A starting point is that technology and science are cultural phenomena that shape and affect conditions for life on earth. Equally fundamental to our work is the idea that historical studies are crucial for understanding present situations as well as future developments. In other words, studies of history contribute to a better understanding of the conditions for technological developments and changes in society. We believe that such insights are valuable for future engineers as well as for other students.
IT-society, knowledge society, service society – what is actually new about what these terms describe? What does the relation between technology, science, environment and economy look like? Is our world becoming an increasingly dangerous place in which to live?
The Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment offers a broad range of courses that address questions like these. In the course
History of Science and Technology we analyse the complex processes that have built the dependence on technology in our society. Our course in
Environmental History focuses on complex problems surrounding questions of risk and threat, and asks whether such expressions are signs that issues concerning environment and climate are becoming increasingly important.
Other courses address more specific technologies, such as the role of
media in relation to technology and culture, or the relations between
energy and geopolitics. We also offer an introductory course on
Swedish cultural history for exchange students. In addition to our basic courses, students at a higher level in their education can choose to do their Master’s thesis in our division. We also offer selections of courses outside KTH, for further education for members of our staff for instance.
There are four professors at the Division, two associate professors, two assistant professors, some senior researchers and about fifteen PhD students (read more about
who works here). They
research the history of technology, science, industry and environment.
Almost all our research is carried out in the form of team projects that have successfully secured funding from highly competitive research funding programmes, including from Vetenskapsrådet, Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, Vinnova, the Wallenberg foundations, Mistra, Formas, etc.
The quality of our research has been confirmed by an evaluation by Högskoleverket, which stated that the Division is one of the best research environments for history of technology in northern Europe. This has also been confirmed in two internal Research Assessment Exercises at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH).
The Division has access to especially interesting research material. The KTH Library hosts KTH’s older collection, an easily accessible library within the library of older technical literature. KTH’s older collection is unique in several regards, not only because it contains rare materials from a range of technological fields, it also covers a long time period, from the early 19th century to the 1960s, with some material going as far back as the 16th and 17th centuries. You can easily trace patterns of change in the literature within a certain area of technology as the books are displayed in the order that they were acquired.
In connection to KTH’s book collection there is also a comprehensive research library for the history of science, technology and environment. In addition to monographs and anthologies all the leading journals in the field are available.
Researchers at the Divison take an active part in popular debates through lectures, articles in daily newspapers, and appearances on radio and television.
Members of our staff receive commissions from several sectors outside the university, including education, museums, heritage, cultural and environmental preservation, official investigations etc. Besides such assignments, our researchers are well represented on boards and investigative committees outside KTH, both in Sweden and beyond.