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Joan Cahalin Robinson Prize

Updated 29 November 2023

Link to the online 2024 Robinson Prize Application Form

Joan Cahalin Robinson Prize

Established in 1980 by Dr. Eric Robinson in memory of his wife, the Joan Cahalin Robinson Prize is awarded annually for the best-presented paper by an individual delivering their first paper at the SHOT annual meeting. The prize serves to foster professionalization. Candidates for the award are judged on the quality of the historical research and scholarship of the paper, but the awards committee pays particular attention to the effectiveness of the presentation. The prize consists of a monetary award and a certificate.

Eligibility Requirements/Application Guidelines

Judging Process

For those interested in the rubrics that the committee uses in judgement they can find them here: Robinson Judging Rubric.

Honorable mentions

The Robinson Prize Committee has the option of naming not only an official prize winner, but also one or more honorable mentions. Those earning honorable mentions will be noted in the following year’s awards announcement, alongside the citation for the Robinson Prize winner.

Additional Resources

As first-time presenters, Robinson Prize candidates may benefit from:

Robinson Prize Committee 2024:

Dave Lucsko – Chair

The 2024 committee members will be announced in April.

Robinson Prize Committee 2023:

David Munns, Chair
Amy Bix
Jip van Besouw
Alexander B. Magoun
Susan Schmidt Horning
Pete Soppelsa
Marco Storni
Daniel Williford
Aro Velmet

Recipients of the Joan Cahalin Robinson Prize

2023 Roan Parrish (Virginia Tech) “Constructing an Electronic Medical Record”
2022 Salwa Hoque (New York University) “Digital Databases: Colonial Legacies Reinscribed in Technologies”
2021 Hayley Brazier (University of Oregon) “Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Public Perception and the Visibility of Seafloor Technologies”
2020 Due to Covid, no Robinson Prize was awarded in 2020. 
2019 Jan Henning (University of Toronto, Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology),”Opening the Red Box: The Fire Alarm Telegraph and Technologies of Emergency Response”
2018 Hyeok Hweon Kang (Harvard University),”Divine Machine: Korea’s Reception of the Gun”
2017 Thomas Kelsey (King’s College London), “The Peculiar Expense of the British Atom: The Internal Critics of the British Nuclear Power Programme, 1957-83”
2016 Juyoung Lee (Science and Technology Policy Institute, South Korea), “The Practice of Planning in South Korea’s First Comprehensive National Physical Development Plan, 1963-1972”
2015 Sarah McLennan (College of William and Mary), “Computing and the Color Line: Race, Gender, and Opportunity in Early Computing at NASA”
2014 Saara Matala (Aalto University), “The Technopolitics of Cold War Shipbuilding: Nuclear Ice Breakers in Finnish-Soviet Eastern Trade, 1984-1990”
2013 Meghan Crnic (University of Pennsylvania), “Children in the Sun? UV Lamps as Technology of Nature, 1900-1930”
2012 Rachel Rothschild (Yale University), “Détente from the Air: Monitoring Pollution and European Integration in the Cold War”
2011 Whitney E. Laemmli (University of Pennsylvania), “A Case in Pointe: Making Streamlined Bodies and Interchangeable Ballerinas at the New York City Ballet,”
Aditi Raghavan (Northwestern University), “‘The
Theodolite Coolie’ and Other British Mapping Devices”
Madhumita Saha (Iowa State University), “The State of India, Postcolonial Agricultural Policy and Pre-Green Revolution Wheat Technology”
Matthew Hersch, “High Fashion: The Women’s Undergarment Industry and the Foundations of American Spaceflight”
Kara Swanson, “Human Milk as Technology and Technologies of Human Milk: Milk Banks in the 20th-Century United States”
Anna Storm (KTH), “Interpretation Processes in Re-used Industrial Areas”
Peter A. Shulman (MIT), “Alaska: Infinite Coal Mine of the Imperial Imagination.”
Jamie Pietruska (MIT), “Every man his own weather clerk: Weather Information Systems, Local Communications Technologies, and a National Weather Service for Agriculture, 1870-1891.”
Matthew Harpster (Texas A&M University), “New rules for old boats: Proportional rules in early-medieval ship design.”
Hyungsub Choi (Johns Hopkins University), “Rationalizing the ‘Guerilla State’: North Korean Factory Management Reform in the 1960s”
Lara Freidenfelds (Harvard University), “Technology and the Production of Gendered and Classed Subjects: Tampons in the Twentieth Century United States”
Devorah Slavin, “‘Housekeeperly Instincts’: 19th Century Women Inventors and the Myth of the Ingenious Woman”
Greg Downey, “Human Labor and Human Geography in the Study of Information Internetworks”
Nina Wormbs, “A New Technology to Save Old Values: The Nordic Direct Broadcasting Satellite”
Thomas Kaiserfeld, “Mining, Manure and the Military: The Science of Saltpeter and Gunpowder”
Killian Anheuser, “Fire-Guilding–Technology of an Ancient Craft”
Barbara L. Allen, “Oil and Water: An Environmental and Cultural History of the Petrochemical Industry in Louisiana”
Greg Clancey, “The Balloon Frame Revisited: Mechanization, Mass Production, and Prefabrication in American Building-Carpentry”
Regina Blaszczyk, “Reign of Robots: The Homer Laughlin China Company and Flexible Mass Production, 1916-1948”
Molly Berger, “Leaving the Light On: The Modern Hotel in America”
Brett Steele, “A Pioneering Engineer: Benjamin Robins and Eighteenth Century Ballistics”
Meg Sondey, “An Initial Investigation of Welded Homes in the United States”
Arwen Mohun, “Women Workers and the Mechanization of Steam Laundries”
Raman Srinivasan, “Technology Sits Cross-Legged: The History of the Jaipur Foot”
Diane Q. Webb, “Two Paths to Building National Science and Technology Capabilities: South Korea and Brazil, 1960-1985”
James H. Capshew, “Engineering a Technology of Behavior: B.F. Skinner’s Kamikaze Pigeons in World War II”
not presented
Susan Smulyan, “The Rise and Fall of the Happiness Boys: Sponsorship, Technology, and Early Radio Programming”
Larry Owens, “Vannevar Bush and the Differential Analyzer: The Text and Academic Context of an Early Computer”
Mona Spangler Phillips, “Geometry in Gothic Design”
Christopher Hamlin, “Recycling as a Goal of Sewage Treatment in 19th Century Britain”
J. Lauritz Larson, “Inventing Technological Systems: A Railway Example”