Matthew Wisnioski

Matthew Wisnioski

Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow (2005-2007)


Associate Professor, Science and Technology in Society, Virginia Tech


history of innovation and innovators; art and technology; critical participation; engineering; interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity


Dr. Matthew Wisnioski studies the interplay between expertise and imagination in science, technology, and innovation. Currently, he is working on four projects: (1) a history of how innovation became a “way of life” in the United States; (2) the building of fora for critical participation in innovation communities; (3) research on the emergence and practices of Science, Engineering, Art, and Design (SEAD); and (4) collaboration in reimagining engineering education at Virginia Tech by reimagining curricula and culture in tandem. This work builds on his earlier research on the history of engineering, dissent, and the meaning of technology in the Cold War era. Samples of his work can be found at

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  • Engineers for Change: Competing Visions of Technology in 1960s America(Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2012


  • Kari Zacharias and Matthew Wisnioski, “Land-Grant Hybrids: From Art and Technology to SEAD,” Leonardo. Forthcoming.
  • Matthew Wisnioski, “The Birth of Innovation.” IEEE Spectrum 52, no. 2 (2015): 40-45, 60-61.
  • Matthew Wisnioski, “What’s the Use?: History and Engineering Education Research,” Journal of Engineering Education 104, no. 3 (2015): 244-251.
  • “‘Suppose the World Were Already Lost’: Worst Case Design and the Engineering Imagination at Harvey Mudd College.” Engineering Studies 6, no. 2 (August 2014): 65-86.

Book Chapters

  • Matthew Wisnioski, “How the Industrial Scientist Got His Groove: Entrepreneurial Journalism and the Fashioning of Technoscientific Innovators,” in Groovy Science: Knowledge, Innovation, and American Counterculture, David Kaiser and W. Patrick McCray, eds. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016), 337-365.
  • Matthew Wisnioski, “Centerbeam: Art of the Environment,” in A Second Modernism: MIT, Architecture and the ‘Techno-Social’ Moment, Arindam Dutta, ed. (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2013), 189-225.
  • Otto Piene and Matthew Wisnioski, “Art/Science/Technology,” in A Second Modernism: MIT, Architecture and the ‘Techno-Social’ Moment, Arindam Dutta, ed. (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2013), 770-798.
  • Matthew Wisnioski, “How Engineers Contextualize Themselves,” in Engineers in Context, Steen Hyldgård Christensen, Bernard Delahousse, and Martin Meganck, eds. (Aarhus, Denmark: Academica, 2009), 403-415

Ph.D. Princeton University

  • Dissertation: Engineers and the Search for Meaning in Technology, 1957-1973

M.A. Princeton University

  • Thesis: “History of Modern Technology, United States Cultural and Intellectual History, 1880 – Present, New Narratives in the History of Science (a pedagogical revision of ‘Plato to NATO’)”

B.S. The Johns Hopkins University