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Ronald R Kline

  • Ronald R Kline
  • Dept: Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Title: S.G. and H.E. Bovay Professor in History and Ethics of Engineering
  • Address: Room 394 Frank H T Rhodes Hall
  • Phone: 607 255-4307
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After completing a Ph.D. in the history of science from the University of Wisconsin--Madison in 1983, Ronald Kline served as director of the Center for the History of Electrical Engineering at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in New York City from 1984 to 1987. He joined Cornell University in 1987, and is now Bovay Professor in History and Ethics of Engineering at Cornell, and director of the Bovay Program under that name in the Engineering College. He holds a joint appointment between the Science and Technology Studies Department in the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the College of Engineering.

Research Interests

History of Technology; currently history of cybernetics and information theory

Teaching Interests

History of Technology

Selected Publications

  • Kline, Ronald R. 2006. "Cybernetics, management science, and technology policy - The emergence of "information technology" as a keyword, 1948-1985." Technology and Culture 47 (3): 513-535.
  • Kline, Ronald R., T. C. Lassman. 2005. "Competing research traditions in American industry: Uncertain alliances between engineering and science at Westinghouse Electric, 1886-1935." Enterprise & Society 6 (4): 601-645.
  • Kline, Ronald R. 2004. "What Is Information Theory a Theory Of? Boundary Work among Information Theorists and Information Scientists in the United States and Britain during the Cold War." Paper presented at The History and Heritage of Scientific and Technical Information Systems: Proceedings of the 2002 Conference, Medford, NJ
  • Kline, Ronald R. 2015. The Cybernetics Moment, Or Why We Call Our Age the Information Age. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • Kline, Ronald R. 2014. ""Harry E. Bovay, Jr., 1914-2011,"." , 31-33. Washington, DC: National Academy of Engineering, Memorial Tributes.

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Outstanding Educator for Having Influenced Merrill Presidential Scholar (Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo, Cornell University) 2008
  • IEEE Third Millennium Medal (EEE Society on Social Implications of Technology) 2000
  • Doug Whitney Excellence in Teaching (College of Engineering, Cornell University) 1999
  • first place Award of Distinction for editorial excellence (Society for Technical Communication, NY Metro Chapter) 1997
  • Teaching Award (College of Engineering, Cornell University) 1996


  • BS (Electrical Engineering), Kansas State University, 1969
  • MA (History of Science), University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1979
  • Ph D (History of Science), University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1983