
of the History of Engineering and Manufacturing
Professor of Engineering Systems
Director, Program in Science, Technology and Society

Until the spring of 2013 Mindell is on sabbatical and a Visiting Scholar at Aurora Flight Sciences Engineering Research Center in Cambridge, MA.

David A. Mindell is Dibner Professor of the History of Engineering and Manufacturing, and Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is founder and director of MIT's "DeepArch" research group in technology, archaeology, and the deep sea. His research interests include the history of automation in the military, the history of electronics and computing, theories of engineering systems, deep ocean robotic archaeology, and the history of space exploration. His book War, Technology, and Experience aboard the USS Monitor was published in April, 2000 by Johns Hopkins University Press and won the Sally Hacker Prize from the Society for the History of Technology for the best book in the field accessible to a broad audience. His second book, Between Human and Machine: Feedback, Control, and Computing before Cybernetics was published in the Spring of 2002, also by Johns Hopkins. Mindell's book, Digital Apollo: Human and Machine in the First Six Lunar Landings (MIT Press, 2008) was awarded the Emme award for astronautical literature by the American Astronautical Society. 

At MIT, Mindell teaches courses that combine engineering and the history of technology. He teaches "Engineering Apollo: The Moon Project as a Complex System," which integrates technical, political, and operational perspectives on the history of space exploration. From 1992-95 he was a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow, in 1995-96 he was a fellow at the Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology at MIT. Before coming to MIT Mindell worked as a research engineer in the Deep Submergence Laboratory of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where he is currently a Visiting Investigator. There he conducted research in parallel distributed control systems for remotely-operated and autonomous underwater vehicles for exploring the deepest parts of the ocean. He developed the control system and pilot interface for Woods Hole's JASON vehicle, as well as its high-frequency acoustic navigation system, called EXACT, which has been licensed for commercial production by Marine Sonic Technology Ltd. (Gloucester, Virginia). He is currently developing acoustic methods for modeling 3-d structures buried in the seafloor. Mindell has consulted on engineering and policy for a number of industrial and research organizations including the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the National Academy of Sciences. Mindell has participated in over twenty-five oceanographic cruises, including expeditions to hydrothermal vents, Guadalcanal, the Lusitania, the Yorktown, and Carthaginian and Phoenician shipwrecks in the Mediterranean, and the Black Sea. He has degrees in Literature and in Electrical Engineering from Yale University, and a doctorate in the history of technology from MIT.



David A. Mindell featured on MIT World videos:
> How Can Communities, Cities and Regions Recover From Disaster? (October 5, 2005)
> Perspectives on Engineering (March 29, 2004)
> Civil War High Tech: Excavating the Hunley and Monitor (April 25, 2003)

Books Published:

Books Published by David A. Mindell

Related News:

David Mindell quoted in Boston Globe article about NASA plans – February 8, 2010

MIT News Office story on forum “Where do we go from here?” – December 16, 2009

“3 Questions: David Mindell on Obama’s NASA proposal” MIT News Office – February 5, 2010

David Mindell wins book prize for Digital Apollo

David Mindell quoted in article about space exploration The St. Augustine Record – July 19, 2009

David Mindell comments on the Apollo missions MIT News Office – July 17, 2009

David Mindell and report on the future of NASA Space Review – January 5, 2009

David Mindell and “The Future of Human Spaceflight” report “Report urges timetable for human mission to Mars” New Scientist – December 16, 2008

Deep-sea robot photographs ancient Greek shipwreck – February 3, 2006

Professor Mindell discusses his new book, "Between Human And Machine: Feedback, Control and Computing Before Cybernetics." – February 2003

David Mindell

Contact info:

David Mindell
77 Massachusetts Ave.
Building E51-185F
Cambridge, MA 02139

Phone: 617.253.0221
Fax: 617.258.8118
Email to: mindell "at"

Mindell CV (PDF)


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