IEEE University of Lahore

IEEE

Allison Marsh

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Allison Marsh combines her interests in engineering, history, and museum objects to write the Past Forward column, which tells the story of technology through historical artifacts. Marsh likes to think of history as “a Trojan horse to learning about tech,” and she has long been curious about how the general public comes to understand complex engineering ideas, especially outside the classroom—through museums, documentaries, TV shows, and so on.

Marsh loves to travel, as evidenced by her Ph.D. dissertation, which explored the history of industrial tourism. Some of that research made its way into her 2018 book, The Factory: A Social History of Work and Technology. Marsh has worked at several Smithsonian museums and is a consultant for the popular YouTube series “Crash Course: History of Science.”

In her day job, Marsh is a professor at the University of South Carolina and codirector of the university’s Ann Johnson Institute for Science, Technology & Society. Her most memorable experience as a teacher was taking her graduate students to Guantanamo Bay Naval Station to conduct oral histories of base residents. The trip resulted in a consulting gig on an Oliver Stone drama, but she suspects her “facts” might get in the way of the story line.

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