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Matthew Wisnioski

Matthew Wisnioski, Associate Professor

Matthew Wisnioski, Associate Professor
Matthew Wisnioski, Associate Professor

Department of Science, Technology, and Society
331 Lane Hall
Blacksburg, VA 24061
540-231-2887 |

Dr. Matthew Wisnioski studies the interplay between expertise and imagination in science, technology, and innovation. Currently, he is working on four projects: (1) a history of how innovation became a “way of life” in the United States; (2) the building of fora for critical participation in innovation communities; (3) research on the emergence and practices of Science, Engineering, Art, and Design (SEAD); and (4) collaboration in reimagining engineering education at Virginia Tech by reimagining curricula and culture in tandem. This work builds on his earlier research on the history of engineering, dissent, and the meaning of technology in the Cold War era. Samples of his work can be found at

  • History of Innovation, Science, and Technology
  • Engineering Studies
  • History of Art and Technology
  • Human-Centered Design
  • U.S. Cultural-Intellectual History
  • PhD in History, Princeton University
  • MA in History, Princeton University
  • BS in Materials Science, Johns Hopkins University
  • Senior Fellow, Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology
  • Human-Centered Design IGEP
  • Affiliated Faculty, History and Engineering Education
  • Associate Editor, Engineering Studies
  • Innovation Pathways Minor
  • Diggs Teaching Scholar, Virginia Tech, 2020
  • Faculty Outstanding Mentor Award, Virginia Tech Graduate School, 2018
  • Visiting Professor, École normale supérieure Paris-Saclay, 2016
  • Fellow, Smithsonian Institution’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, 2014-2015
  • XCaliber Award for Exceptional, High-caliber Contributions to Technology-enriched Teaching and Learning, Office of the Provost, Virginia Tech, 2014


Engineers for Change: Competing Visions of Technology in 1960s America (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2012)

Journal Articles

Kari Zacharias and Matthew Wisnioski, “Land-Grant Hybrids: From Art and Technology to SEAD,” Leonardo. Forthcoming.

Matthew Wisnioski, “The Birth of Innovation.” IEEE Spectrum 52, no. 2 (2015): 40-45, 60-61.

Matthew Wisnioski, “What’s the Use?: History and Engineering Education Research,” Journal of Engineering Education 104, no. 3 (2015): 244-251.

“‘Suppose the World Were Already Lost’: Worst Case Design and the Engineering Imagination at Harvey Mudd College.” Engineering Studies 6, no. 2 (August 2014): 65-86. 

Book Chapters

Matthew Wisnioski, “How the Industrial Scientist Got His Groove: Entrepreneurial Journalism and the Fashioning of Technoscientific Innovators,” in Groovy Science: Knowledge, Innovation, and American Counterculture, David Kaiser and W. Patrick McCray, eds. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016), 337-365.

Matthew Wisnioski, “Centerbeam: Art of the Environment,” in A Second Modernism: MIT, Architecture and the 'Techno-Social' Moment, Arindam Dutta, ed. (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2013), 189-225. 

Otto Piene and Matthew Wisnioski, “Art/Science/Technology,” in A Second Modernism: MIT, Architecture and the 'Techno-Social' Moment, Arindam Dutta, ed. (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2013), 770-798.

Matthew Wisnioski, “How Engineers Contextualize Themselves,” in Engineers in Context, Steen Hyldgård Christensen, Bernard Delahousse, and Martin Meganck, eds. (Aarhus, Denmark: Academica, 2009), 403-415.

  • Luke Lester (PI), Benjamin Knapp, Tom Martin, Lisa McNair, and Matthew Wisnioski, “Radically Enhancing Pathways in the Professional Development of Engineers,” National Science Foundation. 2016-2021. $2,000,000.
  • Matthew Wisnioski, "Scholar’s Award: Developing Innovators and Expertise for Fostering Innovation,” National Science Foundation. 2014-2017. $187,425.
  • Troy Abel, Matthew Wisnioski, Michael Evans, R. Benjamin Knapp, et al. “Human-Centered Design.” Virginia Tech Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Program (HCD-IGEP). $400,000. 2013-2017.

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