Computer History Museum Prize

The Computer History Museum Prize is awarded to the author of an outstanding book in the history of computing broadly conceived, published during the prior three years. The prize of $1,000 is awarded by SIGCIS, the Special Interest Group for Computers, Information and Society. SIGCIS is part of the Society for the History of Technology. 

In 2012 the prize was endowed in perpetuity through a generous bequest from the estate of Paul Baran, a legendary computer innovator and entrepreneur best known for his work to develop and promote the packet switching approach on which modern networks are built. Baran was a longtime supporter of work on the history of information technology and named the prize to celebrate the contributions of the Computer History Museum to that field. 

 

2014 WINNER

Janet Abbate, Recoding Gender: Women’s Changing Participation in Computing (MIT Press, 2012)

Gender is an important but under-examined dimension of computing. Janet Abbate’s book, Recoding Gender, unveils the gendered conceptions that shaped past and current assumptions of what specific work practices, personalities, and talents are essential to the field. Early studies of gender in computing focused on particularly prominent women (such as Grace Murray Hopper), or women’s contributions to famous projects (such as ENIAC). Recoding Gender instead uses women’s day-to-day experiences to reveal the obstacles encountered and the strategies developed by women who carved out professional careers as corporate programmers, software entrepreneurs, or academic computer scientists. Based on extensive oral histories, all made available online by the author, Abbate's book provides new material for the historical study of women in computing, offering at the same time new ground for current debates on women's under-represented position within computing. We expect it to enjoy a wide readership and to inspire further research.

 

2014 Prize Committee Members

  • Rebecca Slayton: Assistant Professor, Cornell University, Department of Science & Technology Studies
  • David Nofre (chair): Research Affiliate, Centre d'Estudis d'Història de la Ciència at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
  • Joseph A. November: Associate Professor, University of South Carolina, Department of History

Previous Winners

  • 2009: Christophe Lécuyer, Making Silicon Valley: Innovation and the Growth of High Tech, 1930-1970 (MIT Press, 2006)
  • 2010: Atsushi Akera, Calculating a Natural World: Scientists, Engineers, and Computers During the Rise of U.S. Cold War Research (MIT Press, 2007)
  • 2011: Paul N. EdwardsA Vast Machine: Computer Models, Climate Data, and the Politics of Global Warming (MIT Press, 2010)
  • 2012: Eden Medina, Cybernetic Revolutionaries:Technology and Politics in Allende's Chile (MIT Press, 2011)
  • 2013: Joseph A. November, Biomedical Computing: Digitizing Life in the United States (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012)

2014 Call for Submissions (Deadline passed)

Books published in 2011-2013 are eligible for the 2014 award. Books in translation are eligible for three years following the date of their publication in English. Publishers, authors, and other interested members of the computer history community are invited to nominate books. Send one copy of the nominated title to each of the committee members listed below. To be considered, book submissions must be postmarked by 15 May 2014 For more information, please contact the prize committee chair. Current information about the prize, including the most recent call and a list of previous winners, may always be found at http://www.sigcis.org/chmprize.