In Human-Built World, Thomas P. Hughes restores to technology the richness and depth it deserves by writing its intellectual history. Chronicling the ideas about technology expressed by influential Western thinkers who not only understood its multifaceted character but who also explored its creative potential, Hughes draws on an enormous range of literature, art, and architecture to explore what technology has brought to society and culture. From the "Creator" model of development of the sixteenth century to the "big science" of the 1940s and 1950s to the architecture of Frank Gehry and Hughes's concept of "ecotechnology," Human-Built World nimbly charts the myriad ways that technology has been woven into the social and cultural fabric of different eras and the promises and problems it has offered.
Thomas P. Hughes is the Mellon Professor Emeritus in the Department of the History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania and Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship and a member of the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Hughes has honorary doctorates from Northwestern University and the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology. A member of the Swedish Royal Academy of Engineering Sciences and the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, he is the editor of seven books and author of four, including American Genesis: A Century of Invention and Technological Enthusiasm, 1870-1970, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.