A History of Technoscience: Erasing the Boundaries between Science and Technology, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

A History of Technoscience

Erasing the Boundaries between Science and Technology, 1st Edition

By David F. Channell


286 pages

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Are science and technology independent of one another? Is technology dependent upon science, and if so, how is it dependent? Is science dependent upon technology, and if so how is it dependent? Or, are science and technology becoming so interdependent that the line dividing them has become totally erased? This book charts the history of technoscience from the late nineteenth century to the end of the twentieth century and shows how the military–industrial–academic complex and big science combined to create new examples of technoscience in such areas as the nuclear arms race, the space race, the digital age, and the new worlds of nanotechnology and biotechnology.


What is the connection between science and technology? Do technological advances spring from new discoveries in science (the view traditionally held by many), or could it be argued that the opposite occurs—that scientific discoveries depend on advances in technology? Perhaps the answer lies somewhere in between: science and technology are inexorably intertwined, belonging to a single discipline we might refer to as “technoscience. The relationship between science and technology is masterfully outlined in this work. Channell (Univ. of Texas, Dallas) surveys the literature for various interpretations of the connection between science and technology, while tracing these connections from the so-called Second Industrial Revolution in the 19th century through the relationship between science and technology during the two world wars, and culminating with a study of technoscience in the latter half of the 20th century as manifested in the fields of electronics, material sciences, and biotechnology. In sum, the book represents an important contribution to the fields of science and technology studies, while proposing new frameworks (and questions) for future historians - T. Timmons, University of Arkansas--Fort Smith, CHOICE Magazine

Table of Contents


1. Relationships between Science and Technology


Technology as Dependent upon Science

Science and Technology as Independent

Science as Dependent upon Technology

Science and Technology as Interdependent

Erasing the Boundaries between Science and Technology


Part I: The Roots of Technoscience

2. From Science-Based Industry to Industry-Based Science

Chemical-Based Industries

Organic Chemical Industries – Synthetic Dyes, Pharmaceuticals and Plastics

Heavy Chemical Industries – Alkalis, Acids and Explosives

Electrical Industrial Research Laboratories – Electric Lighting

Electrical Industrial Research Laboratories – Telephone and Radio


3. Setting the Stage for the Military-Industrial-Academic Complex: World War I

The Military Build-Up to World War I

World War I

Chemical Warfare – Explosives

Chemical Warfare – Gas


Naval Warfare

Aerial Warfare


4. Setting the Stage for Big Science: The Interwar Period

Chemical Research and Development

Aviation Research and Development

Rocket Research and Development

Atomic and Nuclear Research



5. The Emergence of the Military-Industrial-Academic Complex and Big Science:

World War II

Uranium Research

The Military-Industrial-Academic Complex

Radar and Sonar

Chemical and Medical Research

Military Computers

The Atomic Bomb -- Big Science


Part II: The Era of Technoscience

6. The Nuclear Arms Race

The H-Bomb

Nuclear Reactors

High Energy Physics


7. The Space Program

The Missile Race

The Space Race

The Moon Race


Planetary Science



8. Electronics

General Purpose Computers

The Transistor

The Integrated Circuit

Computer Science


9. Material Science






10. Biotechnology


The Double Helix

The Genetic Code

Genetic Engineering

The Human Genome Project



11. The New World of Technoscience

Works Cited

About the Author

David F. Channell is Professor of Historical Studies and the History of Ideas at the University of Texas at Dallas.

About the Series

History and Philosophy of Technoscience

Even though technoscientific research is as old as alchemy and pharmacy, agricultural research and synthetic chemistry, philosophers of science had little to say about it until recently. This book series is the first to explicitly accept the challenge to study not just technical aspects of theory development and hypothesis testing but the specific ways in which knowledge is produced in a technological setting. When one seeks to achieve basic capabilities of manipulation, visualization, or predictive control, how are problems defined and research fields established, what kinds of explanations are sought, how are findings validated, what are the contributions of different kinds of expertise, how do epistemic and social values enter into the research process? And most importantly for civic observers of contemporary research: how is robustness and reliability achieved even in the absence of complete scientific understanding?

Editorial Board: Hanne Andersen (University of Copenhagen), Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent (University of Paris, Sorbonne), Martin Carrier (University of Bielefeld), Graeme Gooday (University of Leeds), Don Howard (University of Notre Dame), Ann Johnson (Cornell University), Cyrus Mody (Maastricht University), Maureen O'Malley (University of Sydney), Roger Strand (University of Bergen), Nancy Tuana (Pennsylvania State University).

Direct inquiries to Alfred Nordmann [e-mail link: [email protected]] or Robert Langham [e-mail link: [email protected]].

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / Military / Weapons
HISTORY / Military / World War I
HISTORY / Military / World War II
HISTORY / Modern / 20th Century
SCIENCE / Philosophy & Social Aspects