profile picture of Ken Alder

Ken Alder

Visiting Scholar (Sep 2018-Dez 2018)

PhD, Milton H. Wilson Professor in the Humanities, Professor of History, Northwestern University

Ken Alder obtained his PhD in the history of science from Harvard University in 1991. Since then, he has taught at Northwestern University, where he is currently Professor of History and the Milton H. Wilson Professor in the Humanities. He is also the founder and longtime director of the Science in Human Culture Program, an interdisciplinary science studies program. Alder is currently working on two projects: a comparative history of the forensic sciences from Renaissance handwriting analysis to DNA-typing and a project he will be completing at the MPIWG on the global history of technology told from the perspective of the material objects themselves. Alder is the author of the novel The White Bus (St. Martins Press, 1987)) and three works of history: Engineering the Revolution: Arms and Enlightenment in France, 1763–1815 (Princeton, 1997; Chicago 2010); The Measure of All Things: The Seven-Year Odyssey and Hidden Error that Transformed the World (Free Press, 2002), translated into twelve languages; and The Lie Detectors: The History of an Obsession (Free Press, 2017), translated into Japanese. He has received fellowship support from the NSF, Guggenheim, and the NEH; held visiting appointments at NYU and the École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris; and is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.


No current projects were found for this scholar.

A History of Artificial Beings


Past Events


Pathfinders: Diverse Careers to and through the History of Science