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Nina Cyrén Wormbs

Profile picture of Nina Cyrén Wormbs



Program Director


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About me

I am  Professor in history of technology at KTH Royal Institute of Technology. An engineer by training I have not refrained from taking issue with technology and started off with a licentiate thesis in broadcasting history, focussing specifically on techno-political decisions on distribution technologies and the consequences of their implementation; the approach was that of large technological systems. In my dissertation I moved to using conflicts as a way of unpacking ideas of technology in the intersection of cultural and industrial policy and the Nordic level at a time when the technology in question – i.e. satellites - was still rather open. I used actor-network theory, but applied it methodologically, which was not so common at the time.

In my post-doc I began working on a project dealing with the electromagnetic spectrum as an infrastructure for in particular broadcasting in Europe. In 2005 I received a VR grant and continued to do research in this field, which is lacking humanist studies by and large. My interest was and is the idea of this scientifically and technologically constructed resource and how engineers and others have managed this scarce resource over time. I also co-authored a historical report for the European Space Agency on Swedish space history. 2017-2019 I lead an oral history project on Swedish space activities, with interviews, stories and witness seminars. The material is both published and stored at the Technical Museum.

Beginning in 2008 I moved toward environmental history and climate studies with particular interest in the Arctic and its sea-ice. This line of work resulted in a co-edited volume with Palgrave (2013, paperback 2017) where my chapter contribution dealt with how sea-ice minima are observed, calculated and communicated and what that might mean. This was followed by a VR grant in 2012 in which we looked more closely at remote sensing and views from a distance, in collaboration with Sabine Höhler and Johan Gärdebo. One important publication from that is in History and Technology 2018 together with Sverker Sörlin, Environing Technologies.

Another part of my environmental studies has been an analysis of the genre of environmental assessments in the Arctic where I have argued that there is a discrepancy between the natural science monitoring and assessment and the concluding suggestions for policy, which are not seldom dealing with society. In September 2018, the volume Competing Arctic Futures which I edited, was published with Palgrave.

Since 2018 I am involved in a H2020 project on Science Diplomacy in which I lead the WP on environment. And from 2019 I have a research project together with Maria Wolrath Söderberg on Understanding justification of climate-change non-action funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond.

I have had several tasks and commissions at KTH Royal Institute of Technology. 2010-2016 I served as Head of Division and as Head of Department or vice Head of Department. I have been on the central employment committee, in charge of open conversations, faculty representative at recruitments, vice-chair of the docent committee at my school, etc. From July 1st 2019 I sit on Faculty Council of KTH.

Tasks in the academmic world outside KTH include repeated commissions in different capacities for the Society of the History of Technology (SHOT) and the network of European historians of technology, Tensions of Europe. I have been on the Swedish National committee for history of science and technology and serve as an advisor, expert and evaluator.

Service to society is also a central activity of mine. I was on the board of the Nobel Museum 2011-2019, Ridderstads stiftelse 2011 and onwards, and the Swedish Broadcasting Commission 2006-7-and 2010-2012. I was the public inquirer to the Minister of culture for digital radio in 2013-14. I have been on the advisory committee for the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat and presently serve on the advisory committee for the Agency for Accessible media and the Royal Library. I write for the daily press and take active part in the public discourse through talks and interviews.

A publication list can be found to the right on this page.


Degree Project in Engineering Physics, First cycle (SA114X), teacher | Course web

Degree Project in History of Science, Technology and Environment, First Cycle (AK123X), course responsible | Course web

Degree Project in History of Science, Technology and Environment, Second Cycle (AK222X), course responsible | Course web

Degree Project in History of Technology, Second Cycle (AK221X), teacher | Course web

Degree Project in History, First Cycle (AK121X), course responsible | Course web

Degree Project in Mechanical Engineering, First Level (SA118X), teacher | Course web

Degree Project in Vehicle Engineering, First Level (SA115X), teacher | Course web

Energy Systems in Society (AK2209), examiner | Course web

Energy Systems in Society (AK2207), examiner | Course web

Energy and Geopolitics (AK2201), examiner | Course web

Gender Theory and Gender Equality in Technical Higher Education (LH225V), teacher | Course web

Gender and Technology (AK2202), examiner | Course web

Media, Technology and Culture (AK2203), course responsible | Course web

Political Ecology (AK2210), examiner | Course web

Programme Integrating Course in Computer Science Engineering (DD1391), assistant | Course web

Research Communication (FAK3145), examiner, course responsible, teacher | Course web

Science Goes Fiction: Science Fiction, Film and Technological Futures in a Historical Perspective (AK1205), examiner | Course web

Swedish Society, Culture and Industry in Historical Perspective (AK1213), teacher | Course web

The Climate Crisis as a Societal Problem (AK121V), course responsible | Course web

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Publication list