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Joan Cahalin Robinson Prize

10 March 2021, Page under construction: This page will be updated. The revised 2021 requirements will be available at the end of March 2021.
Due to the cancellation of the SHOT 2020 Annual Meeting the Robinson Prize was  not awarded last year. Candidates who wanted to be considered for the Robinson Prize 2020 will still be eligible for the 2021 Robinson Prize, even when they presented in one of the  sessions at the SHOT Virtual Forum in October 2020. More information on the Robinson Prize process in 2021 will be posted here as soon as the Call for Proposal for SHOT New Orleans 2021 will be published (late February 2021).

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 Process

Failure to complete all of the above requirements will result in disqualification. 

Judging Process: for those interested.

For those interested in the rubrics that the committee uses in judgement they can find them here: Robinson Judging Rubric 2021

Honorable mentions

Effective since 2014, the Robinson Prize Committee will have the option of naming not only an official prize winner, but also one of more honorable mentions. Those earning honorable mentions will be noted in the following year’s awards booklet alongside the citation for the Robinson Prize winner.

As first-time presenters, Robinson Prize candidates may benefit especially from Paul Edwards’s “How To Give A Talk: Better Academic Speaking in a Nutshell” (PDF) or these observations from Jonathan Shewchuk.

Robinson Prize Committee 2021

Angelina Callahan, Chair
Sean H. Seyer

Recipients of the Joan Cahalin Robinson Prize

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,”
2010
Aditi Raghavan (Northwestern University), “‘The
Theodolite Coolie’ and Other British Mapping Devices”
2009
Madhumita Saha (Iowa State University), “The State of India, Postcolonial Agricultural Policy and Pre-Green Revolution Wheat Technology”
2008
Matthew Hersch, “High Fashion: The Women’s Undergarment Industry and the Foundations of American Spaceflight”
2007
Kara Swanson, “Human Milk as Technology and Technologies of Human Milk: Milk Banks in the 20th-Century United States”
2006
Anna Storm (KTH), “Interpretation Processes in Re-used Industrial Areas”
2005
Peter A. Shulman (MIT), “Alaska: Infinite Coal Mine of the Imperial Imagination.”
2004
Jamie Pietruska (MIT), “Every man his own weather clerk: Weather Information Systems, Local Communications Technologies, and a National Weather Service for Agriculture, 1870-1891.”
2003
Matthew Harpster (Texas A&M University), “New rules for old boats: Proportional rules in early-medieval ship design.”
2002
Hyungsub Choi (Johns Hopkins University), “Rationalizing the ‘Guerilla State’: North Korean Factory Management Reform in the 1960s”
2001
Lara Freidenfelds (Harvard University), “Technology and the Production of Gendered and Classed Subjects: Tampons in the Twentieth Century United States”
2000
Devorah Slavin, “‘Housekeeperly Instincts’: 19th Century Women Inventors and the Myth of the Ingenious Woman”
1999
Greg Downey, “Human Labor and Human Geography in the Study of Information Internetworks”
1998
Nina Wormbs, “A New Technology to Save Old Values: The Nordic Direct Broadcasting Satellite”
1997
Thomas Kaiserfeld, “Mining, Manure and the Military: The Science of Saltpeter and Gunpowder”
1996
Killian Anheuser, “Fire-Guilding–Technology of an Ancient Craft”
1995
Barbara L. Allen, “Oil and Water: An Environmental and Cultural History of the Petrochemical Industry in Louisiana”
1994
Greg Clancey, “The Balloon Frame Revisited: Mechanization, Mass Production, and Prefabrication in American Building-Carpentry”
1993
Regina Blaszczyk, “Reign of Robots: The Homer Laughlin China Company and Flexible Mass Production, 1916-1948”
1992
Molly Berger, “Leaving the Light On: The Modern Hotel in America”
1991
Brett Steele, “A Pioneering Engineer: Benjamin Robins and Eighteenth Century Ballistics”
1990
Meg Sondey, “An Initial Investigation of Welded Homes in the United States”
1989
Arwen Mohun, “Women Workers and the Mechanization of Steam Laundries”
1988
Raman Srinivasan, “Technology Sits Cross-Legged: The History of the Jaipur Foot”
1987
Diane Q. Webb, “Two Paths to Building National Science and Technology Capabilities: South Korea and Brazil, 1960-1985”
1986
James H. Capshew, “Engineering a Technology of Behavior: B.F. Skinner’s Kamikaze Pigeons in World War II”
1985
not presented
1984
Susan Smulyan, “The Rise and Fall of the Happiness Boys: Sponsorship, Technology, and Early Radio Programming”
1983
Larry Owens, “Vannevar Bush and the Differential Analyzer: The Text and Academic Context of an Early Computer”
1982
Mona Spangler Phillips, “Geometry in Gothic Design”
1981
Christopher Hamlin, “Recycling as a Goal of Sewage Treatment in 19th Century Britain”
1980
J. Lauritz Larson, “Inventing Technological Systems: A Railway Example”