Matthew Hersch

Visiting ACLS Fellow (2017-2018) Columbia University
Assistant Professor of History of Science Harvard University

Matthew Hersch is an historian of technology whose research examines Cold War-era aerospace, computer, and military technologies and their relationship to labor and popular culture.  His first book, Inventing the American Astronaut (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), explores the rise and transformation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's human spaceflight program during the 1960s and 1970s, analyzing spacefarers as a new kind of engineer-manager in a society increasingly defined by technologies of automation and control.

Matthew received his S.B. in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, his J.D. from New York University School of Law, and a William Penn Fellowship from the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned his A.M. and Ph.D. in the History and Sociology of Science.  While at Penn, he held a Guggenheim Fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum, and an HSS-NASA Fellowship in the History of Space Science.  Matthew later served as the National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in Aerospace History of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West, where he co-curated the exhibit Blue Sky Metropolis: The Aerospace Century in Southern California (with Peter Westwick).  Before coming to Harvard, Matthew held dual appointments as a Lecturer in Science, Technology and Society in Penn’s School of Arts and Sciences, and as a Lecturer in Bioengineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Science.
Matthew's current research projects include the new edition of A Social History of American Technology (with Ruth Schwartz Cowan) and a monograph on the history of the technical, cultural, and political history of NASA's space shuttle program.  He has written for Technology and Culture, Sociological Review, Endeavour, The Journal of Popular Culture, and other periodicals, and his research has appeared in several anthologies on space technology, a topic upon which he speaks frequently.  He currently holds a Research Associateship at the National Air and Space Museum, where he consults on the history of human spaceflight.