|2013 Norberg Travel Grant Recipients|
The Charles Babbage Institute awarded four Arthur L. Norberg Travel Grants for 2013. The recipients are Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing Associate Professor Nathan Ensmenger, Illinois Institute of Technology Humanities Department Assistant Professor Marie Hicks, CUNY Hunter College Film and Media Department Assistant Professor Carolyn Kane, and University of South Carolina History Department Associate Professor Joseph November.
Ensmenger will be visiting CBI to help research an article on the history of computer ethics, focusing on early abusers of computers. He plans to draw on the extensive computer crime files in the Donn B. Parker Papers. He hopes to publish this research in one of the leading computer science journals to give it the highest visibility to academic computer scientists and computer professionals.
Recognizing most of the (relatively limited) existing scholarship on women in computing has been on a few exceptional figures (such as Grace Murray Hopper), Hicks has designed a project to study “everyday women.” Her goal is to trace the history of women’s “own efforts to represent themselves and form active coalitions.” She will be studying CBI’s records of the Association for Women in Computing, and hopes to show that a continuum of gendered organizations has “shaped the history of computing and, as in many other professions, it has impacted the tenor, meaning, and outcomes of the work.” Both Ensmenger and Hicks will also be using their research trip to gather primary sources on their topics for upcoming courses they are teaching.
Kane will be visiting CBI to research aspects of her forthcoming book Chromatic Algorithms: Synthetic Color, Computer Art, Aesthetics After Code (under contract with University of Chicago Press). Specifically she will draw on some of CBI’s unparalleled computer graphics history materials (the Carl Machover Papers and SIGGRAPH Conference Publications) to “research the compression codes and algorithms developed from the late 1970s through the 1990s, engineered to reduced and make color graphics more efficient and ‘user-friendly’.”
November’s recent monograph Biomedical Computing: Digitizing Life in the United States (Johns Hopkins 2012) broke new ground in tracing origins and analyzing key pioneers (such as Robert Ledley and Lee Lusted) in applying computers to medicine in the 1950s and 1960s. His follow on project that he will be visiting CBI to advance, is focused on “how computer use among life scientists and physicians went from what was essentially a fringe (though also elite) activity during the 1960s to something thousands of laboratories and clinics were engaged in by the late 1970s.” He plans to draw on CBI’s National Bureau of Standards Computer Literature Collection, Control Data Corporation Records, Auerbach Associate Market and Products Reports, and other collections for this research and to write an article or book chapter on the topic.
The Arthur L. Norberg Travel Grant Program is a fund created by donors in honor of the Charles Babbage Institute’s founding director. To donate to this important fund to help scholars travel to use the CBI archives please visit our homepage or click here.
Jeffrey R. Yost