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Science, Technology, and Society (STS) - Archived

Research and Teaching Output of the MIT Community

Science, Technology, and Society (STS) - Archived


Founded in 1976, the Program in Science, Technology, and Society attempts to increase human understanding of the human-built world. Science and technology are no longer specialized enterprises confined to factories and laboratories: they have become intertwined with each other and with human society. The fundamental contribution of STS is to look at the human-built world as an integrated whole. Two basic, interrelated questions are addressed by faculty and students in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society:

  • How did science and technology evolve as human activities?
  • How do they relate to the larger civilization?

The STS perspective has become of critical importance in understanding a host of public issues such as privacy, democracy, environment, medicine, education, and national and global security.

Beginning in 1988, the STS Program, in collaboration with the History Faculty and Anthropology Program, created a doctoral program in the History and Social Study of Science and Technology (HSSST). While many HSSST graduates teach at universities, others bring an STS perspective to law, business, journalism, and museum work. An undergraduate program in STS has existed since 1980. It typically attracts students with broad interests who seek an interdisciplinary approach to education and who want to learn how scientists and engineers influence the world. Students may concentrate, minor, joint major or double major in STS.

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Recent Submissions

  • Jones, David (2005-12)
    This seminar explores recent historiographical approaches within the history of science. Students will read a wide variety of studies covering topics from the seventeenth through the twentieth centuries, from the physical ...
  • Helmreich, Stefan (2006-12)
    This course examines relationships among technology, culture, and politics in a variety of social and historical settings ranging from 19th century factories to 21st century techno dance floors, from colonial Melanesia to ...
  • Jones, David; Helmreich, Stefan (2009-06)
    This course explores recent historical and anthropological approaches to the study of life, in both medicine and biology. After grounding our conversation in accounts of natural history and medicine that predate the rise ...
  • Helmreich, Stefan (2009-06)
    If the twentieth century was the century of physics, the twenty-first promises to be the century of biology. This subject examines the cultural, political, and economic dimensions of biology in the age of genomics, ...
  • Staffilani, Gigliola; Vasy, Andras (2004-12)
    This course analyzes initial and boundary value problems for ordinary differential equations and the wave and heat equation in one space dimension. It also covers the Sturm-Liouville theory and eigenfunction expansions, ...