Amy Bix

Technology & Engineering, Medicine, & Science; U.S. Women's History




My research connects the history of technology, science, and medicine with studies of women and gender, the history of education, and twentieth-century social, cultural, and intellectual history. My most recent book, ‘Girls Coming to Tech!’: A History of American Engineering Education for Women (MIT Press, 2013) analyzes how women gained entrance to traditionally male technical fields., including case-studies of Georgia Tech, Caltech, and MIT. This research was honored with three major prizes: the 2015 Margaret Rossiter Prize from the History of Science Society; the 2015 IEEE-USA Award for Distinguished Literary Contributions; and the 2014 Betty Vetter Award for Research from the Women in Engineering ProActive Network.

My book in progress, Recruiting Engineer Jane and Astrophysicist Amy, argues that one of the most distinctive changes in modern science and technology is not any specific discovery or technique, but a powerful cultural shift, the commitment to diversify STEM. I detail when, how, and why science and engineering, long defined as careers for young white men, were transformed by a high-profile movement to improve girls' STEM education that today commands unprecedented support from scientists and engineers, celebrities, activists, corporations, and the White House.

My other articles, essays, book chapters, and books cover wide-ranging topics in the history of technology, medicine, and science, including the history of eugenics; the body in Islamic culture; Islamic inventions; post-WWII physics and engineering; steampunk culture; gender and alternative medicine; breast cancer and AIDS research funding; consumerism and home repair; technological unemployment fears; and the work of female aviators, physicians, and home economists. I have held fellowships from multiple institutions, including the National Science Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Academy of Education, and the Smithsonian.